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Dog Paws Red On Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads

by Jennifer Schmitt
(Orange County, California)

front paw

front paw

front paw
back paw
Penis area
sweet boy!

In August of 2012 my dog seemed to develop a great deal of pain. He was vomiting and having trouble walking. His ears were full of wax, so I took him to the vet, thinking an extreme ear infection was causing his symptoms.


The vet diagnosed yeast in the ear and prescribed Otomax for both ears. By the end of the month, the ears were clear (and continue to be clear) but I noticed that he had developed a habit of licking his feet. Upon inspection, I discovered that his feet were no longer soft, but red on the top, and covered with crusty, black calluses on the bottoms. His elbows were also covered with black crusty spots. He had also begun licking his penis area and the skin was red, sore and you guessed it, more black crust.

I did some research and decided that it might be more yeast problems. He had also been less interested in eating, for the last 6-8 months. I chalked it up to his age, at the time, but surmised that maybe his diet was to blame.

I started him on a combination of whole foods and grain-free kibble. I included, broccoli, garlic, parsley, and chicken or beef. I also gave him a tablespoon or so of Kafir each day. He seemed to perk up, considerably, on the new diet. No more vomiting, plenty of appetite.

In addition, I began to bathe his feet in warm water, Epsom salts, and peroxide. I also tried a tea-tree oil spray I discovered at the local Petsmart. He continued to lick his feet until they were raw in places.

I covered his feet in baby socks to eliminate the licking, he simply moved onto his forelegs and sometimes his anal area. While the feet were covered, the thick calluses grew thicker. On the tops of his paws the skin around the nails seems to be drawing back, making the nails look longer and became thick and black. After a month I gave up and took him into the vet.

Her words were, "Oh my" when she saw his feet. They soaked and debrided the paws and elbows, pulling of a great deal of the dead, callused skin. She prescribed a course of Ketoconazole 100mg/day. Simplicef 100mg/day. And a foot bath every other day with Malaseb shampoo applied directly to the feet. That was on 10/13/12.

After 4 weeks I revisited the vet. His feet were considerably more clear, He was walking, wagging his tale, and seemingly a happy pup.

OK fast forward to December. I continue the foot baths and the diet, but in the last 2 weeks the licking has started up again and his feet look worse than ever. The black spots are smaller, but the skin raw and today I noticed bleeding. In addition, the ends of his ears, which have always been soft, have begun to develop little black clumps.

I am afraid that my dog is dying. He sleeps all day and night and when he's awake, the licking. His winter coat hasn't thickened up, so he's also cold all the time if he's not wearing a coat and swathed in blankets (we live in Southern California!).

The vet mentioned autoimmune disease, but I am extremely reluctant to put the dog on endless courses of steroids, which I believe have other undesirable side effects.

Shiloh is a neutered, male beagle. He is approx 12 years old. He was a rescue, so we are only able to estimate his age.

Tags: Paws: Red Skin on Paws; Paws: Paw Pads: Black Crusty Paw Pads; Behavioral: Sleeps a lot; Underside: Sheath/Penis Area: Red, Sore, Black Crust; Elbows: Black Crust

Comments for Dog Paws Red On Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads

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Dec 08, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
For your dog Shiloh, a neutered, male beagle. He is approx 12 years old.
You wrote,
"The vet mentioned autoimmune disease"

From the photos you submitted that is exactly what I suspect this is. When he was initially ill and the ear wax appeared but was SUPPRESSED (given an ear medicine to stop the wax buildup), that was the 'trigger' point.

From a holistic viewpoint, if the body is creating a discharge, there is some underlying imbalance and it should not be suppressed. This usually 'drives' the disease or imbalance to a deeper level.

Instead, this is where he should have been fed the improved diet, ears cleaned with green tea, giving immune support, and treated with homeopathic remedies.

You wrote,
"I am extremely reluctant to put the dog on endless courses of steroids, which I believe have other undesirable side effects."

This is true, but at this point in the game, as Shiloh is 'sicker' and the disease has gone to a deeper level robbing him of his vitality, he may need to have some 'conventional' medicine, along with all of the above (keep feeding him the improved diet!) that I mentioned to strengthen his vital force and then wean him off of the steroids.

You need to work with a holistic veterinarian to follow through and restore Shiloh's health. I have treated many auto-immune cases that have done very well and weaned off of conventional drugs completely.

In the meantime, he will need a complete blood panel, urinalysis, heart worm tes, and fecal. This way we can determine the health status of the rest of his organs. If his liver is good, then when steroids are started he will need to be started on MILK THISTLE, dose is 8mg/lb two times daily, to repair any damage done by the steroids.

One time per week, 1/2cc of Vitamin B-12 injection.

Also, immune support such as Immuplex by Standard Process: one capsule opened and sprinkled into his food TWO times daily.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO

Dec 08, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads PART TWO
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
Here is the rest of my response:

And above all else, DO NOT GIVE SHILOH ANY VACCINATIONS! Not even Rabies. Have a holistic veterinarian write an exemption form for him.

Other immune support supplements to try include:

1. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

2. Missing Link powder for dogs

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Dec 10, 2012
previous treatments
by: Jennifer

Do you have any idea why the antibiotics and antimicrobial prescribed by his vet helped clear up his skin initially?


Dec 11, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
You asked why the antibiotics and anti-fungal medicine seemed to 'clear up his skin' in the beginning?

Due to a suppressed immune system that started the autoimmune condition, he probably had a secondary bacteria and fungus/yeast infection in his skin at that time. So, of course, the antibiotics and anti-fungal medicine cleared up that part.

Since the underlying auto-immune condition was still present, and it was that which started the skin lesions in the first place, the lesions seemed to 'return'.

Therefore, starting supplements to boost his immune system to provide secondary support so he is NOT susceptible to these ubiquitous bacteria, fungus, and yeast, while working to treat the auto-immune condition (conventional, and/or alternative) would be the best plan of action at this time.

Please keep us posted.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Dec 12, 2012
follow up
by: Anonymous

It's going to be a couple of weeks before he can get into the Vet. In the meantime, I've started him on the milk thistle, fish oil, zinc, a probiotic, vit C and Vit D, and I've ordered the Immuplex. I realize that Immuplex will have some or all of these nutrients, so I will reevaluate before I give it to him.

He's licking his feet raw, so the socks have gone back on, with some antibiotic spray. I realize that I'll have to take them off and air out the skin.


Dec 14, 2012
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
You wrote,
"I've started him on the milk thistle, fish oil, zinc, a probiotic, vit C and Vit D, and I've ordered the Immuplex. I realize that Immuplex will have some or all of these nutrients"

No, actually Immuplex is in a class by itself, called 'glandular' supplements used to support the immune system. It does contain a few vitamins and minerals, but most of the ingredients are glandulars. See the Standard Process website here for more on this.

You wrote,
"He's licking his feet raw, so the socks have gone back on"

Since you said it will be a few weeks before you can take Shiloh to the veterinarian, you might start him on the homeopathic remedy Secale cornutum 6c. It is a homeopathic remedy indicated for blackening of the skin and tissues at tips of the extremities, such as toes, and fingers, and in Shiloh's case his sheath. It may provide him with a little relief from licking his feet so much.

Dissolve one pellet into 2 oz dropper bottle with Spring Water, and give Shiloh 1/2 dropperful by mouth two to three times daily. Shake the bottle 20 times before each dose, by hitting the bottle against the palm of your hand (this is called succussing the remedy).

Please continue to keep us posted.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Jan 08, 2013
Finally Saw the Vet
by: Jennifer

Hi Dr. Tillman,
I was unable to see the holistic vet in my area, due to his schedule. I finally took Shiloh to our own vet on Saturday. His pain and symptoms made it necessary.

After blood and urine testing, our doctor feels that Shiloh has something called "Hepatocutaneous syndrome." His tests revealed an elevated L+ liver value, low red blood count, low thyroid, protein and glucose in his urine, but not elevated blood sugar.

She feels the test results, combined with the symptoms, didn't point to autoimmune disease. I have to decide if there should be further testing...or "decide" the other.

I'm torn, because it's not a conclusive diagnosis, however, does it make sense to order a liver biopsy on a dog who cried all day after having his nails trimmed?

I feel like I've let my dog down. I guess I feel sorry for myself, too because I don't want to make this decision.

Jennifer

Jan 12, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
In my opinion, from the information now discovered about Shiloh, I WOULD NOT do a liver biopsy.

You wrote,
"has something called "Hepatocutaneous syndrome." His tests revealed an elevated L+ liver value, low red blood count, low thyroid, protein and glucose in his urine, but not elevated blood sugar."

If he has anemia and an unhealthy liver, Shiloh should not be subjected to a procedure where there is any risk of blood loss. This is the time to continue to provide even more support for his system and search for a holistic veterinarian that is able to treat his symptoms.

Continue the milk thistle at 8mg per lb TWO to THREE times daily.

Start Livaplex from Standard process. Add one capsule to the food TWO times daily.

Continue the Immuplex from Standard Process.

Feed a diet that is HIGH in carbohydrates (rice, grains, pasta, and lots of vegetables, medium protein, and LOW fat). Spot's Stew for dogs (by Halo) in the CANNED form, would be a good diet. Or a home prepared diet for Liver support, found in Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Richard Pitcairn.

Shiloh would also benefit from a one to two times per week injection of B-vitamins plus B-12. This may help the anemia and improve his appetite. I would also suggest giving him Petinic liquid in his food, or by mouth, to help his anemia.

Pain medication may also be indicated since the liver support will take several weeks to help repair the liver.

Thanks for your continued correspondence...

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Mar 09, 2013
Garlic
by: Anonymous

You mentioned that you gave him garlic. Garlic is really bad for dogs.

Mar 10, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,
While garlic does belong to the onion family (onions are NOT safe for dogs or cats since they can cause hemolytic anemia), garlic IS safe for dogs and cats to consume.

According to Dr. Richard Pitcairn in his book, Natural Health for Dogs and Cats, garlic 'helps to eliminate worms, strengthen digestion and beneficially stimulates the digestive tract."

I advise you seek the help of a holistic veterinarian for any particular problems you may have with your dog or cat.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

Mar 25, 2013
Feeling better!
by: Jennifer

When I last commented, things were not looking good for Shiloh. The doctor and I had decided to let his disease run it's natural course, and to make him as comfortable as possible.

His feet were full of bacteria and yeast, making walking incredibly painful, and he had no vitality. His weight was down to 17.3 lbs, 8 lbs under his healthy weight. He looked like he was already dead.

As a last ditch effort, I purchased a product called " only natural pet immune balance." He's been taking them for about 60 days. He was also prescribed a daily antibiotic to heal his feet, and I've been giving him a daily probiotic.

In the last two weeks we have noticed marked improvement. His feet are no longer producing the excess keratin, and there are soft, smooth patches of paw starting to emerge. Most surprising, he has gained almost 10 pounds, and is bordering on overweight, something I hope to remedy with exercise, because he is also a lively, perky dog again.

His coat is growing again, and where bald patches had developed, there is now fur!

I'm guessing that I will have to continue the Immune Balance for the rest of his life, but the cost to value ratio is completely worth it.

Another thing I intend to continue is feeding a healthier diet. I can't see any reason not to give him carrots and broccoli...

He will see the vet on Wednesday for a nail trim. They are growing like crazy. I can't wait to show her the results, and to discuss with her when we should discontinue the antibiotic.

Thank you for your great advice and assistance.

Jennifer

Related Pages:
Dog Symptom Checker - Photo, Question & Answer Library for Thousands of Dog Symptoms

May 04, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Hi Jennifer,
May 3, 2013

Thank you for the update! I am SO glad that Shiloh is doing better. You did some good research to discover a source of a 'natural' steroid!

I was not familiar with " only natural pet immune balance" but I will consider it for future reference!
(Active Ingredients: Natural plant derived steroid,
Phytosterolls 95% (derived from Soybean Oil) 52.6mg)

To find a holistic veterinarian in your area click on the link below
Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.



May 12, 2013
Hepatocutaneous syndrome
by: Anonymous

My 12 y/o lab mix was diagnosed with this disease after on phenobarbital for seizures for many years. Have had GREAT results with making her chicken stock (simmer the chicken bones until they release their collagen -- turns to gel when cooled in the fridge). I have been giving her about 1/4 cup per day with food. When I got busy and stopped it, her lesions returned!!!! Started it back and her lesions are resolving!!!! Disease is caused by amino acid deficiency ( the gelatin is made up of Amino acids!)

May 12, 2013
Hepatocutaneous syndrome
by: Anonymous

My 12 y/o lab mix was diagnosed with this disease after on phenobarbital for seizures for many years. Have had GREAT results with making her chicken stock (simmer the chicken bones until they release their collagen -- turns to gel when cooled in the fridge). I have been giving her about 1/4 cup per day with food. When I got busy and stopped it, her lesions returned!!!! Started it back and her lesions are resolving!!!! Disease is caused by amino acid deficiency ( the gelatin is made up of Amino acids!)

May 12, 2013
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Paws Red on Top with Black Crusty Paw Pads
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

Dear Anonymous,
Thank you for the tip on boiling chicken bones, to obtain the protein rich broth. It sounds like that is exactly what your dog needs.

In my experience, feeding raw meat, (NO RAW PORK or RAW FISH) will provide the needed amino acids. Also, vitamin C is found in RAW meat, NOT in cooked meat. Since dogs produce their own Vitamin C, it is not added to dog food. If your dog has a weakened immune system, the naturally occurring Vit C in raw meat would be essential to improving his overall health.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is AVH.org.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

P.S. If you've found this service or our web site helpful, please "Like" us by clicking the like button at the top of the left margin. Thank you!

DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.






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