Paronychia refers to inflammation of the soft tissue around the claw. It can be caused by a variety of diseases, and these diseases can lead to other claw lesions.
Diseases linked to the development of paronychia include:
- subungual squamous cell carcinoma
- eccrine carcinoma
- subungual keratoacanthoma
- inverted squamous papilloma
Devon Rex, Cornish Rex and Selkirk Rex cats are predisposed to developing Malassezia paronychia.
It is also commonly present in dogs.
Animals will lick at their feet and claws. There might be lameness and pain, with swelling and erythema of the claw or ungual fold. There may be deformity of sloughing of the claw, or it may have an abnormal colour.
A complete physical and dermatological examination is indicated. Tests might include: skin scrapings, fungal culture, Wood's lamp examination and cytology.
Cytology of the exudate may reveal neutrophilic inflammation with acanthocytes, which can be present in large numbers in cases of Pemphigus Foliaceus, or in smaller numbers in cases of deep pyoderma due to different types of infection.
Bacterial culture and sensitivity may be indicated and a skin biopsy may be necessary for definitive diagnosis.
Radiographs can be performed to evaluate the phalanges for osteomyelitis or any neoplastic change.
The nail shell can be surgically removed.
Antimicrobial soaks or shampoos can be used locally.
Most importantly, the underlying condition should be identified and treated specifically.
|Paronychia Learning Resources|
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|Small Animal Dermatology Q&A 09|
Merck and Co (2008) Merck Veterinary Manual Merial
Helton Rhodes, K. (2011) Blackwell's Five minute veterinary consult: small animal dermatology Wiley-Blackwell
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