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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16327
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Corgi. Licking his front feet between his two outside toe

Resolved Question:

Corgi. Licking his front feet between his two outside toes.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that Sparky is licking between his toes more than usual. I do have some questions for you.
Is it just on one foot, or both?
Is he creating red, sore spots where he licks?
Was there a great improvement when he was taking medications but the symptoms returned when he finished them?
Does he tend to lick all the time or only during a particular time of year?
Are his front feet/legs twisted more the the usual Corgi such that his feet turn sideways or his toes tend to splay?
Is he overweight?
Thanks for your patience with all my questions, I'll write a complete response once I've read your answers.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your questions.

It is both feet, and he is creating a sore spot where he is licking. One foot is worse than the other.

There was no improvement when he was taking the medication that the vet prescribed. That is why I consulted you.

He has only started licking about a month ago. He hasn't done it before at any other time of the year.

His front legs aren't twisted and his feet doesn't turn sideways, and his toes do not sply.

He is a little overweight, but not a lot.

Since I consulted you we have MORE PROBLEMS. He doesn't seem well in himself. He seems unhappy, and keeps finding quiet places to lie down. Though he is still eating, and chasing birds in the garden!!

His coat is a little dull - not as shiny as usual.

One of his eyes has now started to "run", and I found a tiny bit of yellow pus in the corner.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the further information.
Because he is licking both feet, and his front leg conformation sounds very good (especially for a Corgi), I doubt that this is related to a joint or orthopedic problems. I suspect his licking, leading to sore spots, is painful for him and thus his limp and his less social behavior and hiding.
Feet licking is often related to an allergy, either inhaled (atopy) or a food allergy. Because he didn't respond at all to the medications given (anti-inflammatories and antibiotics) atopy seems less likely, as steroids should quiet the inflammation and allergic reaction found with atopy. Food allergies though often don't respond to steroid use, so that as a primary condition would make sense. He may have a secondary yeast infection between his toes which antibiotics would worsen.
I would sample skin debris between his toes to look at under the microscope to look for a yeast infection, and scrape the areas to look for possible skin mites. Once his skin is tested for yeast then you can use a shampoo like chlorhexidene or malaseb shampoo to spot clean between his toes daily can help tremendously by reducing the numbers of yeast on his skin. Or you can purchase wipes (for example a product called malaket wipes, see this link: http://www.entirelypets.com/malaketwipes.html ) to clean the areas between his toes.
I would also recommend a hypoallergenic diet trial. I often recommend a switch to a hypoallergenic diet such as Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. Most clients do report some improvement in to 8 weeks. Do be patient with the diet trial as food allergens take a while, sometimes several weeks, to get out of their system.
His dull coat and lethargy are an additional concern and because he is also slightly overweight I think it is well worth checking a full thyroid blood panel on him. Hypothyroid dogs easily gain weight, have poor skin and coat health, easily get secondary skin infections, and are often less energetic.
His eye "running" can be a symptoms of him simply not feeling well or being irritated from allergies and pollen. You can apply artificial tears to his eye several times a day until you see his veterinarian.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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