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D2003-32

Dear Daisy Dog

Willow, my Weimaraner, continually has sore paws. The webbing between her pads swells, develops blisters and sometimes bleeds.

The vet prescribes antibiotics, and after four to eight weeks, the soreness clears, but it returns a few weeks later. Repeated treatments are getting expensive. Are there any preventive measures we can take?

Daisy Responds

My brother had the same problem until Mom figured out that he was allergic to grass and pollen.

Allergy is a likely factor in the recurrent problems Willow is experiencing. Dogs who are allergic to certain foods or inhalants (such as pollens, molds or dust mites) most often manifest those allergies through the skin.

The feet, ears and belly are common sites of redness, itchiness and recurrent skin infections. When the problem is seasonal, an inhalant allergy is usually to blame.

When the problem recurs throughout the year, as it does with Willow, an underlying inhalant or food allergy – or both – may be the cause.

Ask your veterinarian if Willow should see a veterinary dermatologist who can determine the cause of her recurrent foot infections.

If she has a food allergy, the dermatologist will help you identify a food she can eat.

If testing demonstrates an inhalant allergy, you can try eliminating the offending substance (which is rarely possible) or treating Willow with antihistamines, allergy injections (just like in people) or acupuncture.

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