Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard
Snow Leopard cub (7 mos old) - Cape May County Zoo

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Paw Pad Injuries

Throughout the year, I'll see dogs with varying degrees of injuries to their digital or metacarpal/metatarsal pads:

The top 5 pads on each foot are the most commonly injured since the other ones don't touch the ground.

These injuries usually occur when the dog has been running on an abrasive surface, such as hot pavement or even ice.  They can be minor to severe. They can also occur with chemical or other burns and from being hit by a car and drug on pavement.

I recall one dog that had severely abraded pads on ALL four limbs and it was a Great Dane. The dog had been doing laps running around the owner's pool on concrete. This dog had torn off the top layer on each pad and was in a lot of pain. He didn't know which leg to put most of his weight on because none of them felt good. 

Obviously a SEVERE case!

Generally, even if there is flap of that top "black" layer hanging off, these do not hold sutures well. There is not adequate blood flow to promote healing so it's better just to debride any tissue we can and put the dog on pain meds, antibiotics and maybe get them bandaged or a bootie for the foot (depending on how we think the dog will tolerate one of these). It WILL heal but will take weeks to do so by granulating in from the inside out.  

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