Case Profile: Paw Foreign Body
Frankie, an older male german shepherd arrived at our hospital with a front limb lameness that had only been going on for a couple of days. The owner noticed some blood spotting near his paw that morning. It was mentioned that two week prior to his visit Frankie had accidentally jumped on a glass table and shattered it. During his examination by Dr. Justin Milizio a small open wound was observed on his paw. Frankie had his paw bandaged and was placed on an antibiotic and a pain medication. His issue resolved but then 3 weeks later Frankie returned with the same wound! At this point x-rays were performed, revealing what appeared to be a few pieces of glass within his paw. Surgical exploration was performed by Dr. Chris Glawe to remove the pieces of glass. Frankie did well over the next few weeks and healed completely, with no recurrence of his wound.
Paw foreign bodies are a common occurrence in veterinary medicine. Objects such as glass fragments, splinters, metal wire and grass awns can become stuck under an animal’s paw or skin. These objects will result in prolonged infection as bacteria can use the object as housing to avoid the animals immune system. Objects can also migrate through the body significant distances, resulting in draining tracts far away from the original puncture wound. If you animal has a wound that does not respond to antibiotic therapy, surgical exploration is often the next step in treatment. Always mention to your veterinarian if you animal may have stepped on an object that could have entered the paw.