The Pet Lover’s Guide to Paw Diseases
There may not exactly be such a thing as a puppy podiatrist, but that doesn’t mean that pets don’t have trouble with their feet. Paw problems are a real issue, and Parkside Animal Hospital is equipped to help you and your furry friends with paw diseases of all kinds.
Protecting Those Pads
As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to pay attention and be proactive when it comes to their health. You put a lot of effort into your pet’s care, and adding a few checklist items that specifically have the feet at heart isn’t much to ask.
You can help keep your pet’s paws healthy by:
- Trimming the nails regularly to help ergonomics and prevent broken nails
- Keeping the paws groomed and free of excessively long fur which can trap irritants and decrease traction
- Not allowing your pet to walk on dangerous surfaces such as hot pavement, sharp ice and snow, or rough rocks
- Providing well-fitted protective boots when walking on less than ideal surfaces is necessary
- Taking note of what looks normal for your pet’s paws
- Bringing your pet to see us for routine wellness visits so that we can keep tabs on things as well
Paws are really pretty low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need a little attention.
Paw Diseases of Note
Unfortunately, sometimes paws do have problems. When paw diseases in pets strike, our team is here to help. Please make an appointment right away if your pet is showing signs of pain, limping, has new swelling or redness, or has an abnormal appearance of the nails or paw pads.
There are quite a few paw diseases that we may diagnose. Some of the more common ones include:
Allergy issues – Allergic skin disease is very common in pets. Food or environmental allergies are frequent diagnoses, and these lead to inflammation and irritation of the skin. The paws are a frequently affected area, resulting in redness, swelling, and hair loss due to the disease itself as well as trauma from licking and/or chewing.
Autoimmune problems – A disease process in which the body attacks its own cells or tissues is an autoimmune disease. Several autoimmune diseases can affect the skin and subsequently the paws. Lupoid onychodystrophy affects the toenails while diseases like pemphigus foliaceus can cause blistering of the paw pads themselves.
Infections – Bacteria, yeast, skin mites, and dermatophytes (ringworm) can all affect the paws either as a primary problem or secondary to another disease process.
Traumatic problems – Cuts, scrapes, and other irritations commonly affect the paws and pads. Degenerative joint disease and osteoarthritis can also affect the paws.
Systemic diseases – Medical conditions affecting other parts of the body may have effects on the paws as well. Liver disease can cause paw pad issues manifested as hepatocutaneous disease. Endocrine problems such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome can also lead to paw pad changes.
Paw diseases in pets can certainly affect their overall functioning and well-being. That is why it is important to us to keep a close eye on those precious paws and keep them healthy and comfortable. You wouldn’t want to walk around in uncomfortable or painful shoes, and it’s our goal to be sure our patients don’t either.