Pododermatitis (Interdigital Dermatitis) in dogs

Overview of Canine Pododermatitis

The term pododermatitis is not a specific diagnosis. It simply means inflammation of the feet, and numerous diseases include involvement of the feet. Pododermatitis commonly occurs on the foot or between the toes in dogs.

As different diseases require different therapies, it is very important to establish a correct diagnosis. The history, age of onset, progression of the disease, presence of other skin problems in other parts of the body, presence of pruritus (itching) and existence of concurrent systemic disease, are all factors that should be considered to differentiate among diseases and establish a correct diagnosis. Other diseases that may include pododermatitis include:

In rare cases, there may be sloughing of the nails, and the feet may become very painful. This could be due to auto-immune disease, drug reactions or a nail dystrophy. A biopsy is crucial to establish diagnosis.

Diagnosis of Pododermatitis (Interdigital Dermatitis) in Dogs

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

Treatment of Pododermatitis (Interdigital Dermatitis)

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.

In-depth Information on Pododermatitis (Interdigital Dermatitis) in Dogs

Pododermatitis is not a specific diagnosis but more the description of a clinical presentation, namely inflammation of the feet. Specific terms are used to describe lesions involving the feet and nails. The most commonly used terms include onychomadesis (sloughing of claws), onychogryphosis (hypertrophy and abnormal curvature of claws), paronychia (inflammation of the nail fold) and onychodystrophy (abnormal claw formation).

Numerous diseases can involve pododermatitis and consequently the footpads and nails.

Diagnosis In-depth of Canine Pododermatitis

Diagnosis in dogs is based on history, clinical signs and histopathology. A thorough physical and dermatological exam is important to evaluate concurrent systemic or skin disease.

Treatment In-depth of Pododermatitis in Dogs

Treatment options include: