Bulldog Interdigital Cysts (growths between the toes)
December 7, 2007
I haven’t gotten the book yet but I am anxious to know about some problems that my bulldog has. One thing is he has small growths or blisters between his toes on front feet only that do not seem to hurt him but the sometimes burst and bleed a little, and he cleans them up and they seem to subside for a while. Very strange.
Those growths between his toes are called interdigital cysts. They so seem to have a higher incidence in bulldogs, probably because of their inbreeding. Nobody really knows what causes them, some people think it’s a fungus and some think it’s an ingrown hair. 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 an infection.
Here is a discussion thread from 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 creams unless 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!
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.
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
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
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.
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
And here are some links to more information and photos on the topic:
Your Bulldog Pal,