It came on gradually, my dog’s limp. At first I thought he might have pulled a muscle or twisted his foot during some extra-rambunctious play. Or perhaps the salt used to melt snow on the roads was bothering his paw? But he didn’t object to having his limbs manipulated, and the slight limp didn’t ease up with rest. I couldn’t see any injury on the pad and he didn’t flinch when I put pressure on the pads… until this week.
About a week ago I saw an odd round area of what looked to be a circle of thickened tissue on the dog’s pad, a little lighter in colour than the paw pad skin surrounding it. Since that first sighting, I’ve noticed that it’s a little bigger and he’s starting to try to take the paw away when I push on that pad with my fingers.
This dog of mine is a retired racing greyhound, and greyhounds are a breed with very little fat to cushion the bottom of the feet. I remembered reading somewhere that, because of this – and because they often have small injuries to foot and leg bones that can distribute their weight oddly when they walk – greyhounds are more prone than other dogs to getting corns on the paw pads, a lot like the corns that people can develop.
I had a pretty good idea that this might be the problem, but went to the Internet for pictures that could confirm my suspicions. As well as some good pictures on the Therapaw site, I found an excellent document (you can download it as a PDF file) that explains all about warts and corns in dogs, and the various options for treatment.
Yep, it looks like my limping greyhound most likely has a corn on his paw pad. Next question is to see whether we can manage it with home remedies (like a careful grinding to keep it flush with the rest of the pad) and walking on soft surfaces instead of paved roads and concrete sidewalks – or whether it will need a vet to surgically remove the corn.