Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Diagnosis: dainty feet

No soon as I'd settled myself back at home in Aberdeen, than I was bundled into the car first thing Tuesday morning and told we were going on some sort of a 'special' visit to Glasgow.

I should have realised it was not going to be a good sort of 'special' when Gail refused to give me any breakfast.

After hours of driving, and some not very polite language from behind the steering wheel as we negotiated the complex tangle of city centre motorways, Gail pulled up on this rather unpromising looking street.

We then went for a short walk around the neighbourhood and for a moment I got quite excited when I spotted the famous Ibrox stadium, thinking perhaps we were headed for an 'Old Firm' football game, and wishing I knew the lyrics to 'The Sash'.

But then we turned around and I was directed up the steps of a fine sandstone terraced building.

And the reason for the 'special' trip became clear.

I confess, having seen the other patients in the waiting room, to being somewhat relieved when I was quickly ushered in to the office of dermatology specialist Peter Forsythe.

Gosh Mr Forsythe asked a lot of questions about my paws. He tried to examine the pads, although I was not too keen on that idea. He observed that I have very compact, dainty feet, well formed but with deeper clefts between the pads than is common, and this combined with the abundant wiry fur between the pads means that mud and dirt gets impacted (despite daily paw washes) and this is likely the root cause of my interdigital cysts.

He said it wasn't worthwhile testing for allergies as I didn't have any other symptoms of 'atopic dermatitis'.

He said a lot more stuff too, which I can't quite remember.

Then Gail abandoned me (again!) and things went a bit blurry for a couple of hours. On waking up, my paws felt oddly clean and bare, the fur between the pads having been trimmed away.

And so ended my 'special' day in Glasgow.

PS from Gail: Bertie's frequently recurring problem with inter-digital cysts prompted the regular vet in Aberdeen to refer Bertie to a dermatology specialist. I had expected the specialist to test Bertie for allergies, but he explained carefully why he thought that the problem lay elsewhere, saying that an allergic condition would affect more that just Bertie's feet, and in fact the rest of his skin is in great condition. So the current theory is that dirt combined with hair gets impacted in the deeper than normal clefts between Bertie's paw pads and 'foreign bodies' enter his feet causing an inflammation reaction which manifests itself as swellings (the so-called interdigital cysts) on the upper side of his paw. Until now, I had been concentrating on washing the upper side of Bertie's paws but the new instruction is to try to clean the undersides thoroughly too, still using the antimicrobial solution 'Hibiscrub' (containing chlorhexidine) as before. I am not confident that Bertie will cooperate with a routine of rigorous washing between his pads. We shall see… The situation will be reviewed again in a couple of months. I'm pleased to report that, at least for the moment, Bertie is walking fine and his paws are not swollen.


  1. I hope so much that this is the way to get healthy paws you can use for hiking, playing and all other stuff we doggies love....

  2. Let us hope that the specialist has found the answer and you can soon hike and do all your favourite things. By the way how did the spa time go? Did you make lots of new friends?

    1. Gail says: when I picked Bertie up from the 'Pet Haven' on Monday evening, the owner described his behaviour as "pretty chilled".

  3. Hari OM
    OMD Bertie... that was a HOOOOJJJJJ trip to make just for a **v.e.t.** visit. Still, I think the pawsitiffs must be taken; no medicines to be ingested, no bed-rest instructed... and you came close to walking on hallowed ground. The daily foot-soak might even become a welcome routine. Never say never i say... hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  4. Bertie, if it means that you don't have any more poorly paws, then you must be a very good boy, do as the nice vet recommended, and go with the flow.

    Inca xx

  5. Bertie OMCs than goodness you seemed to have found the root of the problem. OMCs with all the soaking and washing of your feets who woulda thought they were not totally clean. Ohh does it tickle when Gail washes in between your toesies? Sounds like you got your 'slippers' trimmed just like a certain Princess we all know. Be patient with Gail while she works on your paws good buddy you have a ton more miles to travel on them.

    Mom and I wanted to also say how very sad we were to read about the bombing in Manchester your mom's native land and are so sorry everyone is on such high alert. Hugs and purrs to all Madi your bfff and mom

  6. PS my very manly man friend did you notice I did not use 'dainty' in my comment above?
    Hugs Madi your bfff

  7. I hope this is the solution to your problem, Bertie! I agree, that Bull Terrier in the waiting room looks kinda scary but my mom thinks Bull Terriers are "beautiful" and "huggable" human is weird.

    1. There was certainly plenty of bull terrier to hug!

  8. Bertie - Scary stuff. That bull terrier looks like a seal we once saw on the beach at Lunan Bay.

  9. We hope that this works for you, Bertie!

  10. Fingers crossed that this will be the solution for which we've all been hoping, Bertie.

  11. We hope that is the cause, and a regular pedicure will end the problem!

  12. Our pawrent clip the hair between our pads. Stanley tolerates it and I, Murphy, am totally against such an invasion but mom usually wins that battle. They make little clippers to get the job done. We hope this can solve your troubles!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  13. Mom pads get nutty with dirt. Iodine soaks and washing helps my fat feets
    Edward (& Lily)

  14. Dirty little Bertie's feet has a new meaning now. Maybe you had better stop Great green gobs of greasy, grimy, gopher guts stuck between your toes having such dainty feet.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  15. Hi Bertie, I'm not sure what to think of your comment that you were relieved to be ushered into the office. The Goldie in the waiting room looked very relaxed.
    If I was the Golden Retriever in your photo there would of been lots of tail wagging, play bows and happiness to finally meet you!

    I sense your new diagnosis might mean extra treats and food! You see, I have very ticklish paws and the best way for me to keep them still for any sort of treatment is if I'm so busy licking food (yoghurt, peanut butter, smeared cheese, etc) off a vertical surface (or human hand) so I don't care what is being done to my paws. Perhaps Gail needs to make you a licking post (or use a clean area of her shower wall)!


  16. Sounds like you were in good hands, Bertie, and at least for the most part you got to "relax" through the worst of it.

  17. Glad to hear that you are walking better again Bertie. Hope you can let Gail keep those dainty paws clean and tidy - nose licks and love from Moth xx