Dog trains man

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Feet Please

The happy feet syndrome is revisiting casa del Kenzo & Viva lately. This time it is Kenzo's turn.

As you can see on the photo to the left, Kenzo has something embedded in his paw that became infected. Antibiotics have by now cleared the infection and hopefully his body has "processed" the culprit.

The vet doesn't want to operate when they cannot see a clear entry point for whatever caused this. She needs an indication where to look. A paw with it's myriad of nerves and muscles, is a risky place to start a search.

Viva had something similar last year - see photo on the right. In her case the infection returned after a while and the only option left was to open up the paw and see if the nasty bugger causing all this could be found. Luckily the vet found a tiny little thorn - see photo at the bottom - and Viva has been good ever since.

Lets hope for Kenzo he doesn't go down the same road. On top of his injury, he also made havoc with his other paw. A nail seemed to have died off and a new one was growing inside the dead one, which was very painful for him.

We checked both paws when we were at the vets for the infected paw, so it is a mystery how that could have happened. The theory is his nail got punctured by something sharp. Most of the nail had to be surgically removed. There is just a small stump of nail left now.

It turns out to be quite a challenge for us to keep happy feet. We spend a lot of time outdoors: hiking in forests, long nature walks, and doing tracking nose work. When we return I always check them for ticks and feel their paws for thorns and other injuries. Yet something always seem to sneak through the thorn patrol.

What do you do to prevent paw injuries? Is there something we could do differently? Or are we just being unlucky?

We found some doggy foot wear too. Is that overdoing it? Would that be too protective?

For now I think we are going to be a lot more thorough inspecting their paws on return from the walks. Not only feel if there is something out of the ordinary, but also give them a visual inspection, as much as that is possible with all the fur.


  1. ooch , we are lucky with happy feet. Hope someone can help. Have a great Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. This is a topic that troubles us often. Kaspar Hovawart runs through fields and occasionally comes back with some very ripped pads. The last time he managed to rip all four pads, I think he must have gone through a construction site. The pads seemed to heal quickly - we cleaned and sterilised everyday and put socks on his feet when he had to go out.

  3. Ouch! There is nothing wrong with prevention - especially when you are all very active out doors. You would not go without sunblock if you have fair skin right? :)

  4. So many dogs appear not to like wearing booties. I wonder if they would benefit from a paw toughener like Musher's Secret?

    I've never known anyone to use it for their dogs but I was fascinated when I read that of the teams in the Raid Gauloise adventure race used it so they could run barefoot through the jungle. As an avid barefooter myself, I was very intrigued.

    I hope Kenzo heals soon. I'd guess you're just being unlucky and hope your luck turns soon.

  5. I've never had problems with my dogs, but they have short hair on their feet. Maybe the long fur on their feet is helping pick up "stuff". You could try to trim back all the fur on Kenzo's and Viva's paws to see if that helps.

    Get better soon, Kenzo.

  6. Poor Kenzo! I hope whatever it is doesn't cause too many issues and can eventually be removed without more trouble.

    I wish I had some advice that would help but my dog has never had feet issues and she runs through heavy forests and over rough terrain all the time. Other than ice chunks between her toes in the winter, she has been lucky. Perhaps Karen is on to something when she mentioned their longer fur.

    Take it easy!

  7. Oh, no! Poor Kenzo! I hope it heals quickly. We usually only have feet problems in the winter, and booties have helped. After hikes I usually wipe off their feet and coat them with a healing ointment like Vaseline or Aquaphor to clean up any little cuts or scrapes. Good luck!

  8. Thanks for all the tips everybody!
    Kenzo is a lot better and back on all four again. We are sure gonna try out some of your good advice.

  9. Oh no, poor Kenzo!

    Frankly, I think that with an active dog spending a lot of time outdoors, some of these things are inevitable and cannot be prevented. Unless we'd have our dogs wear some kind of astronaut suits.

    I think that as a price for an awesome life this is acceptable. You cannot control the terrain and you cannot control where the foot ends up landing.

    Booties is something I would maybe consider temporarily with severe foot infection or some extreme weather conditions; in general, though, they don't sound like a good idea to me. Dogs have very acute sense of touch in their feet and it helps them navigate the environment. Putting boots on those feet would be almost liking blinding them in a way, it would take away an important part of their "navigation system". That's probably why they seem to hate them.

    So I wouldn't really think boots.

    In the winter when it gets really cold we do use the "invisible boots", such as the musher's secret idea. Such things won't protect from foreign bodies or insect bites, though.

    I think that with a bit of bad luck, such things are inevitable.

    Best of luck that Kenzo's foot heals and remains healed with the AB.

    We are still in the process of finding out what is behind Jasmine's "foot bump" and associated leg swelling. Preliminary, her vet feels we're looking at an interdigital cyst (from the photos we sent). Appointment tomorrow afternoon, hoping things remain stable till then and this can be figured out.


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