Mystery rash between paw pads? Vets have conflicting opinions.
Hi folks! Long story ahead :/
Our GSD puppy is now 11 months old and is a wonderful, wonderful guy, EXCEPT that he has this recurring problem going on with his front feet. He limps fairly severely and there is always a bright red rash on the underside of his FRONT paws (never back).
We've taken him to two vets- the first (our regular vet, when this first happened to him at about 5 or 6 months old) checked for bacterial and yeast infections. She verified that it wasn't a yeast infection, and she gave him antibiotics. He gradually got better after about two weeks of limping.
Then it happened AGAIN this past December- vet gave us Douxo chlorhexidine 3% pads, which was all fine and good, but then in Jan/Feb, I believe, he had another bout of it, and using the pads seemed to make it worse/more irritated. My vet called in a prescription for antibiotics and recommended Epsom salt soaks.
Then it happened again at the end of March, when we were in the process of moving, so we took him to a highly recommended vet a few minutes down the road from our new house. She was 100% convinced that he had Panosteitis because he showed joint pain- she wanted to do xrays... but I wasn't convinced, because he had been limping around for a week and a half, and I could see how that would lead to stiffness in his joints. I asked to clear up his feet before we pursued another lead. She gave him Genesis spray and recommended Preva wipes, then added Rimadyl for his comfort. Any joint pain seemed to decrease as the rash went away, and he stopped limping entirely.
That was about a month and a half ago. Last night he started limping a bit, then this morning it is a little more pronounced and I can tell that we're going down that road again.
So, we will likely go back to the vet, but I wanted to get some opinions before we do. These are the facts:
-The rash is only on his front feet
-It is bright red and patchy looking, on the underside of his paws, in that soft, hair-covered area in the very center
-We tried switching his foods to different proteins, including all salmon diet
-Tried chlorhexidine 3% pads, which didn't seem to impact the rash later into the cycle, but seemed to make him more ouchy at the beginning of the cycle
-Tried antibiotics, didn't seem to necessarily speed up the healing period vs no antibiotics
-It isn't a yeast infection
-The combo of Genesis triamcinolone acetonide spray + Preva medicated wipes has been the most successful in getting the rash to go away, having Rimadyl was awesome because it took away some of his discomfort
-One vet thinks he has Pano or some other kind of bone disorder, but his unwillingness for his joints to be flexed and extended goes away as the rash goes away (though to be fair, he still isn't crazy about having it done). She wants to do xrays, which will cost about $400. His limping is NOT accompanied by elevated temperature. We kept daily records of this to be sure.
-The first vet, our normal vet, saw no signs of Pano and had no issues with his range of extension or flexion the first few times this happened (her immediate thought was Pano because of the limping).
-He does not lick at these places on his feet- he did the first time that it happened, but he has not so much as offered to lick his feet the past several times that it has happened. Both vets don't seem to believe me, but I'm with him almost 24/7!
-We've moved, so the rash probably isn't caused by an environmental issue as far as what the grass is being treated with or something like that.
-We only use an off-brand swiffer pad to clean our floors, and my husband said this morning that he thought that it might be irritating him.
So as of this morning, we're staring him back on twice daily use of the Genesis spray and Preva wipes, in an attempt to head off a full flare-up, but he's already limping so it may be too late.
If he gets to a full-blown attack, he'll go back to the vet next week, and with all the limping and touchiness, we're about to give in to the xrays, but we're hesitant to do this given that he only limps when this rash is present and he doesn't have an increased temp. We've spent so many hundreds (approaching over a thousand) of dollars on what seems to be a simple rash, and I'm starting to be very frustrated by it.
SO, has anybody had a similar experience? Does it sound like there could be an underlying Pano or other bone issue, or does it really sound like all this is because of the rash?
Any input is appreciated!