Skin Inflammation of the Paws in Cats

PetMD Editorial
January 19, 2009
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Pododermatitis in Cats

Pododermatitis is a medical term for skin inflammation, particularly inflammation of the cat's feet or paws. Fortunately, prognosis is positive with treatment.

The disease is more common in dogs than it is in cats. However, if you would like to learn more about how this disease affects dogs please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms

The following symptoms are commonly seen:

  • Lameness
  • Reddened/swollen paws
  • Painful paws and itchy paws
  • Fluid buildup in the paws
  • Small, solid masses
  • Thickened, raised, or flat top areas
  • Loss of the top portion of the skin
  • Discharge from the paws
  • Inflammation of the soft tissue around the nail

Causes

Bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections can cause this skin inflammation to develop. Other potential causes for it can include cancer, trauma, poor grooming, decreased levels of thyroid hormones, increased levels of steroids present, and irritants from the environment.

Diagnosis

In some instances, a skin biopsy is performed to ensure that pododermatitis is brought on by cancer. A thorough skin examination may be done as well.

Treatment

Treatment is generally done on an outpatient basis, and can include foot soaks, hot packing, bandaging, and a hypoallergenic diet. In the event that there is a more serious underlying medical condition, that cat's symptoms will be treated first.

Living and Management

Maintaining healthy habits for the cat will help the medical condition from recurring.

Prevention

Good breeding practices and frequent medical checkups can prevent the recurrence of the condition. However, if the inflammation is occurring because of an allergen, removing it from the cat's environment is recommended.