An interdigital cyst, technically known as an interdigital furuncle, is a painful lesion or growth found between dog toes. These irritating growths tend to represent pyogranulomatous inflammation and are generally not cystic, which is why they are properly known as interdigital furuncles.
If your dog is chewing his paws or limping check out each paw pad to see what’s going on. The earlier you catch these lesions, the better. Signs of interdigital cysts (furuncles) include:
- A red bump/fleshy welt between toes
- A hairless bump
- An ulcerated sore
What Causes Interdigital Cysts (Furuncles)?
There are many factors that may contribute to the development of interdigital furuncles. The most common cause is a deep underlying infection. Although, the cause of the infection can relate to a variety of things. Everything from allergies and mites to ingrown hairs and poor foot conformation can contribute to the issue.
Certain dog breeds are more prone to the development of interdigital cysts, such as the Chinese Shar-Pei, Labrador Retriever and English Bulldog. While any dog can develop one, it is more common in dogs who have short hairs between the webbing of their toes and/or protuberant interdigital webbing. These short hairs can easily become pushed down into hair follicles. This can lead to inflammation of the skin and the potential for a secondary bacterial infection. It is less common, but possible, for a foreign material to become lodged into the skin.
Reoccurring interdigital furuncles may be a result of Atopic Dermatitis or demodicosis (mange).
What is the Treatment Process?
Your vet may extract cells from the lesion to send off to a lab for further testing. This can help confirm the issue is not cancer, and identify the type of bacteria present. Your vet may also scrap the area checking for demodex mites.
The treatment process can take up to 12+ weeks! Don’t let it frustrate you—and keep in mind, in most cases, it is not beneficial to go with exploratory or invasive surgery. You can surgically remove the webbing between your dog’s toes but this doesn’t necessarily address the underlying issue and can create further paw troubles.
Before resorting to extreme measures, give the interdigital furuncle plenty of time to heal naturally. In almost all cases, and especially when caught on time and properly treated, interdigital cysts eventually subside and heal.
There are different treatment measures available based on the underlying cause, including:
- Soaking paws in Epsom salts 2x each day
- Allergy testing followed by removing allergens from environment
- Regularly cleaning and shampooing paws
- Visiting a veterinary dermatologist specialist
- Checking for thyroid disease—and treating accordingly if this is the issue
- Using an E-collar to reduce chewing
- Reducing your dog’s weight
- Apply Skin Soother 2-3x per day
Skin Soother for Interdigital Cysts (Furuncles)
Skin Soother is well-suited to help tackle these irritating growths between your dog’s toes. The all-natural balm is packed with healing herbs that soothe on contact while providing antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
The Skin Soother stick makes it easy to apply 2-3x per day. Within no time, your pup’s paws should start to feel better. Even after the interdigital cyst heals, Skin Soother can be continually applied to help prevent and minimize future occurrences.