Interdigital Cysts – What Are They & How To Treat.

Hi Jan:

Do you have any experience with persistent paw yeast infections?  My son’s bulldog has one in between his toes that won’t go away.  It only flared up again when the pills prescribed by the vet were used up.  The MalAcetic Otic they gave us isn’t working.  I hestitate to go back to the vet again and waste more money.
Any suggestions?  I don’t like to bother you, but I’m at my wit’s end.

Attached is a photo of his paw.

interdigital cyst

There seems to be a couple of bumps and it’s yeasty.  On November 4, the vet injected him with Dexamethasone and gave him Enrofloxacin pills.  It seemed to calm down.  Now that the pills are all gone, it has flared up again.  I was soaking it in warm water and salt, plus pouring peroxide on the wound today which I think made it worse.  The vet put him on a special diet because he has a stomach infection – Medi-cal Gastro formulated for gastrointestinal conditions.  He was throwing up everyday and had loose stools.  He’s no longer throwing up since on this kibble.  The stools are better.
Have you seen this condition before in between the toes?

Thanks, Debbie

Hi Debbie,

The photo is not very clear but that looks like an interdigital cyst to me.  If so, they are notyeast, they are either ingrown hairs that get infected or a fungal infection – there is some debate.

The medical term for them is interdigital furuncle.  I think they are an ingrown hair that gets a mild infection.  They usually clear up on their own and I am of the opinion they should not be punctured because that can lead to infection.  And I wouldn’t go the antibiotic route because I think it not necessary unless there is a bad infection.  And I’ve found that the least amount of fussing with the sore is best.

Your vet prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic for the perceived infection.

Here is some advice from various bulldog owners and breeders on how they treat them:

As for the cysts, I have used part of the process you’ve included: we usually soak the affected paw in Epsom salts water. I don’t worry about applying Panalog or other creamsunless the vet has recommended it.

Generally with a cyst or any lesion on the paw that I am just starting to treat, I just start with soaks. That way I clean the foot and can get a really good look, and Epsom salts helps to soften and start the lesion draining if it needs to. If it’s a cyst, is there a need for Panalog or other anti-bacterial (antibiotic) ointments or creams? Not necessarily, only if it’s infected. So, if draining it and/or keeping it clean is enough, then why bring in antibiotics and tinker with resistance and such? If pus drains, then I do use ointment, usually triple antibiotic or Bacitracin. Like you, if soaks (with or without ointment) don’t work in 2-4 days, or if it worsens, it’s off to the vet we go!

–Margaret

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What I have found is that many cysts are caused by ingrown hair. I soak the affected food in Epson salts for about 5 minutes. When drying the paw if you look on the underneath side of the foot between the pads on the toe that is effected you will probably see an area that appears to have a black head. You can usually use a tweezers and pull the hairs out without causing your pet much discomfort. This has always worked on my dogs.

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a long coarse of antibiotics usually cephalexin. and give it some time. i have two that got cysts between the toes and used antibiotics 1 dogs went away and hasnt come back… the other girls cyst has been back several times now i dont even put her on antibiotics anymore, i keep it clean use panalog oint and basically just keep popping the cyst to drain it and within a week it starts to go away her last cyst i did this and it hasnt been back in over a year. i am a technician at a vet clinic and ive seen surgeries removing these cysts and 90% of them ive seen return anyway after several surgeries and alot of money it is very hard to get all of the stalk inbetween the toes so you often get regrowth any way…

well thats my 2 cents

chrissy

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There are as many interdigital cyst remedies as there are Bulldoggers. I think the cysts have multiple causes including fungus advancing to infection as the cyst develops.

Along that reasoning, I use a Nolvasan Surgical Scrub solution; 5% Surgical Scrub, 95% water, applied with a spray bottle and massaged onto the affected area. I apply twice daily and I’ve never had it last more than three days.

Nolvasan Surgical Scrub is a bit pricey,perhaps $55.00/Gallon, but a gallon will last a lifetime (Or more) It’s very effective for hot spots and simple skin problems. Most importantly, It’s an anti-bacterial agent and an effective fungicide, not an anti-biotic. A simple solution for a complex problem.

Walt

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I agree with Walt’s solution -

That’s a great idea

I also use a home made concoction we fondly call “Oden’s Foot” It is 50% rubbing alcohol, 50% water – you boil the water and ad 2 heaping tablespoons of salt till it dissolves. Let is cool a bit then mix with the alcohol put in a sprayer bottle and spray several times a day -

this dries up themoisture and the cyst – this is a people remedy given my son when he had severe fungal infections of the toe nails – it works great you just need to be consistent and spray frequently

Kathy J

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The most common home remedy I read about was to soak or compress the affected foot several times per day, then apply antibiotic ointment. A few people recommended applying Preparation H or other hemmorhoid creams. We decided to do a bit of each.

Three to four times per day we’ve been soaking Elliott’s foot in Epsom salts. The easiest way we’ve found to do this is to fill the laundry tub up with 2 to 3 inches of fairly warm water, to which we’ve added a cup of Epsom Salts. We then stand Elliott in the tub, and sit beside him for ten minutes or so. Luckily for us, he’s a good boy, and just stands there patiently so long as we give him the occasional head scratch.

After ten minutes or so have elapsed, we put Elliott on a thick towel and gently pat his affected foot dry. I then fill a large, wide coffee cup with about an inch of hydrogen peroxide, and hold his foot in the cup for a few moments. The affected areas on Elliott’s foot, in particular the cyst itself and the surrounding hair follicles, respond to the hydrogen peroxide with bubbling, whereas the rest of his foot does not.  This shows that there is catalase enzyme present in these areas, which is one of the components released when blood or damaged cells are present.

After soaking in hydrogen peroxide, we again pat Elliott’s foot dry. I then apply either Panalog ointment, or Anusol hemorrhoid ointment.

We’ve been treating him using the above method since Saturday morning, and in that time period his swelling has reduced by approximately 40%, and the redness is almost completely gone. With any luck, it will be completely gone within another day or so, and with no antibiotics. Of course, if it doesn’t clear up, or returns, then we’ll try traditional Veterinary treatment and oral antibiotics.

Frogdog blog

And here are some links to more information and photos on the topic:

http://www.bulldogsworld.com/DigitCyst.html

http://www.provet.co.uk/Petfacts/healthtips/interdigitalcysts.htm

Good luck, let me know how he’s doing.

Your Bulldog Pal,

Jan

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Comments

  1. Richie
    October 1st, 2011 | 9:12 am

    I have used Kathy J’s method on my Bullie of the water, rubbing alcohol and salt and it is awesome! My dog licks his cysts ’til they bleed, and the rubbing alcohol discourages that. I believe the last time it was gone in several days.

  2. Paul
    February 13th, 2012 | 3:44 pm

    My bullie has an un-erupted swelling between his toes. Is this a cyst-wantabe and will any of these treatments do any goo at this stage of developement?

  3. Jan
    February 14th, 2012 | 4:30 pm

    Most likely it is a cyst (no longer wannabe) and the treatments can help. Left alone they often resolve on their own. They do not always rupture. Watch for signs of infection which include oozing discharge and redness in the surrounding areas.

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