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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 26861
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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Our 6 year old haired chihuahua had recently developed

Customer Question

Our 6 year old long haired chihuahua had recently developed growths on the same digital pad on both front feet- basically both have quickly grown out past the nails. He is a very pampered house dog, what could this be and what could have caused it?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Some lumps are serious and some aren't. Let's see what the Veterinarian has to say. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Diego
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Diego?
Customer: We adopted him from a shelter 6 months ago and at the time we adopted him he had a skin infection that caused him to have no hair on about 1/3 of his back- our vet put him on a steroid and antibiotic and it completely cleared and his hair began growing back within a week. His hair fully grew back within a month.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Can you upload a photo(s) of these pads to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see that icon) or you can use an external app such as

I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Please see attached, I should clarify- same pad on both front feet and an additional pad on one. Thanks for your help.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

Thank you! These appear to be hyperkeratoses - an idiopathic (unknown cause) condition characterized by the excessive formation of keratin - a structural protein in skin. Thickened, hard, dry keratin accumulates on the pads. Secondary erosions, ulcers and fissures may be present and represent an autoimmune skin disease (the immune system is attacking my patient’s own tissues). This is identified only by biopsy.

The intensity of therapy depends on the severity of the lesions. For mild, asymptomatic cases, affected areas should be hydrated with a warm water soak. A softening agent, then, should be applied every 24 hours until excessive keratin has been removed (~7-10 days). (I don't believe that soaking will be effective for all of his hyperkeratotic lesions. They may need to be surgically excised. Treatment should be continued on an as-needed basis for control. Effective softening agents include the following: petroleum jelly, A&D ointment, ichthammol ointment, salicylic acid/sodium lactate/urea gel, and tretinoin gel. (The last three are available from his vet.) For fissured lesions, combination antibiotic/glucocorticoid ointment (Panalog, e.g.) may be applied to lesions every 8-12 hours until healed. Horny growths should be trimmed away before hydration and softening therapy are begun.The prognosis is good. Although it's incurable, this is a cosmetic disease that usually can be managed symptomatically.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Glad to hear it is likely not cancer- I googled and of course that came up on many of the search results. Thanks for your help, we will get him into his vet this week.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 9 months ago.

No, no evidence of cancer. You're quite welcome. I can't set a follow-up in this venue so please return to our conversation - even after rating - with an update at your convenience. You can bookmark this page for ease of return.

Is his nose hyperkeratotic as well?