What's going on with my dogs paw(s)?
February 13, 2015 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Photo 1 Photo 2 For the past two months my American Bulldog has had a sore on her right paw. It's a small bump that will occasionally leak or bleed since it irritates her.

I took her to a vet and they said something may be stuck in it (a seed, price of grass, etc.). After 10 days antibiotics didn't clear it up and they said if it's a cyst it can be removed with surgery. A blood test came back with nothing crazy. A second vets opinion mentioned more of the same, debris or something from outside stuck inside of it.

Today I was able to take these two pictures. She's now going at her left paw. I'm not sure if it's the same thing or just that if she starts on the bad one she goes to the other one.

Do you have any ideas on what I could try? A second round of a different antibiotic didn't help either.
posted by jwfree to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It looks like a standard hot spot to me. They're very common on feet. Is her licking making it worse? You might need to use a cone collar for a while, with or without medication.
posted by beagle at 10:54 AM on February 13, 2015

Aww poor puppy. My dog had something that looked very similar going on several months back. In our case it was a cyst (interdigital furunculousis if you want the $5 word) with a bit of a yeast infection around it since my dog is a foot licker. Apparently the toe cysts are more common with certain fur types.

In our case, my vet shaved his paw, lanced the cyst, and gave us a course of antibiotics, a topical antibiotic (dog neosporin, basically), and a sanitizing rinse for me to dunk his paw in 2x a day. Truman lived in a cone of shame for about a week and a half and I was super diligent with his paw care and drugs, and thankfully it cleared up.

Now I check his paws very closely at least once a week to make sure there isn't a recurrence.

If your vet has given you care instructions and drugs for his foot but it's still a problem, I don't know what to tell you unfortunately. Have you been putting your pup in a cone? If he's not in the cone and still has access to lick his paws, then whatever treatment you're doing isn't going to do much good. The cone is essential, unfortunately.
posted by phunniemee at 10:59 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

My dog was getting raw sores on her feet and licking at them, so I did a couple things that might help you as you follow the vet route.

I made her a "sock harness" using cheap kids' socks and elastic. She wore this any time we went outside and any time she was licking her feet. They sell "stay-put" socks and a harness that's already put together, but you can DIY. If you have slippery floors, I recommend getting anti-slip dog socks or using silicone or something. This video shows someone putting a sock harness on their dog, for reference.

We slathered her feet with a neosporin/benadryl-cream mixture because in her case it was an allergic reaction that was worse on the skin that had already gotten torn up.

We also changed her to a grain-free diet.

The sores cleared up and we haven't had much trouble with her feet since! I really hope they can figure out and help you get this straightened out.
posted by bookdragoness at 11:16 AM on February 13, 2015

The skin in between her other toes looks a bit red/inflamed. In my dog's case, that was a result of a yeast overgrowth (which causes licking, which leads to more yeast, which leads to licking, etc). I can't tell from the picture, but it looks like the base of the nail may be darkened/reddish as well (another sign of yeast infection in my dog).

We usually use whichever vet is available at our vet office when we need an appointment, and it wasn't until the 4th one (after more than a year), that someone was able to give us an answer (i.e., yeast). The first three said it might be food allergies, and we went through the whole exclusion diet rigmarole, with no improvement. It's likely that environmental allergies (pollen) caused general itchiness, and the licking led to the yeast overgrowth. In our case, the vet gave us these medicated wipes that we applied twice daily for several weeks. We also made sure the pup was wearing a comfy cone whenever he couldn't be monitored for licking. It cleared up nicely.

So, I'd ask the vet about yeast and I'd definitely get a cone to keep her from licking it. If the sidewalks are salted/slushy where you are, a paw protector may be a good idea until it heals.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:51 AM on February 13, 2015

Our greyhound sometimes gets hot spots between her toes (their feet are super bony and sometimes her "knuckles" rub together). Our standard regimen (assuming it's not an abscess with foreign material in her foot) is:
  • Mix epsom salt and warm water in a little plastic bucket.
  • Put her foot in it to soak while she's distracted eating her morning food (she takes about 2 minutes).
  • Dry it off enough that she's not leaving puddles on the floor.
  • Let her lick it a little.
  • Repeat with evening food.
  • A tiny bit of Bag Balm rubbed on before bed.
  • As needed: cone of shame and/or baby sock over the foot at night.

posted by mon-ma-tron at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2015

My dog is prone to getting grass awns, which it sounds like your vet floated as a possibility, and occasionally they get quite inflamed/infected/weepy like these. On more than one occasion, we've had to take her in to have the thing cut open and explored for debris, since there's a concern around here about foxtails (which can truly become quite serious if they get inhaled, etc.).

I hate to say it, but I think pup might be a good candidate for a quick outpatient surgery to investigate if awns are a problem where you live. It's at least worth asking about specifically if you end up back at the vet.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 2:46 PM on February 13, 2015

Looks like a Lick Granuloma to me. (Google for better pictures that look more like your pup's owie)
posted by cecic at 3:38 PM on February 13, 2015

Do you have any ideas on what I could try?

Not one single person here, veterinary professional or not, is going to be able to look at the photos of your dog's feet and tell you what is going on. Many dermatological conditions appear the same because the skin is very limited in how it responds to insult. So demodex looks similar to a fungal infection which looks similar to a bacterial infection which looks similar to demodex, for example.

But in the case of this suspected grass awn, did neither vet suggest that, should a foreign body be present in your dog's paw, that it should be removed? Most grass awns have backward pointing barbs that prevent them from being retrograded out of a wound, so they migrate in tissue and continue to cause problems. A 10 day course of antibiotics is not going to be effective if there is indeed a piece of foreign plant material lodged in your dog's paws.

Has either vet performed a deep skin scraping of both feet? Has any cytology been done on the lesions or the fluid that is draining from the lesions? Was the suspected awn lesion cultured to determine the predominant bacterial species and its sensitivity to antibiotics?

A haphazard approach is one of the reasons that veterinary dermatological problems are so common and persistent. Is this the same dog you mentioned with allergies in 2010? Were those problems ever resolved?

Go see a veterinarian who specializes in dermatology. This is not a problem for the internet.
posted by Seppaku at 5:26 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

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