Dr. K's Case of the Month: Painful Steps

By Dr. Heather Kovac

The Patient

Miles, an 8-month-old male Vizsla, came to see me after his owner discovered sores on his feet which he was licking at incessantly. 

The Case

The night prior, the owner had used a cleaning agent on a potty pad near the door to clean her pet’s feet after coming in from the yard.  She had mistakenly used the cleaner straight from the bottle without diluting the product as directed.  After realizing her error and noticing her dog had a foot problem, she contacted Animal Poison Control for advice.  They recommended that Miles be seen by a veterinarian immediately. 

Upon physical examination, Miles had significant swelling of the right front foot with ulcerations beginning to form on the bottom surfaces of all 4 feet.  He had some discharge coming from in between the toes and he was very painful and limping.  I also found ulcerations starting on his upper lips and tongue, where he had come in contact with the caustic agent after licking his feet.  He was diagnosed with chemical burns from a caustic agent.  

The Treatment Plan

I immediately soaked his feet in cool water with a small amount of detergent to remove any residual cleaning product.  I started him on an oral pain medication, oral antibiotic, and a protectant for his gastrointestinal tract and mouth.  I instructed the owner to soak his feet in cool water 4 times daily for the next 4 days and to keep him quiet and confined.  Miles needed to stay off of abrasive surfaces and only be walked in clean dry areas until his feet healed.  I also sent home an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking his feet.  I recommended that she feed a soft/canned diet to help with the mouth sores. I rechecked Miles 4 days later and he was doing so much better.  His foot swelling had resolved and the wounds on his feet and mouth were healing nicely.  

The Takeaway

Animal Poison Control is a wonderful service where owners can get immediate advice from veterinarians specialized in toxicology over the phone.  There is a consultation fee for the service but the information gained can be very helpful and sometimes lifesaving.  Your local veterinarian can also get advice on cases from this service.  Whether your pet has ingested a toxin, eaten a potentially poisonous plant, or come in contact with a caustic agent, Animal Poison Control can help 24 hours a day. You can contact Animal Poison Control here.

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The Drake Center for Veterinary Care is an AAHA-accredited animal hospital located in Encinitas, CA. The Drake Center loves being a source of information for all pet owners across the country however if you have any questions regarding pet care and do not live in Encinitas, CA or surrounding cities, we encourage you to contact your local veterinarian.

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