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Acral Mutilation Syndrome
Addisons Disease
Bloat / Torsion
Canine Sprue
Cleft Lip / Palate
Contact Dermatitis
Corneal Dystrophy
Degenerative Myelopathy
Elbow Dysplasia
GlycogenStorage Disease
GSD Foot Pad Syndrome
Hip Dysplasia
Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy
Idiopathic Canine Colitis
Idiopathic Onychomadesis
Imperfect Dentition
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca
Mitral Valve Defect
Non-fusion of the Anconeus
Osteochondritis Dissecans
Pancreatic Hypoplasia
Patent Ductus Arteriosis
Pemphigus Vulgaris
Pemphigus Erythematosus
Perianal Fistula
Pulmonic Stenosis
Premature Closure Ulna
S.I. Bacterial Overgrowth Syndrome
Sebaceous Adenitis
Selective IgA Deficiency
Spina Bifida
Symetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
Tricuspid Dysplasia
Umbilical Hernia




GSD Foot Pad Syndrome       


Common names or abbreviations:

bulletsoft feet
bulletsoft footpads

Description or definition:


Abnormally soft foot pads occurring in young dogs of German Shepherd ancestry.  The cause of the abnormality is unknown.  This condition is also called soft feet or soft footpads.


Related Condition:

Familial Vasculopathy of German Shepherds/ Cutaneous vasculopathy: This is an inherited disorder involving the blood vessels.  The condition is typically seen in young puppies following the first vaccination.  Symptoms are fever and lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, joints, and footpad swelling and de-pigmentation.  There is also crusting and ulceration of the nose, and tips of the ears and tail.  Most dogs recover fully by 6 months.  However, the footpads remain soft.  Prior symptoms of fever and lethargy can reoccur with each subsequent vaccination.  The condition is diagnosed if abnormalities in the blood vessels are present upon biopsy of the footpad.   This condition is immune-mediated.



Lameness, tender, swollen, crusty, or ulcerated foot pads.  The pads may bleed if the dog walks on hard or rough surfaces.  Less severe forms express as footpads that are thin and soft.  Affected pads may be lightly pigmented or show some degree of pigment loss.  Symptoms are usually most severe in dogs that are under a year old.



Diagnosis is made based on the clinical signs and/or a skin biopsy. 



There is no cure for this condition.  Many dogs outgrow the more severe symptoms as they mature.  However, the feet still remain tender in comparison to other dogs.  Management of a dog with soft feet involves keeping the dog off of rough, hard, hot, or frozen, surfaces that may damage the foot pads.  Treatment of cracked or ulcerated foot pads may require cleansing and bandaging the area, and providing antibiotics. If the condition is determined to be autoimmune related the vet may prescribe a course of prednisone or other medications that suppress the immune system.  If vaccine reaction is suspected, the dog may have to be placed on a special protocol with respect to vaccinations. 

Once all open wounds are healed there are creams available that can be used to further toughen and/or protect the pads.  There are also various different types of protective footwear on the market that might be beneficial for dogs with soft feet.

If you suspect your dog has this disorder, or for further information about this condition, please consult your veterinarian.

Links to sites about this disease:







This summary provided by:

bulletJessica S
bulletWildfire Kennel


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Copyright © 1998 - 2009. Shiloh Shepherd Dog™ Club of America.
All rights reserved. Revised: January 2008

The information on this website was written by ISSR breeders and other concerned individuals, however we are are NOT veterinarians. This information is being provided as a general overview, from information we were able to find about each disease through our own research. These summaries are not intended to be relied upon as medical or veterinary advice, nor do we consider ourselves experts in the veterinary field or in any of these conditions. While we do our best to provide the most up to date information, new research is constantly being done on these diseases. We recommend that you do further study and talk to your veterinarian on any topics you see here, as we cannot guarantee that the information posted here is the most current information available.  This site was originally designed and maintained by Debbie Knatz.