Legs, Hips and Paws

If your vet doesn't see an obvious reason for the swelling, such as an infection on the paw, he will need to do a variety of tests. Skin swabs and scrapings of skin may be used to check for mites or infection-causing bacteria, says Dr. Litwin. In addition, your vet may take x-rays to check for broken bones.

If your cat has an abscessed paw, your vet will lance the wound to help it drain, then clean it thoroughly to remove pus and other debris. He will also give antibiotics to help clear up the infection, says Dr. Litwin.

While a broken toe will often heal on its own, broken bones in the foot usually require surgery, during which pins are inserted to hold the bones together.

Since demodex mites can be a challenge to treat at home, your vet will probably recommend bringing your pet into the office so that he can give her a medicated bath or dip. In addition, he may recommend oral medications that will fight the mites from the inside out.

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Copyright 1999 Rodale Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

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