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Dr. Bruce
Dr. Bruce, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19295
Experience:  15 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
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My dog has a weird growth on his foot between his toes. It

Customer Question

My dog has a weird growth on his foot between his toes. It looks like a sunburst. Almost appears to have leaves. He keeps licking it but it does not seem to bother him.. What is it?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.



Welcome to Just Answer. Can you take a picture of the lesion/ growth and post it here for me to see? That will help a great deal.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, Hold on.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.
It didnt' go through. On your question page, there is a tool bar above the reply box at the bottom of the page. If the tool bar is not showing, click "show tool bar". Once you have the tool bar showing, here are the instructions for posting your files:

For graphics, click the tree icon and then browse to choose a GIF, PNG, or JPG. Upload and then insert it.

File size is limited to 1 MB. For files bigger than 1MB, go to a free file hosting website such as (,, and click on the Upload button. Then navigate to your file and select it, and click the Start Upload button. When the uploading has completed you will be given a link to download the file. Copy the link and paste it in your question, and the Experts will be able to click on the link to download the file.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.
Very good picture. How long has it been there? Is it growing?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I can't tell. I just noticed it today. It seems to have been there for at least a few days because he has been licking his foot during that time, which drew my attention to it. Again, I don't know if it is growing.. It does not smell good up close but does not let off an order unless I am very close to it. It does have some pink to it and seems like it would bleed if I messed with it...
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.

Ok. From what I can see in the picture here are some considerations for it:

1) Interdigital cyst

2) Interdigital abscess - possible foreign material in it

3) Abnormal growth of tissue - given age, not most suspicous of cancer, but can't rule out


At this point, I'd get him to your vet for them to clean up the area around the lession. They can remove the hair and better evaluate it. I would love to aspirate it with a needle and make a slide of it to tell what type of tissue it is or if it was inflammatory in nature (infectious). Depending on what is seen, this may be something that gets better with antibiotics and an E-collar to help him from licking it. IT may be something that needs drained or expressed if it is a cyst or abscess.


Most likely it won't get better till oral antibiotics are used. It may be something that surgery is brought up with if it is of more concern.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Do you think the fact that I take him running around in wet, overgrown, and almost swamp-like areas could have contributed to it. From reading online it does not seem to meet the criteria for a interdigital cyst and it does not have foreign material in it. I guess till I get to the dr. I'll have to chalk it up to an odd growth.. Could it be dangerous if I dont take him in today or within the next few days?
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.
I would get it seen in the next couple days to make sure it doesn't get infected/ or worse. It doesn't look like the typical cyst, but sometimes something similar can happen when hair or nail material grows in an abnormal spot. The running in the swamp like areas could be a part of it. Sometimes material can be in it that surprises us. Can you let me know what your vet diagnosis it as when it is seen? I'm very curious on these ones where I can't be exact without looking at them.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Sure, I am going to try to get him in today. Tomorrow for sure.. Here is a better Picture.. Ugly thing that's for sure... How will I be able to reply tomorrow? graphic
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.

Ok. Much better picture for me! I'm getting a better idea what it is. It actually looks very much like the growth of a pad tissue under the skin. Basically, in certain situations, normal tissues (keratinized paw pad material in this case) can grow in abnormal places. I'm going to be very, very suspicious that this is normal keratinized paw pad tissue growing under the skin and eventually making its way to the surface. I've seen one similar to this on the outter portion of a paw. The long filamentous finger like things are the keratinzed tissues that should be worn down before they get that long. I would still keep that appointment with your vet and they'll most likely recommend excising it. That should be curative. I'd send the lesion off to make sure.


You can let me know on this thread. I'll keep it open. Sorry I had to step away from the computer for a moment.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Awe, yes that would explain why the legion feels hard on the top and soft near the bottom. I think you've solved it. The vet here in Sacramento was not too helpful. He just said he does not know what it is but is should be taken off.. Do you think it is really worth the 95.00 for me to send it off? I figure he is so young that cancer is not likely. Do you know if they will they be testing for anything else?

Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.
Sorry to be getting back to you this late. It is always one of those situations where I'm still a very firm believer in if it comes off, it gets submitted. Just to make sure it isn't some very rare cancerous growth that we need to do something more with. Yes, his age makes it unlikely, but not absolutely impossible. They basically will be looking at the tissue to tell you what its origin is, is it infectious or cancerous in nature. They'll also be able to tell you exactly what it is. Which is important if other's start to appear.
Dr. Bruce and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for all your help. I am sorry to report that I did not get it tested. It was just not economically sound for me. The surgery alone cost 500.00. :( This dog has cost me over 2500.00...
Expert:  Dr. Bruce replied 7 years ago.
I hope your little one is doing well after the surgery. If I had to be a betting person, I would say that the lesion / mass looks benign based on my experience. Keep our fingers crossed. Glad to help!