2023 Author: Alex Livingston | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 11:39
Feline lymphoplasmacellular pododermatitis, or simply pododermatitis, is an inflammatory disease that affects the paw pads of cats. there everything you need to know about this rather rare but important skin disease to know and recognize.
Pododermatitis can affect all cats regardless of age, sex or race. Fortunately, as mentioned, this is not a very common ailment.
It consists in the infiltration of plasma cells (cells of the immune system) in foot pads of the animal, i.e. the central and larger ones, called metacarpal or metatarsal depending on whether it is the front and rear legs. At the most advanced stage it also extends to digital bearings, i.e. smaller ones. In most cases, all four legs are involved, but in some cats it has only been found in one.
Let's talk now about symptoms which can let you know if your cat has developed pododermatitis. The affected bearings are generally:
- Soft, tending to remain curved in case of pressure;
- Sometimes ulcerated;
- Tending to bleed
- Purplish in color, with hyperkeratotic streaks.
In the presence of ulcerations it could be very painful for the cat to put weight on the diseased paw, forcing it to limp. Cats suffering from this disease also tend to licking or biting insistently the paws. Sometimes they can also be affected by plasma cell stomatitis, renal amyloidosis or polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia.
As regards the causes, the exact ones are unfortunately still unknown. However, many dermatologists argue that it is an immune-mediated disorder or an allergic reaction, since in some cases the recurrence is seasonal. Some studies in this regard suggest that pododermatitis could be linked to Feline Immunodeficiency or FIV. About half of cats with lymphoplasmacellular pododermatitis test positive for FIV, but the exact correlation between these two disorders is yet to be documented.
If you notice that your cat has the symptoms we have listed above, take him to your veterinarian for a complete examination. One may be required biopsy of the infected pad and also a screening for FIV. An alternative diagnosis could be that of eosinophilic granuloma, which however usually affects only one pad and it is not spongy to the touch.
Since pododermatitis is believed to be due to an immune system reaction, any treatment will target a greater control of the immune response. In milder cases, pododermatitis regresses spontaneously, without any need for therapy, while more advanced or painful lesions are usually treated by administering cortisone or antibiotics (doxycylin).
Depending on the severity of the injuries, some vets may also bandage their paws and add some pain relievers or other types of antibiotics to therapy. In addition to acting on the infected area, it may be advisable to perform an allergy screening if you suspect the presence of an allergic reaction.
Most cats with feline pododermatitis responds well treatment, although therapy for several months is sometimes required. Only in extremely advanced cases may surgery be necessary.
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