Please understand no one here at Google Answers can provide you with
a differential diagnosis. The best we can do is provide you with a
list of possibilities. Only a licensed veterinarian will be able to
accurately diagnose your clicking kitty.
I have posted a list of disorders that resemble your description (Some
seem more likely than others). Also, consider that not all disorders
are textbook perfect in their manifestation.
My first thought was that this cat had an embedded foreign object
(thorn, small pebble, piece of kitty litter) which had become
overgrown with keratinized tissue, making it hard enough to click.
This may still be the problem, but the fact that another pad is
developing the same symptoms may rule a foreign object out.
Here are common cat paw disorders:
?There are a number of immune system problems, called autoimmune
disorders, that affect the legs, hips, and paws. Pets with autoimmune
disorders such as pemphigus and lupus may develop thick, split, or
sore paw pads.?
?When the pemphigus antibody attacks its target, it triggers a
reaction the culmulates in the destruction of cell-to-cell
connections. The loss of intercellular cohesion leads to the formation
of blisters within the affected skin layer.?
"Pemphigus complex is the usual name applied to a group of immune mediated
(autoimmune) diseases affecting the skin. There are four forms of
pemphigus which have been recognized in dogs and cats, pemphigus foliaceus,
pemphigus erythematosus, pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus vegetans. These
are related disorders, with two main groups. Pemphigus foliaceus and
pemphigus erythematosus being variants of one group and pemphigus vulgaris
and vegetans being variants of the other group.
Pemphigus foliaceus is the most common form of pemphigus in dogs and cats.
It is characterized by bumps on the skin (macules) that become pustules and
then dry scabs on the skin. It is most commonly found on the face and feet,
but lesions can occur on other areas of the body."
"It is necessary in most cases to have a skin biopsy done, then to have it
examined by a pathologist who is experienced at looking at skin lesions
(dermatopathologist) to confirm the diagnosis of pemphigus complex. This
disease can look like systemic lupus erythematosus, but an ANA
(anti-nuclear antibody) test is usually negative when pemphigus foliaceus,
vulgaris or vegetans is present and positive when pemphigus erythematosus
is present. Negative ANA tests also occur with discoid lupus, another
disease that is sometimes confused with pemphigus based on the appearance
of the problem."
?There are a number of possible causes of nail bed infection
(paronychia). When one or two nails on the same foot are involved a
bacterial infection is very likely. When more than one or two nails
are involved or when the problem occurs on more than one foot it is
more likely that there is an underlying problem leading to the visible
nail disease. The most common underlying cause in cats is probably
feline leukemia virus infection. Other possible problems include
immune mediated diseases such as phemphigus, hyperthyroidism,
lymphosarcoma, vasculitis and fungal infections.
Testing for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus would be
a good idea. A fungal culture might be helpful. Sometimes bacteria or
yeast can be seen on an impression smear from an affected toe and
bacterial cultures can sometimes be helpful, too. Biopsy of an
affected area is a good idea. In your cat's case it might be
worthwhile to consider biopsy of one of the other affected areas since
diseases like phemphigus frequently affect the face, ear tips or other
areas in addition to the feet.?
Granulomas and pododermatitis
?While the cause of eosinophilic granulomas and plasma cell
pododermatitis in cats are both thought to be autoimmune type
diseases, as far as I am aware they are distinct problems that are
unrelated to each other. Among other things, the eosinophilic
granulomas are frequently very responsive to steroids. In contrast,
the foot pad lesions are much less consistent in their response to
steroids and their optimal treatment is unclear.
Steroids are extremely useful drugs that as a general rule are fairly
safe, but they may have side effects (especially with high and
prolonged doses) and should not be taken lightly. Potential problems
can include a wide variety of things, including changes is appetite
and water intake (and urination), weight gain, behavior, hair coat,
muscle and liver problems.?
See a picture of a cat paw granuloma
?There was also a large and ulcerated or nodular areas of a pad can
occur as well as secondary bacterial infection . In a minority of
cases, cats also have plasma cell stomatitis with bilateral,
ulcerative lesions in the corners of the oral cavity. An
immune-mediated glomerulonephritis or renal amyloidosis was described
in one case.?
?All four metacarpal and metatarsal pads were soft and swollen with
violet discoloration. There was also a large and ulcerated or nodular
areas of a pad can occur as well as secondary bacterial infection. In
a minority of cases, cats also have plasma cell stomatitis with
bilateral, proliferative, ulcerative lesions in the corners of the
oral cavity. An immune-mediated glomerulonephritis or renal
amyloidosis was described in one case.?
?Chemical or physical traumas should also affect digital pads and
surrounding skin. Infectious or sterile pyogranulomas and neoplasia
are possible but should not affect all paws simultaneously.
Eosinophilic granuloma complex, hepatic, renal or endocrine disorders
and FeLV/FIV status should be investigated.?
?Feline plasmacytic pododermatitis is a poorly understood disorder of
cats that principally affects the carpal and metacarpal pads. Cat
owners may present their pet for this condition or clinicians in
laboratory animal colonies may discover it as an incidental finding
during examination. The affected pads feel soft and mushy, like
marshmallows. Sometimes the surfaces of the affected paws appear
wrinkled, with a flaky appearance; in other cases the surface becomes
ulcerated (Fig. 1). In some cats, the condition affects just one pad,
whereas in other cases all pads are involved. Cases most likely to be
presented for veterinary examination are those cats whose pads develop
ulcers that bleed intermittently.
Researchers have not yet identified the underlying cause of feline
plasmacytic pododermatitis. In some cases, seasonal changes suggest an
allergic basis6. In one study, 50% of cases were found in FIV-positive
cats6. The earliest gross change seen is usually the development of a
white, scaly, crosshatch pattern and swelling of the pads8, 9, 10.
Occasionally, the pads may go on to erode or ulcerate with significant
hemorrhage. These changes vary from being asymptomatic to involving
significant pain and lameness.?
?Deep bacterial infections in the paws may be an extension of
intertriginous pyoderma of the interdigital spaces. Malassezia
dermatitis may be involved, either alone, or as a mixed infection.
Other inciting factors include trauma, foreign bodies, atopy, contact
allergy/irritant dermatitis, neoplasia and migrating nematodes. Deep
draining fistulas and painful pododermatitis may require sedation or
even general anaesthesia to allow for deep scrapings to rule out
demodicosis. Bacterial paronychia is common in cats as a nail bed
infection. Chronic nail bed infections may be secondary to underlying
immune modulated disease and the immunosuppressive viruses should be
screened for. Furunculosis of the paws indicates deep pyoderma
with/without demodicosis. However, dermatophytoses, particularly those
caused by Trichophyton species, should always be considered -
especially in Jack Russell terriers, hunting dogs, digging and rooting
dogs and where one paw only is involved.?
ONYCHOMADESIS (NAIL LOOSENING/SLOUGHING SYNDROMES)
?When this involves multiple nails, a thorough clinical and laboratory
work-up should be performed, including: CBC, chemistry profile;
urinalysis; cytology, fungal and bacterial culture of affected nails;
ANA, complete thyroid profile, radiographs, and a third phalanx
biopsy. In the dog, pemphigus vulgarus, pemphigus foliaceus, bullous
phemphigoid, systemic lupus erythematosus, lupus-like syndrome, cold
agglutinin disease, drug eruption, and vasculitis have all been
reported to cause symmetric onychomadesis and onychodystrophy
(abnormal nail formation).
Metabolic epidermal necrosis (hepatocutaneous syndrome) may also cause
nail loss, but other skin changes are usually present and affected
patients usually have concurrent liver disease. One of the most common
causes of generalized onychomadesis in the dog has been referred to as
an idiopathic lupus-like or "lupoid" syndrome. While it has been
recognized in many breeds, Rottweilers and German shepherd dogs are
predisposed. The age of onset is variable, but tends to occur in young
adult dogs (1-6 years of age). The onset may be acute and wide-spread
or chronic, in which case only one or two nails are affected at a
time. Paronychia (inflammation of nail fold) is usually not present,
although affected nails may be painful and result in lameness. Left
untreated, the tendency is to have partial regrowth of abnormal,
friable nails that continue to be sloughed off. There is no apparent
?This retrospective study describes the clinicopathological findings
in five cats with soft tissue mineralisation of interdigital spaces
and footpads. Paw disease was the reason for veterinary consultation
in three out of five cats. All cats had laboratory findings suggestive
of renal failure and high solubility product [calciumxphosphorus]. In
all cases, cytological examination of paw lesions was suggestive of
calcinosis. The results of our study agree with two previous case
reports of paw calcification in the cat, suggesting a metastatic
pathogenesis and a correlation between paw mineralisation and renal
Calicivirus affects the upper respiratory system, the eyes, the
musculoskeletal system, and the gastrointestinal tract. Common
symptoms include the following:
·Acute, painful lameness due to tenderness in the joints (arthritis)
or muscles (myalgia)
·Mild loss of appetite
·Pneumonia, often accompanied by labored, difficult breathing
·Ulcerations (pus-filled sores) on the tongue, palate, lips, or tip of the nose
·Ulcers around the claws, on the bottom of the feet and between the toes
·Upper respiratory infection with eye and nose discharge, (usually
with little sneezing)
Symptoms include fever, mild loss of appetite, sneezing, eye and nose
discharge, difficulty breathing, and sores in the mouth, nose, or on
the feet. There may also be lameness due to pain in the joints or
Unless the cat develops complications recovery is often swift and the
prognosis is usually excellent. Therefore, treatment is usually
centered around treating the symptoms and good nursing care. A
recovered cat can be a carrier of the disease for years.
There is a vaccine, so consult with your veterinarian about if and how
often your cat should be immunized. Remember, the vaccine is not a
cure or a treatment for the disease, but is instead used as a
A form of lung cancer that spreads to cat paws.
?Lung-digit syndrome' is a recognised condition of cats in which a
primary pulmonary neoplasm metastases to the digits, often resulting
in osteolysis of the phalanges.?
Diagram of a feline paw
There you go. Taking this cat in for an exam by a vet is your best bet.
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Feline pad lesions
feline paw growths
Calicivirus + cat paw
cat paw + lesions