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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 10861
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I think my ten year old labrador, Zak, got bitten on the pad

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I think my ten year old labrador, Zak, got bitten on the pad of his paw 48 hours ago by a wasp. He is limping badly and is very sorry for himself. He is eating and drinking but lying around and not wanting to move. I have two other dogs and if they go for a walk he gets very excited but of course can't go. He was diagnosed as having bad arthritis two years ago by the then vet and I was told he shouldn't be exercised - at all - but I let him wander around the garden (large) and he seems quite content but I'm worried that perhaps I'm missing something in the last two days. There was a wasps nest which my gardner killed with supposedly dog friendly poison...

Hello Kim, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.

I'm sorry for this concern for Zak.
I do have a few additional questions to ask about him first if you don't mind:

1. Is the paw swollen?
2. Has he been licking at it?
3. Can you take his temperature?
4. Is he currently taking any medications or supplements? If so, can you tell me what they are?

There may be a slight delay after I receive your answers since I have to type up a response to you. Thanks for your patience. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Dr Deb...


His paw is slightly swollen but I can't see the sting or a puncture mark. He's been licking all of his paws which makes me wonder whether it's the poison? I don't have a thermometer but he doesn't appear feverish. The inside of his ears are cool and a normal pink. He's on no medication and is generally a very happy trusting dog. But now he's SO miserable and looking at me with those sad labrador eyes! He's also started moaning a little in the last hour or so.

Thanks so much for the additional information.
He certainly sounds very sad indeed!!!

I wouldn't expect him to be licking all of this feet/paws if he was stung or bit; these are usually very localized reactions in most cases although I can understand why you might think this was the problem.

There actually could be several possible explanations for a swollen paw:

1. An insect sting or spider bite as you suspect although usually the swelling is starting to resolve by 48 hours.
But you can safely give him over the counter Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) at a dose of 1 mg/lb twice a day. Sedation can be a common side effect with this drug.

2. Infection although usually there's evidence of a wound of some sort. Sometimes, but not always, these dogs will be running a mild fever. Normal is between 100 and 102.5 if you manage to get your hands on a thermometer to take his temperature.

3. Inflammation which is harder to diagnose but since he's not taking any medication, Aspirin can be given at a dose of 10 mg/lb twice a day, with food to avoid stomach upset. This drug also has anti-pain properties which may be helpful in this situation.,
It would be safe to give both Diphenhydramine and Aspirin concurrently.

4. He could have fractured a toe (depending on where the swelling is located). Aspirin will be helpful for pain relief.
Sometimes with a good physical we'll suspect this problem but usually an x-ray is needed to diagnose it. Whether or not to splint the foot depends on the individual vet.

In addition to the above medication suggestions, you could soak the foot in warm Epsom Salts twice a day which may be helpful.

If the foot wasn't swollen, then I might add other possible explanations to the list such as a tick-borne disease or soft tissue injury....but these wouldn't be expected to cause a swollen foot.

I hope this helps and that he'll feeling better soon. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you - I've only got Anadin Extra in the house (Aspirin, paracetamol and caffeine) - that's probably not a great idea! Maybe it is a tick - we've only just moved to the countryside and we were ripping out a lot of old foliage, grass and stuff on Thursday - we're also right next to a river and a wheat field... perhaps I should take him to an emergency vet tomorrow if he's still the same... do you think that' a good idea?


You're absolutely correct: Anadin Extra (with the Caffeine) would NOT be recommended...although Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) alone can be given to dogs. The dose of this drug would ber 5 mg/lb twice a day, again with food to avoid gastric upset.

Tick diseases usually take several weeks to months before signs might develop although having said that Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever might show up within a shorter period of time.

I do think it would be a good idea to have him seen tomorrow if you don't see much improvement by then. I'd worry that he might have an infection which will require antibiotics. Sometimes, but not often, infection can enter the bloodstream and the situation can become much worse so I probably wouldn't want to wait too long to have him seen.

Dr. Deb and other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Thanks so much for the rating; it's greatly appreciated.

I hope you'll keep me posted about Zak. Even though you've rated, we can still continue to communicate at no additional charge to you. I can also send you a follow up email in a few days to which you can respond when you have the time to do so. Regards, Deb

Kindly ignore the request for additional information.

I’m just following up on our conversation about Zak. How is he doing? Deb