Interdigital Cyst

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs

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 one and 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 injury of the hair shaft and follicle due to 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 includes Dr. Kraemer’s Interdigital Cyst Care Bundles 

Members of this bulldog community prefer prevention over RX

Interdigital Cyst Bundle - Ultimate

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PRESENTATION:

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

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

True interdigital cysts can be visualized under the toes and are usually caused by trauma to the paw or more precisely trauma to the hair follicles embedded in the paw.

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


  • 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 RULE OF THUMB:

The cysts can are often a lifelong cyclical problem, thus requiring lifelong preventionb and care 

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs CAUSE

Bulldogs are predisposed to interdigital cysts due to their:


  • Inherent body type & confirmation
  • Excessive prominent webbing
  • Thick thorny hairs

Interdigital cysts are caused by trauma to the web bristly hair shaft pushing it backward back into the follicle.

WARNING: Exercise and walking will exacerbate the reverse movement of the prickly stubby hair shaft

The web ingrown hairshaft cause an inflammatory response presented by the typical bloody infected blister. 



  • Bulldog bacteria dermatitis
  • Bulldog yeast dermatitis


  • Bulldog Demodex Red Mite
  • Bulldog Sarcoptic Mange

Interdigital Cyst / OTHER CAUSE:

  • Bulldog pemphigus: autoimmune Skin Disease
  • Bulldog Hyperkeratosis: abnormal pad and skin keratinization
  • Bulldog Foxtail: Foreign Body (foxtail)
  • Bulldog Obesity:
  • Bulldog Arthritis:  Osteoarthritis

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs DIAGNOSTIC TEST:

  • Skin scrape: checking for mites like demodicosis
  • Cytology: testing for Bacteria and Yeast organisms
  • Skin cultures: Bateria typing
  • Skin biopsies: Histopathology

Interdigital Cyst in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs PREVENTION

Interdigital cysts require long-term therapy which idealy combines theraputic supplements and antiseptic topicals.

Interdigital Cyst SOAKING:

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


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


Ideally, the therapeutic antiseptic topicals are combined with therapeutic supplements 





Bulldog Interdigital Cysts/ RX

PAIN RELIEF (RX): such as NSAID, Gabapentin, and Tramadol

TOPICAL OINTMENTS (RX): Topical antibacterial with cortisone ointments like mupirocin and paralog are sometimes necessary.

SYSTEMIC ANTISEPTICS (RX): Systemic antibiotics and systemic antifungal medication might be necessary in moderate to severe interdigital cyst cases.

SYSTEMIC ANTI-INFLAMMATORY & ITCH CONTROL (RX): Systemic anti-inflammatory, anti-itching medication is often needed in a severe case of bulldog interdigital cyst. The prescription will usually be in the form of cortisone or preferably a non-steroidal drug like Apoquel, Cytopoint, or 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


Interdigital Cyst in English Bulldogs stem cell therapy

I have successfully treated non-responsive, severe cases of interdigital cysts bulldogs with Stem Cell Therapy and Cryobanking, a cutting-edge, regenerative multimodal medicine technology.

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst stem cell therapy

Bulldog Interdigital Cyst Surgery / FUSION PODOPLASTY 

It should be done only by an experienced surgeon who already performed the procedure successfully in the past.

Post-up surgical management must be done diligently; it is very time-consuming and in its first phase requires daily wound management and bandage changes. It also might require a splint to help reduce tension in the wound.

I recommend a few days of hospitalization to allow proper confinement, nursing care, and management by an experienced veterinary team. After releasing the patient, you should keep a protective boot on the foot for about 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:

Bulldog Interdigital Cyste FOOD ALLERGY TIP:

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

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 supplements 

Bulldog Interdigital Cyste 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.

Dr. Kraemer’s Interdigital Blister / WEIGHT LOSS TIP:

Overweight bulldogs are at risk for interdigital cysts due to abnormal weight-bearing distribution and secondary increased friction between the skin and footpads.

Weight loss for overweight bulldogs will be beneficial.


If itch atopic dermatitis is suspected a VARL test is recommended to help identify the environmental allergen followed by immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy can save the owner money by reducing the 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.


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

BULLDOG INTERDIGITAL WARNINGS:English Bulldogs Interdigital Cyst topical treatment

Interdigital Cysts DURATION WARNING:

A recurrent chronic interdigital cyst could be caused by inappropriate antibiotic therapy (too short a course, wrong dosage, wrong drug).

Bulldog Interdigital Cyste / MRSP WARNING:

Multi-drug resistant bacterial infections like MRSP are becoming increasingly common, thus I recommend cultures for non-resolving interdigital cyst cases who are currently on prescribed imperial antibiotics treatment.

 Interdigital Blisters / FRICTION WARNING:

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


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


Like obesity, arthritic pain will often cause an uneven weight distribution and by so exasperate the cyst condition


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


Ongoing chronic bulldog interdigital infections can lead to secondary scarring.

“An Ounce of PREVENTION Is Worth A Pound Of CURE”

Interdigital blister in Bulldogs and French Bulldogs store

*This guide was compiled courtesy of Dr. Kraemer, a “MUST READ” manual for any current or future bully owner.