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D2010-31

Dear Daisy Dog

My greyhound, Randy, has a footpad corn. His veterinarian recommended applying a human corn softener and filing the corn down every few weeks with a Dremel grinding tool for the remainder of Randy’s life.

Can the corn be surgically removed instead? And, by the way, what causes these corns?

Daisy Responds

Footpad corns appear most commonly in retired racing greyhounds, though they also develop in greyhounds that are still racing and occasionally in other breeds of dogs.

The cause is unknown, but veterinarians speculate that many factors may contribute to corn formation: concussive trauma to greyhounds’ relatively thin footpads, an abnormal response to a small cut, a reaction to a tiny object that penetrates the pad, or infection by the papilloma virus that causes warts.

Pressing on the corn causes substantial pain, so it’s not surprising that greyhounds with corns exhibit chronic lameness.

Most veterinarians treat footpad corns as your vet does.

Others soak the paw for 15 or 20 minutes and then hull out the corn using a dental root elevator tool. Unfortunately, the corn usually regrows, so the procedure must be repeated every month or so.

Still other veterinarians remove the entire footpad corn surgically or with a laser, under general anesthesia. In most of these cases, the excised corns do not recur.

Also, antiviral treatment has helped some dogs.

If these techniques don’t improve Randy’s comfort, cushion his paw with a Thera-Paw rubber boot (www.therapaw.com). Handicappedpets.com also carries a full line of dog boots that protect the footpads when we dogs walk on hard surfaces.

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