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Some consider feline claws as a dangerous weapon while others admire their beauty and functionality. Cat claws help pets kill prey, mark territory and get the attention of those they love. Healthy claws look beautiful. However, when there is a problem with cat claws, felines can suffer from discomfort to the extent that they feel sick, become lethargic, have the wrong posture and even go through painful conditions like arthritis.
There are several problems your cat might experience with its claws, one of the most commonly reported being the growth of claws out of its pad. In this guide, we talk about all pet owners should know about cat paw pad growth and the implications and considerations to help them understand what they can expect.
Cat Paw Pad Growth – A Complete Guide
Cats are naturally capable of shedding their claws once every few months. Their claws grow continuously with the outer layer coming off every few weeks to be replaced with a new, sharp claw. However, sometimes, the claw fails to come off, and it starts growing inside the paw. As it grows further, it curves into the skin, and you may find the claw stuck in the pad.
If a cat appears to be in pain, it is likely to have a cat claw growing out of the pat on its feet. Some of the most common signs to identify this problem include limping, bleeding, claw pain, swelling around the nails, abnormal-looking claws and excessive licking. Such a claw can be painful for the pet and should be treated as soon as it is noticed.
Cat Claw Growing Out of Pad? Here’s What It Means
If you see a cat claw growing out of the cat paw pad, it can be a cutaneous horn. This condition occurs from the overgrowth of keratin and can affect one or multiple paw pads. They look similar to original claws and are generally painless, causing no discomfort as long as they are on the part of the paw pad bearing weight, which can cause lameness.
If these cutaneous horns exist on the planar surfaces of the pads, they can cause some discomfort in walking and even the annoying clicking sound as the cat walks. Such growth is often ignored if not responsible for lameness or pain. The claws can be trimmed like regular nails, but they tend to recur. Any growth causing discomfort should be removed and the base should also be excised, if possible, without damaging the pad, to prevent regrowth.
Hard Growth On Cat Paw Pad
While cutaneous horns are the most common condition affecting paw pads in cats, some pet owners report hard growth on the pad, which signals other problems. Some lesions are associated with papillomavirus infection, FeLV, actinic keratosis and fungus. FeLV can be easily diagnosed with a test, and they generally grow in the centre of the pads.
One of the most common causes of hard growth can be the hardening of the fluid leaking from a cyst the cat has developed on the pad. Eventually, the fluid and dead skin can build up to develop a hard shape that you see.
A hard growth on the paw pad can be a sign of a serious condition like squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer affecting cats. Your vet can advise biopsy of the lesion and growth on the pad to diagnose and rule out cancer. This type of cancer is malignant and can return after removal. However, it is often slow-growing and diagnosed before it spreads.
Some of the most common symptoms of this cancer include limping, bleeding sores, nodule on the toe and tumors on other parts of the body. Treatment of this condition depends on how many tumors the cat has developed. If there is a single tumor on the paw pad, it is removed surgically, and the cat can recover with limited movement. A veterinary oncologist can best determine the treatment options in such a case.
Callus On Cat Paw Treatment
Calluses can develop on a cat’s paw pads from friction and rubbing or from other conditions. These calluses develop over time to the extent that you can see a hard growth on the pad. Most of the time, these growths are harmless and can be ignored. However, if these formations are causing pain or discomfort to your pet, there are some ways to get them removed.
The nail-like claws have no blood vessels, so you can trim the callus easily using a clipper. The keratin horns can be trimmed now and then as extra nails. Cutaneous horns on cat paws generally don’t require special treatment or concern. In some cases, if the callus causes discomfort, the vet may advise surgery. The lesion’s base is often excised during the procedure to prevent any reoccurrence.
Do Horned Paws Hurt Cats?
Horned paws are harmless for most cats. If these formations are away from the areas on the paws that bear weight, the cat is less likely to experience discomfort while jumping, landing or walking. However, the cat may have mobility issues when the horns have grown on the planar surfaces. In such cases, it may feel pain or discomfort while trying to move.
Horned paws are like nails; they grow longer, curving back and hurting the paws. This means these growths can turn painful at some point or the other. It is, therefore, necessary to address the problem on time. Depending on the severity of the condition and other factors, the vet can advise the best treatment option for horned paws to save the cat from any pain or discomfort.