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Kitty with dry paw pads

May 14th, 2010, 10:50 PM
I have a 9 lbs black dsh male cat (Jack) who has EXTREMELY dry and swollen paw pads. This winter was very harsh for him (who is indoors only, though visits the deck on nice days). During those snowy months, his paws (both back ones) became so cracked that they began to bleed. He immediately went to the vet in February who said that this was the worst case she has ever seen. He was given an antibiotic to combat possible infection and Prednisone to see if that would reduce the swelling (which it did not). His back paw was cleaned and bandaged for about 3 days. The vet did not know what else could be done to help him. I have added Science Diet Sensitive Skin dry food to his regiment (as well as Purina One Sensitive Systems dry food..their favorite) and it has seemed to help a slight bit. His paws are still dry and do tend to bleed a bit and heal quickly. However, now the cat litter is becoming embedded in these small cracks and I'm afraid of infection. I do not want to bandage both of his back paws but that seems to be what I am going to have to do. I have also put Bag Balm on his paws from time to time to help soften them (with socks to have time for the skin to absorb it before he licks at them). Does anyone have any ideas for a product or medication to help him fight this? I have searched but really have not found anything to help Jack out.

May 15th, 2010, 07:17 AM
Poor kitty! :(

I've never had the problem to this degree (one of my cats used to have a very mild version of this) but there are a couple of things you can try.

My Punkin' hasn't had this issue since I switched to an all wet food diet :cloud9:; this may be indicative of Jack not having enough liquid in his diet. I'd recommend you move him over to a wet food only diet. Wet foods are (obviously) higher in moisture than dry so that may help the problem somewhat.

Also, just like in people, who have skin reactions to allergens, cats can have the same issues. Cats will often develop allergies to foods they've eaten for a long time. You might want to try getting a wet food that has an unusual protein source - like rabbit, for instance. He won't have been exposed to that and it'll be a good test to see if he improves.

You could also try adding a fatty acid supplement to his diet. This can help with the inflammation symptom at the very least and may also help fix the source of the problem as well. Fish oils, of course, are high in Omega Fatty Acids but since some cats have fish allergies, you could try an alternate source like soybean oil. I can't remember what the best options are but if SugarCatMom logs in, she'll certainly know.

I'd try the wet food first. It's going to be healthier all-around for Jack in any case - my cats are a definite example of that!

Good luck and keep an eye out for other responses. There are some very, very knowledgeable people on this board and they've helped me immensely! :thumbs up

May 16th, 2010, 03:28 PM
Thanks so much for the advice and suggestions. I found a brand of wet food that has rabbit, venison, and lamb. Tried the rabbit yesterday and didn't go over so well (he's kinda picky), but I'll keep trying different flavors and see if there is something he will eat. I will also look for the Omega 3 addition to his food. Found one at the pet store but I want to research a bit more before I get something. Hopefully something will help him get relief.
I have attached 3 pictures of his paws...297 is Jack's back left paw, 303 is his back right paw, and 309 is both of his back paws. His back paws are the worst though the front ones are dry and swollen but not to the extent of cracking and bleeding. Again, any help and advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

May 16th, 2010, 05:38 PM
OMG, that poor poor baby. :( Have you tried Aloe on them? Or Vaseline? Anything to keep them moist? I would be dumping the dry food all together as it simply is not good for cats. What may help is a good quality grain free food. Wellness, Nature's Balance, Innova Evo, etc. that you will find at a good pet food store. If you have a Global Pet Store it's a great place to start.
A great site to read and educate yourself with is: It is filled with so much info it will keep you reading for a long time.
I am going to pm Dr Lee for you. Maybe he has some ideas.

Dr Lee
May 16th, 2010, 05:49 PM
I am sorry to hear about your pet.

This is an extremely unusual pattern. If it was purely contact inflammation, it is odd that non of the digital pads are affected. For a tumor, it should not be bilaterally symmetric. Immune disease comes to mind but this is not typical.

My recommendation would be to have this condition evaluated by a veterinary dermatologist. If that is not possible, then biopsy (histopathology) is recommended. Note that the tissue should be submitted for specific dermal histopathology (as opposed to general histopathology). Most all the major labs have this option.

May 16th, 2010, 06:31 PM
Wow, I have never seen that before. I was thinking allergies or some type of sensitivity, but not to the cold. It is far colder up here and have never had a cat have that issue.

When you have time, check out the link 14+kitties posted. It is full of cat nutrition information.

May 16th, 2010, 09:19 PM
Thanks all! I did not think of going to a veterinary dermatologist because I did not know they existed. I feel so silly now for not thinking of it sooner. There is one in my area...through the big city to the other side but I really am thinking of taking Jack there. I will consult my vet about that. I am also going to try the new foods and see if there is anything that will help him. The website was very helpful and had loads of info. As always thanks so much for the advice and suggestions.

May 17th, 2010, 06:19 AM
I didn't know there were veterinary dermatologists either though, now that I think about it, I guess there would be! :laughing:

Good luck with Jack - this can't be fun for him! :( Let's hope something makes him feel better soon.

Dr Lee
May 18th, 2010, 07:17 PM
I have done a little more research and talked to another veterinarian who has seen a few of these. She believes that this is consistent with plasma cell pododermatitis which is indeed an immune mediated disorder as I was thinking.

I would talk to your veterinarian about this possibility. It is usually treated with steroids and doxycyline. If there is not sufficient response then cyclosporine or pentoxifylline can used.

Hope this helps. :pawprint:

May 19th, 2010, 12:15 AM
Thank you Dr. Lee! I really appreciate you going to the extra mile to have some theories as to what Jack could have. We did treat with one dose of prednisone that did not seem to help, but I will definately talk to the vet about those other medicines. I have to take the kitten back for a recheck so I will talk to them about it then. Thanks so much!

Dr Lee
May 20th, 2010, 01:57 PM
[QUOTE=crh_violin;919676]We did treat with one dose of prednisone that did not seem to help...QUOTE]

two things.

1) please make sure it is prednisolone and not just prednisone. Some cats do not convert prednisone to the active form of prednisolone.

2) for plasma cell pododermatitis, one dose will not be enough. The condition will require oral dosing for a prolonged period of time.

Hope that helps. :pawprint:

May 23rd, 2010, 11:19 PM
Ok...thanks so much! My husband and I are discussing what we would like to do with Jack. And I am going to be looking into getting him an appt with a vet dermatologist that we have near us.

May 25th, 2010, 09:01 AM
Quick and small update...I have to have a referral from my vet to go to the vet dermatologist. I called my vet for this referral and she doesn't want me to go there just yet. So I have an appt with her on June 1st so she can see Jack again and to see if there is anything else we can do. I will definately take my notes on what Dr. Lee said and try to see if we can do any of that. Thanks again!

May 25th, 2010, 09:56 AM
:shrug: Why? They have done what they can do. Why not let you go to the dermatologist? :confused:

May 25th, 2010, 02:25 PM
**sigh** My vet didn't want me to spend a large amt of money at a specialist before seeing if there was anything else she can do. She did see him in December and hasn't seen him since so that makes a bit of sense I suppose. Whatever...if it takes taking Jack back there again that's fine. I will take all of my information with me. A co-worker of mine said that since i asked for a referral they now know that I mean business. Hopefully we will start him on a treatment or then I will definately get a referral. I will keep you all posted! Thanks!

May 25th, 2010, 02:36 PM
Mmmm, so you spend the large amount at your vets instead? :shrug: And then when they can't help poor Jack then you go to the specialist and spend even more money? I hope they don't charge you an arm and a leg. :fingerscr

Dr Lee
May 25th, 2010, 08:36 PM
Just FWIW steroids such as prednisone can alter the ability of dermatologists to utilize some testing methods. It can even alter biopsy sites at times. So just another piece of the puzzle...:pawprint:

June 1st, 2010, 11:44 AM
So we got some bad news about Jack. He tested (twice) positive for Feline AIDS and heartworm. My vet believes that the AIDS is the cause of the dry paw pads. We started him on 1 cc of Interferon today and we will then see how that goes. We are also going to be testing all of my cats at home and since he has a sister at my mom's, we are going to test all of them too. It is going to be a long month of testing. We will just wait and see how the other tests and the medicine goes before we do anything else. My vet was going to refer Jack to the dermatologist before the results of that test, but now we are going to hold off and see what happens. I will keep you all posted. Thanks so much for all of the advice!

June 1st, 2010, 12:46 PM
Oh, what sad news.
I hope your Jack feels better soon!

June 3rd, 2010, 10:46 AM
Thanks so much! He seems to be doing great. He is on his 3rd dose of Interferon and I swear he is so much better! Jack is more active and loving...playing more with the other cats than usual! I even think his paws look a smidge better. I don't know if it is wishful thinking or what, but to me, he's doing wonderful!

June 3rd, 2010, 10:58 AM
Great news :)

June 3rd, 2010, 11:36 AM
Great news. Cats with FIV can and still do live long happy lives.

I have to say that I am so very impressed with your reaction to the news. Most people dump, you still love. Bless your wonderful heart.:grouphug:

June 13th, 2010, 08:53 PM
Thank you all for the positive reinforcement! Jack is really doing great-better disposition and his paws seem to be clearing up just a bit. We are pretty optimistic with his diagnosis, but still have to remember that he does have heartworms and watch for anything that comes of that. Now we take the rest of my brood to the vet tomorrow (Monday) for shots and the FIV test. Wish us luck! :thumbs up

June 13th, 2010, 08:54 PM
Good luck! Keep us updated!

June 13th, 2010, 09:20 PM
Good luck at the vet, crh violin! I hope the rest of your crew checks out okay!

:goodvibes: for Jack's continued improvement, too!

June 13th, 2010, 09:50 PM
Good luck :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes::goodv ibes: :fingerscr:fingerscr:fingerscr:fingerscr

June 14th, 2010, 09:56 AM
GREAT NEWS!!!!! My other 3 boys are feline AIDS FREE!!!!! The vet also said that since Jack's sister Tori was negative as a kitten, that we shouldn't need to test any of the other 4 cats at my mom's house (but we will keep an eye out for any problems). That is such a relief mentally and financially! Jack is doing great with the medicine so we will continue that and hope that his paws continue to improve. We will also hope that the heartworms leave him without any problems and he will be feeling so much better! Thanks for all of the good vibes, thoughts, and prayers sent our way! I have attached a pic of Jack...I was going to grab my suitcase to pack for vacation and found a surprise instead! I guess he's trying to tell me something ;)

June 14th, 2010, 10:17 AM
YAY!!!!!!!!!!! :thumbs up

Sending more :goodvibes::goodvibes::goodvibes: for continued healing.

June 14th, 2010, 04:00 PM
Yay for good news!!!! Glad to hear that the rest of your crew tested negative, and Jack is feeling better! :highfive:

June 29th, 2010, 02:20 PM
Hi, Colleen.

I missed this thread until you posted on mine this morning regarding Punky's diagnosis and I decided to look it up.

I'm so glad to hear that Jack is doing so much better and that the tests on your other furkids were negative.

:goodvibes::goodvibes: that things continue to improve for Jack.