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Pododermatitis (Interdigital Dermatitis)

By: Dr. Rosanna Marsalla

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Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is important, so that your dog can receive medical attention soon after the problem is identified. Your veterinarian may recommend the following:

  • A thorough history

  • In most cases, skin scrapings, cultures and biopsies to establish a diagnosis

  • Biopsies, usually taken under sedation. Stitches are placed to stop the bleeding and ensure proper healing.

  • In some cases, as when a nail dystrophy is suspected, it is necessary to remove the last part of the digit (P3) to make a diagnosis, as the characteristic changes are only visible in the nail bed.

    Treatment

    In most cases, a secondary bacterial infection is present, and systemic antibiotics are required. Depending on the depth and severity of the infection, the length of antibiotic therapy may vary from 4 weeks with superficial infection to 8 to 12 weeks with deep infection.

    If a fungal infection is diagnosed, antifungal therapy is necessary for a prolonged period of time due to slow growth of nails. The average animal requires at least six months of medications. Failures are possible and, in severe cases, removal of the affected nails may be the only option.

    Home Care

    You may need to shampoo your pet's feet with medicated shampoos or soak the feet with special solutions. Hard surfaces should be avoided if easy bleeding or pain are present.

    If a nail dystrophy is diagnosed, you may try medical therapy, like high doses of essential fatty acids and glucocorticoids. If medical therapy fails to make your pet comfortable, surgery to remove nails may be considered.

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