News & Advice

Working dog paw health

Nov 29, 2020 | Dry stock, Working Dog

By Lucy Scott, Veterinarian, Anexa Vets Raglan

When your dogs are working hard in hot and dry or wet and muddy conditions, it pays to take a moment daily to check and care for their paws. Paw conditions can cause significant pain and lameness, vet bills, and time off work.

Common issues include:

  • Grass seeds burrowing into the skin between the toes. These can travel so prompt removal is indicated. Sometimes abscesses form around them and these are raised, red lumps with a fluid-filled feeling.
  • Cracks in the pads – these are caused by dry conditions and abrasion. Deep ones can get infected.
  • Pododermatitis is due to inflammation between the pads. This can be caused by fungi or bacteria and is worsened by the dog licking the area. Gritty and sandy conditions can predispose to this condition.
  • Nail bed infections – usually caused by an injury to the nail, then bacteria getting into the nail bed. We have seen severe joint infections started in the nail bed, leading to toe amputation so best to get these to us quickly.
  • Injuries such as dislocated toes and fractures. These are common in our working dogs due to the nature of their work and need immediate attention.

Daily checks and care of cracked pads or injuries can help prevent worsening of conditions. Give us a call if you have any concerns with your dog’s paws- there are tools such as pad sprays that can help prevent cracks and keep your mates paws in tip-top condition.

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