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ERAnimalNurse, Emergency Critical Care Nurse
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 2302
Experience:  16+ years of veterinary experience
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my dog has an injured paw pad that looks like an infection.

Customer Question

my dog has an injured paw pad that looks like an infection. one area of the paw pad looks bristly and white. she keeps licking it and won't get up to walk. when she does get up she walks with a limp. today is the first day I have noticed this...she is sleeping non stop and obviously doesn't feel well. she is a rhodesian ridgeback. 8 years old.

any advise would be most welcome.thank you!
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 7 years ago.
Chat Conversation Started
ERAnimalNurse :

Hello, I am sorry your dog is not feeling well.

JACUSTOMER-5jwc1rxp- :

hello. i think you are typing, so i am standing by...

ERAnimalNurse :

Since it sounds like she feels pretty badly, won't get up to walk, sleeping more and keeps licking the wound I think that a trip to the ER is justified. This wound may need to be sutured closed, and some antibiotics and pain medicines would also be helpful. Since she is feeling so yucky, I really think that she cannot wait until tomorrow to be seen by her regular vet. Nothing you can put on this at home will give her the relief she needs, and often times using topical ointments only encourages licking. If you absolutely cannot manage a trip to the ER tonight, pick her up an e-collar from your local pet store to keep her from licking the wound. Keep her quiet and have her seen first thing in the morning. Pick up food at 10 this evening and pull water tomorrow morning just in case she needs to be anesthetized to have this wound cleaned and sutured. Don't use any cleansers or ointments (peroxide is a common choice but it is actually very harsh and damaging to tender tissue, causing more pain than good). Also avoid giving any medicines to control pain, because most of the over the counter meds available can be harmful if given in too high a dose. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. If this has been helpful, please hit the green accept button. Best of luck with your dog, I hope she feels better soon :)

JACUSTOMER-5jwc1rxp- :

are paw pad infections that dangerous. or do these symptoms (swollen paw pad, limping and white bristly texture) sound familiar with anything you have seen?

JACUSTOMER-5jwc1rxp- :

PS - there is no open wound, in that there is no blood. just a cracked bristly surface

ERAnimalNurse :

Any infection can be dangerous, especially one involving the pad because of the fact that dogs walk all over with no covering on their feet. They walk through grass, dirt, feces, urine and whatever else is around. The pad of the foot can actually provide a protective cover for bacteria, providing a shelter that can allow it to multiply. This area can seal and become abscessed, or the tissue surrounding it can die. Usually when tissue is no longer healthy it will change colors, from red to purple to blue to black. Since there is no open wound and the pad is swollen, it is also possible that there is an autoimmune condition in which the body starts attacking the skin. Sometimes if a dog steps on something sharp, like a large splinter or thorn they can experience an abscess or wound that is not entirely visible, and sometimes a piece of this object is stuck inside the pad, causing the inflammation and pain. White and bristly tissue on the paw pad indicates tissue breakdown and damage, but does not necessarily indicate infection. To have peace of mind and to keep your dog as comfortable as possible, a vet will need to check out this area and determine the best course of action.

Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 7 years ago.
Chat Conversation Ended

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Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 7 years ago.
Let me know if I can help further :)
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
hi, i am still reading your response
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you. do you think she is at great risk if i cannot get to her vet until tomorrow?

Expert:  ERAnimalNurse replied 7 years ago.
She is not critically ill from what I can tell based on the history you provided. She is an older dog though, and recovery from injuries may be harder for her. If she were my dog I would have her seen right away, but you are there and know her best, XXXXX XXXXX are in the best position to make this judgement. You can keep an eye on her and have her seen tomorrow, unless she starts to feel worse. In which case, you can go to the ER. I hope she feels better.