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Ask Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP Your Own...
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP
Dr. Laura Devlin, DVM, DABVP, Small Animal Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 1801
Experience:  DABVP, Specialist in Canine and Feline Medicine, Veterinarian since 2000
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The pads on my dogs feet have become yellow and really hard

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The pads on my dogs feet have become yellow and really hard and odd shaped. One is now oozing blood. She has is 13 and has had numerous problems with her feet. She has been in a boot or bandage on one foot for over a year now and these problems are developing on the other three. This one I'm speaking of now is flat, weird shaped and really hard. How will I know when it's time to let her go, if she's living in pain with her feet and I just keep bandaging them.
I'm sorry to hear about your dog.

Can you answer a few more question for me?

Have you had her examined? Was she biopsied?

What breed is she?

Have you had bloodwork performed recently, including evaluating her thyroid?

Is she on regular monthly heartworm prevention (prevents intestinal parasite)

What is she eating?

Any other treatments tried?

Hopefully we can help your girl - I can tell how worried you are, and it sounds very painful.

Sincerely,
Dr. Devlin
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

I've had her at the vet in the last month looking at the one pad with the growth. THe option was surgery to try and remove any infection but he wasn't even sure that would work so we've continued with the regiment I was on. He did blood work then and I don't know about the thyroid but she didn't have bone cancer. She's eating well. Been on heartwork meds since we've had her and she stays inside the house unless she has to potty and then right back in. She's a mixed breed and has had problems with her feet, cysts, etc for the last three or four years. Things seem to be deteriorating and I know i'm going to end up losing her to these feet but she eats and is happy and I just don't know what to do.

 

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Did you get my reply?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I've replied and still nothing.
I'm sorry to hear about your dog's condition.

The hardening and yellow color make me concerned about pemphigus. I recommend a biopsy. (not all dogs with pemphigus have facial lesions - some present only with lesions on the pads)

Rarely, liver disease can lead to hardening of pads, typically with crusts and open sores.

Causes for her hyperkeratosis (if it looks irregular or has develop points/fronds) and hardening of the foot pads include zinc-responsive disease, hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, and primary keratinization defects. Some dogs can develop exuberant hyperkeratosis with no apparent underlying cause. In addition, they can develop a deep callus pyoderma, infection in the layers of the callus that perpetuate the problem and cause lameness and pain.

With chronic cases, it is very important to have full bloodwork performed, including a full thyroid profile to rule out hypothyroidism. In addition, a biopsy is often necessary if bloodwork is normal. At the time of the biopsy, the hard tissue can be cut back (debrided) as much as possible. Kerasolv is useful, but hardening will return when it is discontinued. For pyoderma, skin scrapes and cytology can be performed to look for infection. If there are crusts or lesions near the nose, ears, mouth, or rectal areas, autoimmune disease is much higher on the list.

I would recommend a zinc supplement and excellent nutrition, and you may want to consider vitamin e.

In addition, if pyoderma, daily soaks in chlorhexidine can help. You can also try a herbal salve made by Pet Power Incorporated (1-800-875-0096). Useful for elbow and foot callus lesions, especially if they are inflamed, for routine maintenance. Often systemic antibiotics +/- Bactoderm should be used to control active moist pyoderma lesions associated with these, but for maintenance the Propolis-Herbal Salve gets raves from owners. Ingredients are: Propolis, White Oak Bark, Lobelia Leaf, Marshmallow Root, Mullein Leaf, Gravel Root, Wormwood, Scullcap, Black Walnut Leaf, Beeswax, all in a base of Tea Tree Oil and Olive Oil.


Since she is painful, if recent bloodwork shows liver and kidneys healthy, I would recommend speaking with your vet about some pain medication for her.
Please let me know if you have any more questions. Best luck.
Sincerely,
Dr. Devlin
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