Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 31.1 Other Scientific

Feline pododermatitis

Published 02/09/2021

Written by Ronnie Kaufmann

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Cats will often present to first opinion clinics with a variety of foot lesions; Ronnie Kaufmann discusses the main differentials, diagnostics and treatment options. 

Plasma cell pododermatitis can affect felines other than the domestic cat! This image is from a captive tiger

Key points

Pododermatitis is a descriptive term, not a final diagnosis, and can involve the skin of the paws, the interdigital spaces and/or the nail folds.


There are many causes for pododermatitis, but most can be identified based on characteristic clinical signs supported by typical fine-needle aspirate findings.


A definitive diagnosis relies on histopathology, and whilst therapy commonly involves immunomodulation, it is different for every disease, as is the prognosis.


Where chronic treatment is needed, immunomodulatory drugs should always be tapered down to the lowest frequency possible that keeps the patient comfortable.


Introduction

Pododermatitis is the name given to the clinical presentation of an inflammation affecting the paws, although it can involve the skin of the paws, the interdigital spaces and/or the nail folds (paronychia). Pododermatitis can be the only abnormality detected, or it may be accompanied by other dermatologic or systemic clinical signs, so any cat with footpad lesions warrants a complete dermatological and physical examination. Remember that pododermatitis is a descriptive term, not a final diagnosis, and there is more than one differential diagnosis!

The overall prevalence of feline pododermatitis among dermatological diagnoses is low 1. Diseases affecting the pads include, though are not limited to, eosinophilic granuloma, pemphigus foliaceous, mosquito bite hypersensitivity, metastatic adenocarcinoma (so called "lung-digit syndrome") and plasma cell pododermatitis. 

 

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