Interdigital cysts in dogs form between the legs of a dog in the net that is there and are extremely painful, making it difficult for dogs to move or walk. In fact, they are called interdigital boils and are nodular lesions and not cysts at all. However, the cysts between a dog’s fingers can be a type of boil or they can be a totally different type of problem.
The causes-Interdigital cysts in dogs
One of the most common causes for dogs to develop interdigital boils is because they have developed some type of bacterial infection that is deeply embedded in the tissue between the toes. It could be that a foreign object has lodged in the tissue and has become infected. Dogs will lick and chew the affected area of their foot, which makes the condition worse.
The reason they are more likely to develop the boils between their toes is that the hair that grows in the net can easily be pushed into the hair follicles when the dogs run. When the hair is trapped in the skin, it can cause inflammation that can cause a bacterial infection that becomes inflamed. Occasionally, a foreign object may be embedded in the network, but this is quite rare. A primary cause of the condition is usually demodicosis (scabies) and, sometimes, canine atopic dermatitis can cause dogs to suffer the problem over and over again. As mentioned earlier, there is evidence that the condition could be related to a trauma that leads to hair being retained under the skin between a dog’s toes.
Higher Risk Breeds-Interdigital cysts in dogs
Some races appear to be at a higher risk of developing bacterial interdigital furunculosis than others and this is mainly due to the fact that they have short, bristly hair that grows in the net between the toes or because the band is quite prominent. They may well develop the condition as a result of both. The races that are known to suffer most from the disease include the following:
Looking for free pet tips for your dog?Interdigital cysts in dogs
When a dog begins to develop an interdigital boil, it usually shows signs of being lame on the affected foot. In the early stages, the problem can be located in one area and, if left untreated, can spread rapidly to other areas with the formation of multiple nodules. These nodules become inflamed, inflamed and painful before bursting, exuding a bloody liquid. They usually form on the top of a dog’s paw, but they can also develop on the bottom as well. Because they are so painful, a dog that suffers from interdigital boils will typically do the following:
Lame on an affected foot
Lick and chew the legs excessively.
Bite the leg injury.
If the problem is caused by a foreign object that is embedded in a dog’s paw, eliminating it would generally solve the problem and, unless another foreign object is embedded again, the problem is generally not recurring. However, if it is a problem of bacteria, new lesions may form and develop even when other lesions have been treated and cured. Research has found that the presence of free keratin in the tissue could be the trigger for dogs to develop interdigital boils and why they remain recurrent.
Diagnosing the problem
A veterinarian would examine a dog’s foot to determine if they are suffering from the condition. They would establish if the cause is a traumatic injury or if a foreign body has lodged between the toes of a dog. They would also check if the dog has developed follicular comedone cysts and neoplasms that, fortunately, are rarely seen in dogs.
The type of tests a veterinarian would do to establish a correct diagnosis may include the following:
Skin scrapings: this would check for Demodex mites.
Aspirated with a fine needle
If it is discovered that a foreign body is responsible, a veterinarian would surgically remove this, which usually occurs if the culprit is a grass seed or something similar. If the veterinarian suspects that the problem is palmar and plantar follicular cysts, they would recommend performing a skin biopsy. However, it is worth noting that the lesions found in a dog’s paw are often complicated due to secondary infections that include Malassezia spp.
In most cases, the condition can be treated with topical antibiotic ointments and antibiotics. However, any treatment will depend on the depth of the infection, which could cause a dog to need long-term treatment. It has been found that hot packs and footbaths are effective for the treatment of interdigital boils. If the lesions recur, a veterinarian should find out if there is an underlying cause that could include the following:
Concurrent Malassezia Infections
With that said, antibiotic ointments, although useful, cannot penetrate enough, so veterinarians prescribe a cycle of oral antibiotics. Owners should ensure that a dog completes the recommended course for the antibiotic to be effective because too often a dog can develop an interdigital boil again because the course of antibiotics was not completed or the doses were incorrect.