Help! My dog suffers with her paws and pads!
(Q) My dog Trixie is two years old and suffers terribly with her paws and pads. Can you suggest anything to help her?
(A) Vet Roberta Baxter says: There are a number of conditions that can cause problems with the paws and nails.
Sometimes, it can be that immune-mediated diseases (those caused by the immune system going wrong and attacking the cells of the body) cause loss of nails and ulceration/infection of the pads and nail beds. Similar symptoms can also be seen in cases of pododermatitis (a deep-seated infection in and around the nail beds), which can be associated with certain parasite infestations. Vitamin deficiencies can also be involved. Dogs can graze their pads if they run a lot over abrasive surfaces such as concrete or sand, or can cut them on sharp stones or glass.
Get Trixie checked out by your vet, as it's hard to tell how bad her paws are from your description. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medicines, suggest a biotin or zinc supplement, or need to take skin samples to identify an underlying problem. If Trixie's paws are otherwise healthy, you can harden them up once they have healed by wiping them with surgical spirit daily (prevent licking afterwards), but you can't do this if the skin is broken as it can sting.