GSD Foot Pad
Common names or abbreviations:
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.
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
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