Interdigital Cyst In Bulldogs And French Bulldogs

By: Dr. Roy Kraemer |
DVM, Bulldog Specialist Veterinarian

Subject: Seeking Help for Rocky’s Interdigital Cysts & Limp šŸ¾šŸ˜” #BulldogHealth #PawCare

I trust this note finds you well! šŸŒŸ Rocky, who seems to be dealing with interdigital cysts and a noticeable limp. šŸ˜” I’ve observed redness and discomfort in the paw area. I would greatly appreciate your expert advice on how to care for Rocky’s interdigital cysts and address the limp issue.

šŸ™šŸ¼ Thank you for always being there, Warm regards, Jil & Rocky šŸ¶šŸ’– #BulldogMom #PawHealth

Interdigital cysts in bulldogs and French bulldogs are common to the breed and are often a lifelong challenge.

Other names for interdigital cysts, though, are not always the same.

  • Bulldog Interdigital Furuncles
  • Bulldog Pododermatitis,

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst 5 X MUST KNOW

  1. Commonly seen between the toes as a raised, rosy, inflamed cystic, ulcerative lesion.
  2. It’s mostly due to injuries to the hair shaft and follicles due to webbing and traumatic implantation.
  3. It can be blistery and infected, painful, and difficult to walk on.
  4. Treatment includes antiseptic therapeutics (wipes, rinse, spray, lotion) and soaking.
  5. Prevention includesĀ Dr. Kraemerā€™s Interdigital Cyst Care BundlesĀ 

Members of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Interdigital Cyst Bundle - Ultimate

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs Presentation:

Interdigital cysts can manifest in the interdigital web space as bright, red, puffy, and sometimes erupting lesions.

Histologically, these lesions are nodular and do not constitute a true cyst (which is a closed sac structure filled with liquid).

Genuine interdigital cysts are visible beneath the toes and usually stem from paw injuries, particularly trauma to the hair follicles within the paw.

Traumatic implantation, can cause abnormal hair growth and plugging of the follicle.

Bulldog interdigital cysts

BULLDOG INTERDIGITAL CYST COMMON APPEARANCE:

  • COLOR: Red, Swollen
  • BLISTER: Blood-filled blister
  • PAIN: Limping & Pain
  • ITCH: Itching, Licking & Biting
  • INFECTION: Rupture of the “cyst” leading to an infection

 

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs RULE OF THUMB:

The cysts can are often a lifelong cyclical problem, thus requiring lifelong prevention and careĀ 

bulldog ruptured interdigital cyst

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs CAUSE

Bulldogs are predisposed to interdigital cysts due to:

Interdigital Cyst PAW & BODY ANATOMY:

  • Inherent stocky body types
  • Excessive prominent webbing
  • Thick, thorny hairs: stubby hairshaft can easily injure the skin and tissue
  • Skinfolds: causing bulldog skinfold moist dermatitis

Interdigital cysts develop as a result of the ingrown hair shafts and trauma from the bristly hair. Traumatic implantation can further push it backward into the follicle.

INTERDIGITAL CYST INGROWN HAIR SHAFT

Compared to other breeds, bulldogs have a predisposition to thicker, coarser hair that has a much higher tendency to grow in the wrong direction, particularly within the warm, moist environment between their toes.

The thick, coarse hair of bulldogs, often likened to being “thorny” or “bristly,” tends to grow in the wrong direction, particularly within the warm, moist spaces between their toes, folds, and web. These ingrown hairs can irritate and puncture the delicate skin, sparking inflammation and providing an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

INTERDIGITAL CYST TRAMAUTIC IMPLANTAION:

The bristly hair itself acts like a miniature harpoon, pushing dirt, debris, and even broken hair shafts deeper into the skin. This penetration heightens inflammation and fosters the formation of blistery cysts around the foreign material.

Exercise and walking will exacerbate and even reverse the movement of the prickly, stubby hair shaft

INTERDIGITAL CYST BACKWARD PENETRATION:

The bristly hair, exacerbated by scratching or licking, can push the ingrown hair shaft and any trapped debris further into the follicle.

This deeper penetration leads to a more chronic and potentially more painful cyst, elevating the risk of infection, pain, and other complications.

INTERDIGITAL CYST INFECTION AND BLISTERS

The body’s natural reaction to this irritation is inflammation, characterized by redness, swelling, pain, and the development of a pus-filled blister around the ingrown hair. In more severe cases, the blister may rupture and bleed, resulting in an open wound that is susceptible to further infection.

The web ingrown bent hair shaft cause an inflammatory response presented by the typical bloody infected blister.Ā 

French Bulldog Painful paw Interdigital Cyst

INTERDIGITAL CYSTS AND BULLDOG ALLERGIES:

Bulldogs and French bulldogs have a high propensity for common allergies

INTERDIGITAL CYSTS AND BULLDOG PYODERMA:

Secondary skin infections, typically a mix of bacteria and yeast, can exasperate or lead to interdigital cysts

INTERDIGITAL CYSTS AND BULLDOG SKIN MITES:

Skin mites can trigger and exasperate itching and licking.

bulldog adult immune suppressed severe Demodex

INTERDIGITAL CYSTS AND OTHER MEDICAL CONDITIONS CAUSE:

Other skin conditions that can lead to, exasperate, or trigger interdigital cysts

  • Bulldog pemphigus: autoimmune Skin Disease
  • Bulldog Hyperkeratosis: abnormal pad and skin keratinization
  • Bulldog Foxtail: Foreign Body (foxtail)
  • Bulldog Obesity:
  • Bulldog Arthritis (Osteoarthritis): and other orthopedic problems will cause uneven weight bearing that can lead to or exasperate interdigital cysts

arthritis bulldog due to hip dysplasia

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs DIAGNOSTIC TESTS:

  • Skin scrape: checking for mites like demodicosis
  • Cytology: testing for Bacteria and Yeast organisms
  • Skin cultures: bacteria types
  • Needle Aspirate:
  • Skin biopsies:Ā Histopathology

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs: PREVENT & TREAT

Left untreated, interdigital cysts can become chronic and painful, significantly impacting your bulldog’s quality of life. They can also worsen due to secondary bacterial infections, leading to further complications. Therefore, early intervention is crucial.

Interdigital cysts require long-term therapy which ideally combines

  • Therapeutic supplements
  • Therapeutic antiseptic topicals

Interdigital Cyst COMPRESS &Ā SOAKING:

An inexpensive, safe, and effective bulldog interdigital cyst care and maintenance method is a daily soak with lukewarm water mixed with

ANTISEPTIC BULLY THERAPEUTICS:

Daily prevention and care with anti-yeast and antibacterial medicated products:

BULLDOG THERAPEUTICĀ SUPPLEMENTS

Ideally, the therapeutic antiseptic topicals are combined with therapeutic supplementsĀ 

PAIN RELIEF:

ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES:

IMMUNE BOOSTER:

ARTHRITIS RELIEF

bulldog skin and coat brewers dried yeast

Bulldog Interdigital Cysts/RX

There are a wide range of medications that are often prescribed, including topical and systemic

  • pain relief
  • anti-inflammatories
  • antibiotics
  • antifungal
  • itch control

PAIN RELIEF (RX):Ā 

  • Ā NSAID
  • Gabapentin
  • Tramadol
  • Steroid

TOPICAL OINTMENTS (RX):

Topical antibacterials with cortisone ointments like mupirocin and paralog are sometimes necessary.

SYSTEMIC ANTISEPTICS (RX):

In instances of a severe bulldog interdigital cyst, systemic prescription medications may be necessary.

  1. systemic antibiotics
  2. systemic antifungal

SYSTEMIC ANTI-INFLAMMATORY AND ITCH CONTROL (RX):

  1. anti-inflammatory
  2. anti-itching medication

CORTISONE (prednisone) The prescription will usually be in the form of cortisone or, preferably, a non-steroidal drug like

  • Apoquel
  • Cytopoint
  • Cyclosporine.

NON-RX MODALITIES:

I often recommend non-pharmaceutical, anti-inflammatory healing modalities.

Those bulldogs either reacted adversely to the traditional oral and injectable medications or failed to improve on those drugs.

  1. Pulse Electromagnetic Therapy (PEMT)
  2. Class 4 Cold laser therapy.
  3. Laser Therapy

STEM CELL THERAPY:

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst stem cell therapy

 

I have successfully treated non-responsive, severe cases of interdigital cysts bulldogs with Stem Cell Therapy and Cryobanking

Stem cell therapy is a cutting-edge regenerative medicine technology.

Interdigital Cyst in English Bulldogs stem cell therapy

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst Surgery / FUSION PODOPLASTYĀ 

When dealing with interdigital cysts in your bulldog, it’s crucial to seek advice from a qualified veterinarian experienced in treating this condition. They can properly diagnose the cause of the cysts, assess the severity, and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan based on your bulldog’s individual needs.

INTERDIGITAL CYST SURGERY WARNING:

Many bulldog owners are offered surgery options by an inexperienced veterinarian who just digs, cuts, and probes the blister as a quick fix, those types of surgeries are useless and should never be done except for foxtail removal

It could ultimately cause more harm than good and only exasperate the condition

  • Tissue trauma
  • Introducing infectious microorganisms
  • Further trauma to the hair follicle
  • Exhaspbrate itching
  • Impede healing due to post-up inflammation

Its goes without saying that any surgery include the inherent anesthetic risks

Instead, a comprehensive and tailored approach focused on addressing the underlying causes and minimizing additional trauma is key to effectively managing interdigital cysts and ensuring your bulldog’s comfort and well-being.

FUSION PODOPLASTY SURGERY FOR INTERDIGITAL CYST

Fusion podoplasty is a reconstructive salvage procedure involving the removal of diseased interdigital skin tissues. The phalanges and digital metacarpal/metatarsal pads are then sutured together in apposition to close the resulting skin wound defects.

  1. LAST RESORT: Fusion podoplasty surgery should only be done as a last resort; it is a salvage procedure
  2. EXPERIENCE SURGON: Fusion podoplasty should only be done by an experienced surgeon who has already performed the procedure successfully in the past.

INTERDIGITAL CYST SURGERY POST-OP CARE

Post-operative surgical management demands careful attention, proving to be a time-consuming process. In its initial phase, daily wound management and bandage changes are essential. Additionally, the use of a splint may be necessary to alleviate tension in the wound.

I advise a few days of hospitalization to ensure proper confinement, nursing care, and oversight by an experienced veterinary team. Following the release of the patient, it is advisable to wear a protective boot on the foot for approximately 6 weeks.

WARNING: Bulldog fusion podoplasty surgery is the last resort option and should be considered if all medical avenues have failed!

Interdigital Cysts in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs TIPS & WARNINGS:

Below are a few must-know tips & warnings listed by Dr. Kraemer

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst FOOD ALLERGY TIP:

If your bulldog or French bulldog suffers from an interdigital cyst and itching in his belly, ears, and other areas, you should suspect allergies as the underlying cause or a contributor to the problem.

FOOD ALLERGY:

This should be suspected when your bulldog is also suffering from gastrointestinal problems like indigestion and gas.

ATOPIC ALLERGY:

should be controlled with itch-control medication.

Regardless of the allergies and type of allergies you should always implement preventive & care by combing therapeutic topicals and supplementsĀ 

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst TREATMENT DURATION TIP:

Treating interdigital cysts might require systemic medication for

  • Inflammation
  • Pain
  • Yeast
  • Bacteria

The treatment should continue for a few weeks and often requires a much longer treatment duration.

Interdigital Blister WEIGHT LOSS TIP:

Overweight Bulldogs face an increased risk of interdigital cysts due to abnormal weight-bearing distribution, leading to heightened friction between the skin and footpads.

Initiating weight loss in overweight bulldogs can prove beneficial in mitigating this risk.

Dr. Kraemer’s BULLDOG IMMUNOTHERAPY TIP:

If itch atopic dermatitis is suspected, cytopoint injection should be given it’s safe and effective for atopic dermatitis

A VARL test is recommended to help identify the environmental allergen, followed by immunotherapy. Immunotherapy can save the owner money by reducing their dependency on anti-itch and antibiotic drugs.

Immunotherapy is a safe, cost-effective, and medically effective treatment option for long-term control of bulldog atopic dermatitis.

Bulldog Food Allergy TRIAL TIP:

If a food allergy is likely, then I recommend a 3ā€“4 month trial prescription hypoallergenic elimination diet with a novel protein or hydrolyzed protein.

Interdigital Cysts DURATION WARNING:

A recurrent chronic interdigital cyst could be attributed to inappropriate antibiotic therapy, which may include a course that is too short, an incorrect dosage, or the use of the wrong drug.

Interdigital Cysts: Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria Warning

Given the growing prevalence of multi-drug-resistant bacterial infections, such as MRSP, it is advisable to conduct cultures for non-resolving interdigital cyst cases. This is particularly important for cases currently undergoing prescribed empirical antibiotic treatment.

Interdigital Blisters FRICTION WARNING:

Any chronic friction between the opposing surfaces of your bulldog’s toes can cause an interdigital cyst.

BULLDOG STEROID RISKS:

Dependency and excessive use of steroids can lead to serious adverse effects. There are new, non-steroidal anti-itch medications and injections on the market, as well as non-pharmaceutical, anti-inflammatory, healing modalities like stem cell therapy, PRP, PEMT, and cold laser therapy.

BULLDOG ARTHRITIS WARNING

Like obesity, arthritic pain will often cause an uneven weight distribution, exacerbating the cyst condition

BULLDOG FOXTAIL WARNING

InterdigitalĀ cysts in bulldogs can be confused with a foreign body like a foxtail.

INTERDIGITAL BLISTERS SCARRING:

Ongoing chronic bulldog interdigital infections can lead to secondary scarring.

Recommended by Owners Approved by Bulldogs

 

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The information provided on this platform is for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian regarding any medical condition. It's important to always consider professional medical advice promptly and not to delay seeking it based on information you've read on this platform. Any reliance on the information provided here is entirely at your discretion.

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