October 1, 2008 "Ask Seth"

My 3-year old Bulldog has a lump between his toes. He's begun to limp. What could this be?

Dear Seth,

My 3-year old Bulldog, Kanz, has a lump between his toes. This lump is red and appears to be swollen. He just begun to limp a little bit. What could this be?

Becky, from PA


From what you are saying this sounds like an interdigital furuncle, commonly incorrectly called interdigital cysts. These are nodule lesions, usually 1-2 cm in diameter and reddish purple in color located in the webbing of the paws. This can be painful. Interdigital furuncle’s are associated with inflammation and are rarely cystic. This is common in some breeds including Bulldogs, Labradors, and Shar Pei.

This process begins when the short bristly hairs located on the webbing between the toes and on the webbing are forced backwards into the follicles during locomotion. A small percentage is a result of foreign material embedded in the skin. Both are referred to as traumatic implantation and begin the inflammation process. Secondary bacterial infections are very common. A veterinarian can diagnose with clinical signs alone, yet further testing may be recommended to rule out cancer. Treatment consists of foot soaks in epsom salts or betadine with warm water are recommended. For infections, oral antibiotics are used and be continued for long periods of time. In some rare cases of chronic reoccurrences, surgical removal may be recommended. Your veterinarian will devise a treatment protocol specifically for Kanz.

Seth Mayersohn, CVT


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