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Published: Feb 17, 2012

When a dog consistently licks, bites or gnaws on its paws, this could be a sign of a medical problem and you should bring your pet to a veterinarian as soon as possible to find out how the issue can be treated. This affliction, known as pododermatitis, could be caused by external environmental factors, hormonal disorders, infections, allergies or cancer, according to VCA Animal Hospitals.

Many of the clinical signs that accompany the localized inflammation tend to vary depending on the underlying factors. Swelling, redness, lesions and ulcers are all common signs. VCA reports that a veterinarian may need to take blood and urine samples and perform a series of tests and biopsies to determine what is causing pododermatitis in your canine.

Localized demodectic pododermatitis, which is one of the most resistant forms of mange, could be what is plaguing your dog. The ASPCA reports that this form of mange occurs around the paws and may result in accompanying bacterial infections. Since this skin disease is caused by tiny mites, the vet might need to conduct a deep biopsy to properly diagnose and treat this particular form of pododermatitis.

After the underlying cause has been discovered, the vet can administer the appropriate treatment. This may involve dog shots of antibiotics or other medications. According to VCA, most canines recover successfully, but some pet owners may need to make a few minor changes in their dog's life to ward off future bouts of the disease.