What Causes Multiple Sores on Dogs' Feet?
I own a 7 year old female beagle. She's blind (from a disease called SARDS), and she has these sores in between her toes on all four feet. These aren't little sores, their about the size and shape of a Brazil nut. She keeps licking her paws, and the sores keep bleeding.
We have placed her on antibiotics, but they don't seem to be helping. Our vet lanced them once, but the came back. Do you know what could have caused them and if there is anything we can do? Is there any possibility that it could have been caused by the SARDS (sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome)?
Mt. Vernon, WA
I suspect that your dog's immune system is causing the sores on her feet.
Solitary lesions between the toes may be caused by foreign objects (such as foxtails) imbedded in the skin, or by trauma to the skin. Tumors sometimes grow between the toes, but they usually are solitary.
When multiple masses or sores develop on the feet, an over-active immune system most often is to blame.
The next step for your dog is a biopsy of at least a few of the sores. This will confirm the diagnosis and help you find an appropriate treatment. It is likely that your dog will require medications, such as cyclosporine or prednisone, that modify the way the immune system works. However, I do not recommend starting such medications until a definitive diagnosis has been made.
Nobody knows the cause of SARDS, but many experts believe that an over-active immune system may be involved. There is a chance that the sores are related (in a tangential way) to her blindness, but it is not a foregone conclusion.