Friday, January 21, 2011

Take Pause, For The Paws

In 2010, scientist did a study on the structure of the canine paw. The information gained will help veterinarians tremendously in diagnosis, and effectiveness in treating canine paw injuries.

Recently there were two papers published in the American Journal of Veterinary Research,  that map out the major anatomical regions of the canine paw.  Researchers were able to identify some important implications for how the structures may affect the spread of injury and disease.

This study is particularly important to the working dog breeds, including our Gordon Setters.  Although all dogs are at risk of injury to their paws, it's the working dogs that really "use" their feet on the job. Whether it be competition, hunting, trialing, searching or leading, these dogs put their paws through a lot of abuse. When our dogs are running through the woods they really give their paws a pounding. I've always worried about them "poking their eye out"! Turns out I should have been more worried about their feet!

Studies show that nearly half of all working dog injuries, are to the feet and lower part of the body. These beautiful creatures do so much for us, the least we can do is take care of the wounds they receive in their service to us.

I'd like to give Big Kudos to The American Kennel Club (AKC) for the grant they provided for this study.

If you'd like to read more about the research and other findings in this study, please click on this link:

AKC Canine Health Foundation

Thanks to Sport for the use of his Paws for demonstration purposes! 


  1. A big paws up to Sport! Stay healthy on those beauties!

  2. Hi Karen, do diggers (ie: Jill) get paw problems as well? So far she has been ok, but should I have concern with her digging after moles in this rocky TN soil?

  3. Thanks Theresa.....Sport appreciates your comment!

    Sharon, Your dog does look like a digger type breed of dog, to me. Which probably means she and Jack have "good" feet for digging. But, if they are ferocious diggers, you might keep an eye on the pads to make sure they aren't dry or cracked. That would be painful for them. Check their feet occasionally for irregularities like crocked nails or toes. Also, I would recommend keeping the nails cut at a good length. If toe nails get too long, they can cause some serious problems. Even serious enough to lose a toe. Be careful with that. And last, if you do get a problem, get them to the vet, don't wait. I hope this answers your concern. Thanks for stopping by Sharon!

  4. I worry about Shep getting hurt so badly. He runs through the woods and everywhere. I dont’ know what we would do without him. He is literally like an employee in the fact that we depend on him so much for protection of our animals and us for that matter. He allows us to sleep at night. I love him so much. Thanks for these links!