Question from Keagan Palardy:
Does any one know what this is on my poor doggies paw?:(
Answer from Shanika Winters:
Thank you for sending the photo of your dog’s paw along with your question as to what it might be. I will discuss some of the possibilities for what a lesion (growth/diseased area) similar to the one on your dog’s paw could be, how we would try and make a diagnosis and then treatment options.
What is this on my dog’s paw?
The first thing we need to do is find out more details about your dog, your vet will ask you a lot of questions to from what we call a history, this includes information about your dog’s:
- Age Breed Sex Eating Drinking Toiletting General Health
- How long the lesion has been present . Has the lesion grown/how quickly
- Does it cause any irritation to your dog/is he chewing at it
- Has your dog had anything like this before?
Your vet will then come up with a list of possible diagnoses for the lesion which in the case of your dog’s paw would probably include:
- Mast cell tumour
- Other growths/tumours
How do we find out what it is?
In combination with the history your vet will put together and examining your dog’s paw, your vet may suggest taking samples from or removing the entire lesion itself and then analysing the tissues as a laboratory. The results of the analysis will hopefully tell your vet exactly what the lesion is and how it can be treated along with the likelihood of recurrence.
Is probably top of the list of things that the photo of your dog’s paw look like, they are a benign ( non cancerous) type of growth that are usually found in young dogs, they rarely cause any pain and can sometimes go away after a few months by themselves. If however your dog is bothered by the growth, or diagnosis cannot be made without full removal of the growth then surgery may be the best option.
Mast Cell Tumours
Are another type of growth which can look similar to the photo of your dog’s paw, but can also have many other appearances. These are generally a more aggressive type of cancerous growth, there are several different types of them and the chances of successfully treating them varies which each type. Mast cell tumours are more likely in older dogs and can change in size/shape due to release of a chemical called histamine.
There is a very long list of other types of skin lesions such as ulcers, burns and other tumours that can cause lesions on the paws and close examination with/without sampling may be the only way to determine what the growth on our dog’s paw is.
What should I do next?
Make an appointment to see your vet, give them as much information as you can about your dog’s paw. Your vet will then suggest a plan of action, in some cases this will be to recheck after a set length of time or it may be to book your dog in for sampling/surgical removal of the lesion followed by laboratory analysis.
Once the results are back in then both you and your vet will have a much clearer idea of what the lesion is, how to treat it ( if further treatment is needed) and the chances of the lesion coming back.
I hope that my answer has helped you to understand some of the possibilities for what might be happening with your dog’s paw. With the help of your vet I hope that your dog is soon on the road to recovery.
Shanika Winters MRCVS ( online vet)
If you have any worries about your pet, please make an appointment with your vet, or try our Symptom Guide.