Our two-year old cat was running from a dog and ran underneath a car, burning several paws on the hot muffler. It's been a week. Three paws look better but one paw has lost the old skin and looks raw underneath. We can't afford to go to a vet and want to do what we can to help him heal. Should we cleanse his paw with hydrogen peroxide or saline? He licks his paws a lot.
Pet's Sex: Male
Pet's Age: 2
We have put some antibiotic ointment on the paws the first couple of days but because he licks his paws so much, we stopped. We've tried to let him heal on his own as we felt with time he would get better. And he has, except for the one paw.
Hello and welcome to Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and would be happy to answer your questions.
It sounds like you may be describing what is called granulation tissue. This is what happens when things heal from the "inside out". In his case, if the burned tissue is sloughing off, the tissue underneath is filling in and trying to replace it. It can look kind of raw, but it may be normal.
Let me ask you a few questions. Is there any drainage from the tissue? if so, is there an odor? Does it still bleed?
Is the pad or involved tissue swollen? Is he limping? Is the raw tissue underneath a nice pink color?
There is no drainage from the paw, that I can see. It does have a bit of an odor--kind of like cat food, actually (he eats dry food so I don't think he got food in his paw). It was bleeding a bit today but then he licked it and it stopped. I can't tell if the pad is swollen, it doesn't seem like it is. He does limp when he walks and it seems like it's because of that rear paw. The paw we're talking about is mostly red. The other paws are pink or more normal in color.
My biggest concern is infection. The underlying tissue is very at risk for infection as it tries to heal. Even if it is healthy, it can have a slight odor, but it should not drain or smell like an abscess.
You could try to soak the foot in either room temperature saline or epsom salt water once or twice a day. This will help to keep clean the foot. If applying ointment makes him lick more, I would not use that. If it doesn't seem to be getting better in a few days, I would have a vet evaluate it. It would be best to keep him indoors until it is fully healed.
I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
How long does the paw need to be in the saline water? I can't imagine that he'll let me do much more than dip it in. Also, what strength saline or epsom salt water? If I make it myself, how much salt or epsom salt to how much water should it be?
How long does the paw need to be in the saline water? I can't imagine that he'll let me do much more than dip it in. Also, what strength saline or epsom salt water? If I make it myself, how much salt or epsom salt to how much water should it be?Edit
The amount of epsom salt to use is variable depending on how much water. In general, about 1 - 2 cups per bathtub full so you can extrapolate down from there. I would try with a small bowl of lukewarm water and a few tablespoonful of epsom salt. Try to let it soak for 5-10 minutes. Epsom salt is probably a better choice as it draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, reduces swelling, relaxes muscles, is a natural emollient, exfoliator, and much more. If not, salt water would be OK as well, at about the same dilution.
Over 25 years experience treating dogs and cats.