Canine nailbed infections

Updated November 21, 2016

An infected nail bed can cause a great deal of pain for our canine companions. You may notice your dog licking at his foot, he may limp or he may not use his foot at all. There are numerous causes for canine nail bed infections. Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the infection.


A common cause of inflammation in the foot, commonly called pododermatitis, is allergies. The dog will lick his feet and nail beds until they become red and inflamed. Treatment involves antibiotics to treat the infection and corticosteroids for the allergy. Many times this condition will recur unless the cause of the allergy is determined.

Foreign Object

Foreign objects often become lodged in a dog's nail bed. The body reacts to the foreign object, and in an attempt to remove the object from the body infection occurs. Treatment includes antibiotics and removal of the object.

Demodectic Pododermatitis

Demodectic Pododermatitis is a localised infection of the demodex mange mite. Bacterial infections usually are present along with the mites. This is the most resistant form of demodicosis. Treatment includes antibiotics and daily doses of Ivermectin. Mitaban dips may also be prescribed.

Pemphigus foliaceus

Pemphigus foliaceus is a severe autoimmune disease characterised by small pustules and blisters. The nail bed and toes are commonly affected by this disease. Immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone in addition to antibiotics are the treatment of choice.


Cryptococcosis is a fungus caused by the Cryptococcus neoformans organism. Cryptococcus neoformans is found in pigeon droppings, and once inhaled by your dog this organism lodges itself deep inside lung tissue. Once inside the lung the organism spreads to other parts of the body including the nail bed. Treatment involves 6 to 10 months of oral itraconazole or fluconazole.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author