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Dr. Drew
Dr. Drew, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16846
Experience:  Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
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The two center toe pads on BOTH of our puppys front feet are

Resolved Question:

The two center toe pads on BOTH of our puppy’s front feet are fused/connected. (she is a female Akita)

There is no involvement of the bones of the toe – they are separate. Its just that the the pad on these two toes is connected. I’m not referring to “webbed feet” which I’m familiar with – the toe pads are actually connected. This is obviously a congenital issues and I’ve never seen anything like it before (and I’ve “Googled” ever imaginable search term for this and keep coming up empty).

Has anyone seen this before? I’m wondering if we should just leave it “as is” or surgically correct the issue. She seems to manage fine with the issue however she does get a little sensitive when touching her feet / paws. Additionally, i’ve noticed that she does NOT like walking up steps which obviously puts pressure on her paw pads (and the center toes don’t really separate which I imagine is uncomfortable since there is essentially no "give").

We just had her spayed and the vet mentioned that she
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 7 years ago.
Hi, I think your question was cut off prematurely - this was the last bit I got:
"We just had her spayed and the vet mentioned that she...................."


Customer: replied 7 years ago.

We just had her spayed and the vet mentioned that she hasn’t really seen this issue before however it should (theoretically) be easily corrected by simply surgically cutting/tearing the skin between the fused pads which would free them up and give her better range of motion, balance?, etc.

Has anyone seen or experienced this? I’d be curious to hear from others since i’d like to make a determination now while she is still a puppy if we should just leave it as is OR have the issue corrected before she reaches full maturity (she’s 6 months old now).


Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 7 years ago.
OK, thanks for the reply. While it sounds plausible that the fused toes could complicate walking, I have seen a few cases where we had to intentionally fuse the toes together after removing a tumor, or correcting a traumatic injury, and the dog walked fine on that foot without any issues, after the healing. I'm more suspicious in this case, of some other congenital malformation that might be making it difficult for her to walk as well as you think she should.

However, it's simple enough, as your vet explained, to try to separate the fused toes to see if there's any improvement in comfort level. If not, though, she may need to see a specialist for further consultation.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok thanks. If the toe pads are seprated, i'm assuming healing might be slow simply given the location of the surgery (even though I guess the only think that would really need to heal would be the open skin between the toes, not the actual bottom of the toes). Are surgical adhesions on toes common? It wouldn't seem likely however I wasn't sure since raw/open skin against raw open skin would seem like it has the potential to bind back together.

Not sure if there is something that can be done to mitigate this risk, or maybe its not really even a realistic concern?
Expert:  Dr. Drew replied 7 years ago.
The proper way to perform the procedure would be to try to close the wound rather than to leave it open. This may require an "advancement flap" of skin that is slid down from further up the foot, or even a possible skin graft from another area on the body, so that the potential for adhesion and infection is reduced.

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