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Dog Treatment and Prevention of Suspected Interdigital Furuncles

by Sandra

The last several months my dog has been suffering from regular episodes of what I think are interdigital furuncles (?) based on my research. Before I knew about interdigital furuncles, I took him to my vet at that time, and the vet suspected that there may be something foreign inside the paw, and he opened up the abscess but could find nothing.

My dog, Oliver, a three-year-old male (neutered) border terrier, has been very healthy and active. gets these abscesses on both of his front paws in various areas but with regularity. He spent a lot of time licking them until they eventually open up, and disappear. However, some of them are quite painful and he will limp for a day or two. To try and prevent and treat these, I have been giving him an immune strengthener supplement (which was recommended for this condition in an online article) and a half a clove of fresh garlic a day, for about two months now. There seems to be a longer time period between each outbreak but I haven't been keeping up records so I can't say this for sure.

Just yesterday I started him on flaxseed oil for Omega 3’s. He gets fed a diet of V-Dog kibble, along with organic sweet potatoes, a variety of vegetables and a bit of olive oil. He also used to get a mixture of Halo Garden Medley can food but he lost his taste for it (and other canned foods that I tried as well). He loves the V-dog kibble!

I will also mention that we live in Phoenix, Arizona and I understand that this condition is more common for dogs that live in this area. I have had him wear boots on walks but this did not change the occurrence of the abscesses.

I am looking for natural ways to prevent these from occurring, with a combination of herbs and/or homeopathic medication. I am also looking for the appropriate treatment when one does occur. Currently I am putting pure aloe vera gel on the abscess. Please find attached two photographs of the abscess and a picture of Oliver. I hope that I have provided enough information for you.

Many thanks.

Comments for Dog Treatment and Prevention of Suspected Interdigital Furuncles

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Aug 24, 2014
My Online Vet Response for: Dog Treatment and Prevention of Suspected Interdigital Furuncles
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

August 23, 2014

Hi Sandra,
You have correctly diagnosed Oliver's condition. Although, it is more commonly called 'Interdigital Pyoderma'. Furuncles are reserved for deeper skin infections that extend down to the joint. These smaller pustules that appear between the toes, are more superficial. (and painful!)

They seem to appear in dogs that have a poor immune system. Such as:
1. Secondary to too many vaccinations
2. Chronic allergies
3. Diet-especially a DRY dog food

If he is due for any vaccines, I advise you NOT give him any vaccinations and seek the help of a holistic veterinarian to write an exemption.

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

Here are a few immune support supplements that I recommend:
1. Missing Link Canine Formula
2. Immuplex from Standard Process
3. OrthoMolecular Specialties, Mega C Powder

Plus, one called Canine Whole Body Support by Standard Process. This may be something that Oliver needs, considering he is on a vegetarian diet. (the V-Dog Kibble)

Regarding diet, DRY dog food is NOT good for supporting healthy skin, or a healthy immune system. You are adding some vegetables, to his V-Dog kibble, (which includes some Vitamin C), but in my opinion I think Oliver might clear up completely if you added some meat to his diet. (Especially some raw meat, no raw pork or raw fish, though.)

Keeping his feet meticulously dry and clean is necessary. Bathing his feet once a day, with a mild baby shampoo, (rinse off any soap completely), followed by a foot soak with a small amount of apple cider vinegar will also help to control any yeast. Dry the feet well. Applying aloe vera gel may attract dirt, and will encourage him to lick it off and add more moisture between his toes. Therefore, I would not apply anything to his feet, and discourage the use of booties, since that will trap moisture between his toes and make it worse.

You wrote,
"...we live in Phoenix, Arizona and I understand that this condition is more common for dogs that live in this area." I have not heard that. Unless it is because the climate is dry, and dogs on a dry food diet have more skin problems.

Some homeopathic remedies that are indicated for pustules, redness of skin, and inflammation between the toes, are Hepar Sulph, Sulphur, Silicea and Thuya.

A more involved homeopathic workup would be needed to decide which of the above would be appropriate, which potency to use, and which frequency to give it. This would be beyond the scope of an online advice column, and you should seek the help of a holistic veterinarian that can see Oliver in person.

Although, if some diet changes, and foot baths, and immune support, (with NO vaccines) helps clear this up, then Oliver will not need any homeopathic remedies, as his own vital force would be strong enough for him to heal without them!

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

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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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