Black gunk on skin between paw pads. Vet thinks it's nothing.

laura davis

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
8
Reaction score
1
On my cat the gunk is actually on his claws near the quick. The vet said it was feces and such from the litter box, even though I clean the boxes twice a day. He wasn't cleaning his feet. The gave me more Clavamox and some Pharmaseb wipes. Unfortunately, Sammy does not allow me to touch his feet for any length of time so I could not use the wipes. I believe Sammys condition stems from his hyperthyroidism. It effects the immune system which effects the whole balance of the body. It takes a while for the body to return to normal after starting medication. It made his claws get really hard and he can't bite them off as he usually does. I noticed that one was sticking into his toe pad. After struggling with him over the course of days, I managed to clip it. He has been doing much better and cleaning his claws again so it's just about cleared up. From the pictures of your cat, that really looks like a fungus to me. A cat with a healthy immune system shouldn't have that. Has your vet done a CBC panel with thyroid test? Also I think pancreatic insufficiency can cause weak immune system. There are medications to control these conditions. You might also try Revolution to see if it gets rid of the fungus (it's not labeled for it but it works on so many things), as well as Forty Flora and L-lysine to boost the immune system. Another product I love is called Fresh Digest. It works wonders for the skin and coat. I get it at Petco. If you try it, make sure not to let any moisture get into the bottle or it will become a rock.
 

dudlinho

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Aug 9, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Anyone with a Devon Rex should consider the possibility of a fungal/yeast infection (malassezia pachydermatis or similar), bacterial paronychia, and also consider the underlying cause of the potential infection.  Devon's can be bacteria farms, especially the ears and paws, but if the cat is older, thymomas and carcinomas as well as autoimmune diseases might be underlying causes, so they really should go to the vet if they are older. Temperature and climate can also exacerbate fungal/yeast infections.  If your vet has identified it as a bacterial infection, they likely have prescribed an antibiotic.  If a fungal/yeast infection or bacterial paronchyia, they likely have prescribed other drugs mentioned here like Tresaderm.  Most bacterial/fungal/yeast infections in Devons I have had appear to be a rusty red, sulfur yellow, dark brown, blackish, or some combination of these colors, and usually are crusty and scabby but can also be gooey.  In other breeds with hair, they appear differently and are harder to see.  Sometimes they simply scrape bacteria or yeast right out of their ears and this settles in the nail bed or sometimes they split a nail that then invites infection.

If the vet hasn't prescribed anything and your cat is not improving, I wouldn't wait around for probiotics to do anything let alone expect them to actually cure bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections.  I think the claims surrounding probiotics have been overblown, and I treat this as soon as I detect it in a Devon using vetericyn - I use the wound and skin care gel for horses and this works fine on my Devon as well, but they do make some cat-specific products if you are concerned.  The products are to my knowledge all very similar and differ only in concentration, and most horse people I know even use it on themselves.  It's expensive and must be stored properly, so if you have several pets, livestock, horses, etc. you will get your money's worth, otherwise buy the smallest bottle available. Most horse & cattle folks will confirm that they have good to great results on all sorts of wounds, infections, and in ears and eyes (I am not affiliated with vetericyn BTW).

If your cat has licked the infected area until it is raw, or you believe the infection has gone on for some time, you should test this out first on the cat's nail area by swabbing a small amount of the gel onto the nail and nail bed only.  It may sting your cat if their paws are raw.  If they respond ok, swab more further up the nail bed/plate and onto the toe wherever the infection appears.  The gel will cling to the toe and soak into the nail bed.  Wait until the next day and examine the exact same nail and toe.  If you see improvement and the cat allows it, swab every nail and toe with gel, and pat off messy excess with a tissue.  Even if there's no improvement, try it for another day or two if possible.  If they won't tolerate this at all it should be clear that this is a vet only issue.  Don't spray it on your cat even though it comes in spray form, cats don't like to be sprayed - period.  Continue every day to swab the gel into the nail bed and in between the toes as well as anywhere else on the paw you notice the appearance of infection.  I would try 2-5 days treatment and return to the vet if you see no signs of improvement.

In my experience this will clear up mild fungal/yeast infections in 24-48 hours, and within a week in worse cases.  It also often clears up bacterial paronychia in the same time.  Your cat may be suffering from depression as well, as this tends to go with bacterial/fungal/yeast infections.  Your cat should be behaving more normally in the same time that it takes for the infection to clear.  Again, if the cat is older, or is exhibiting other symptoms, or if their behavior doesn't improve alongside the symptoms, the underlying cause may be something that a vet needs to rule out.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

AbbysMom

At Abby's beck and call
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
May 18, 2005
Messages
68,864
Reaction score
9,101
Location
Massachusetts
[quote name="dudlinho" url="/t/292730/black-gunk-on-skin-between-paw-pads-vet-thinks-its-nothing#post_4077140"

If the vet hasn't prescribed anything and your cat is not improving, I wouldn't wait around for probiotics to do anything let alone expect them to actually cure bacterial, fungal, or yeast infections.  I think the claims surrounding probiotics have been overblown, and I treat this as soon as I detect it in a Devon using vetericyn - I use the wound and skin care gel for horses and this works fine on my Devon as well, but they do make some cat-specific products if you are concerned.  The products are to my knowledge all very similar and differ only in concentration, and most horse people I know even use it on themselves.  It's expensive and must be stored properly, so if you have several pets, livestock, horses, etc. you will get your money's worth, otherwise buy the smallest bottle available. Most horse & cattle folks will confirm that they have good to great results on all sorts of wounds, infections, and in ears and eyes (I am not affiliated with vetericyn BTW).

[/quote]


Just a note that you should always check first with your vet before using an over-the-counter medication. Many cats have underlying conditions or other health issues that make some over-the-counter meds unsuitable for all cats. :)
 

dudlinho

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Aug 9, 2016
Messages
2
Reaction score
1
Just a note that you should always check first with your vet before using an over-the-counter medication. Many cats have underlying conditions or other health issues that make some over-the-counter meds unsuitable for all cats.
I was pretty clear about this I believe: 

>  "...IF the vet hasn't prescribed anything and your cat is not improving..."

>  "...thymomas and carcinomas as well as autoimmune diseases might be underlying causes, so they really should go to the VET if they are older..."

> "...the underlying cause may be something that a VET needs to rule out."

> "...If they won't tolerate this at all it should be clear that this is a VET ONLY issue."

Also, the OP title reads: "Vet thinks it's nothing."  So we're talking about an issue that many owners have not obtained satisfaction on from their vet.  Very many owners I'd say given the number of replies to this thread.

Good luck~
 

supeoopiemarley

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Nov 26, 2016
Messages
1
Reaction score
1
My cat has it too! I decided to try am done pull it off him but he found it painful. He has been battling fleas for awhile so maybe it is flea dirt gathered there. He has had a bath two frontline treatments and we vacuum every day. Nothing is working [emoji]128557[/emoji]
 

Gilllou1

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
3
Hi! No, he's not declawed. I believe it could be dried blood or a scab, if I try to wipe at it it usually leaves a dark red residue. He could be causing it to bleed by constantly gnawing at it, maybe? He does have quite sharp teeth...
Hi

Realise you posted this a few years ago, but did you get a solution? I have a cat who is just over a year old & has what looks like the same problem. I’m not really getting anywhere with his vet & am pretty much at my wits end. His paw is so sore looking & he’s had an e collar on for just about a week with no improvement. Would really appreciate if u could let me no if ur lil guy recovered & what was done to help him.

Thanks

Gill
 

cheeser

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
1,997
Reaction score
1,729
Location
Texas
Hi

Realise you posted this a few years ago, but did you get a solution? I have a cat who is just over a year old & has what looks like the same problem. I’m not really getting anywhere with his vet & am pretty much at my wits end. His paw is so sore looking & he’s had an e collar on for just about a week with no improvement. Would really appreciate if u could let me no if ur lil guy recovered & what was done to help him.

Thanks

Gill
Has your vet done any skin scrapings or any other tests to definitively identify exactly what your kitty's problem is?

I'm not the original poster, but one of our cats gets a lot of blank gunk around his paws and nail beds. In his case, it's a fungal infection that's partly due to a chicken allergy, partly because we live in a hot, humid climate, and partly because he's FIV+ and his immune system isn't quite up to snuff.

The vet advised us to eliminate chicken from Buddy's diet, showed us how to keep his feet and nails clean with chlorhexidine/ketoconazole wipes or shampoo, and recommended a probiotic (Proviable).

The black gunk has never gone completely away, but we've learned to stay on top of it to try to keep it from getting out of hand. And thus far, he hasn't had any more secondary staph infections on his paws, thank God! :)
 

Gilllou1

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
3
Has your vet done any skin scrapings or any other tests to definitively identify exactly what your kitty's problem is?

I'm not the original poster, but one of our cats gets a lot of blank gunk around his paws and nail beds. In his case, it's a fungal infection that's partly due to a chicken allergy, partly because we live in a hot, humid climate, and partly because he's FIV+ and his immune system isn't quite up to snuff.

The vet advised us to eliminate chicken from Buddy's diet, showed us how to keep his feet and nails clean with chlorhexidine/ketoconazole wipes or shampoo, and recommended a probiotic (Proviable).

The black gunk has never gone completely away, but we've learned to stay on top of it to try to keep it from getting out of hand. And thus far, he hasn't had any more secondary staph infections on his paws, thank God! :)
Hey

Thanks for replying. So far vet hasn’t done any scrapings or biopsies - think he has been hoping that it would clear up on its own. He wasn’t keen to start cutting into his paw as he thinks it will just aggravate the issue.
Kitty is back at the vet on Friday, so I’ll see what his thoughts are then.

Really interesting you mention a chicken allergy as I’m in the process of moving him onto special food as food or other allergies has also been mentioned.

Fingers crossed something works soon
 

missmum0129

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
2
I wanted to reply to this thread, because I have been dealing with this issue since may'18, altho my cat has also lost 95% of his hair along with this. To keep this short, my vet has no idea what it is as of now. blood tests etc have been done. He's on an antibacterial shampoo, and dermalone which def helps, but still hasn't rid of it. I comb out black chunks from his paws almost daily at this point.
Im curious what the outcome is for most of these cats? I have vetericyn, also which i just started tonight bc nothing is really improving it. I bought it two months ago and my vet was not really for it. Tonight i sprayed it tho bc i had used it two night ago on another cat with an ugly cut and its almost cleared today.
If anyone replies I'd love to share pics, for thoughts.
 

cheeser

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
1,997
Reaction score
1,729
Location
Texas
I wanted to reply to this thread, because I have been dealing with this issue since may'18, altho my cat has also lost 95% of his hair along with this. To keep this short, my vet has no idea what it is as of now. blood tests etc have been done. He's on an antibacterial shampoo, and dermalone which def helps, but still hasn't rid of it. I comb out black chunks from his paws almost daily at this point.
Im curious what the outcome is for most of these cats? I have vetericyn, also which i just started tonight bc nothing is really improving it. I bought it two months ago and my vet was not really for it. Tonight i sprayed it tho bc i had used it two night ago on another cat with an ugly cut and its almost cleared today.
If anyone replies I'd love to share pics, for thoughts.
Oh, gosh. I feel for you, hon. We've been dealing with this for about two years now. But at least we've gone from having to clean huge black chunks of gunk from Buddy's feet 2-3 times a day, to only having to clean them once or twice a week.

For us, it has been a combination of things that seems to help: Cleaning Buddy's nails and paw pads with Curaseb (which is also an anti-fungal, as well as an antibiotic shampoo), eliminating proteins from his diet that he's allergic to, and giving him a probiotic and an omega-3 supplement. But it would be wonderful if the vet could figure out something that works even better. :wink:

Just curious, does your cat also get black looking gunk in his ears?
 

missmum0129

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
3
Reaction score
2
Yes, he does get black in his ears. When I brought him in, in aug '17- he was a stray and his ears were always filthy. I assumed mites but it wasn't. I would clean them every other day. It wasn't until just last month when I got dermalone, and I decided I'd clean them and wipe some of that around his ears and now I am only cleaning them maybe once a week now. I did have him on probiotics for about two or three months but it did nothing for him.

The problems I'm struggling with is, he's lost 3 pounds since may, all of his fur- which is maybe coming back in.. Might be my imagination at this point tho :(
That's when they prescribed the shampoo bc his skin would get this brown film on him and he would be sticky to touch. Since the weather has changed, its slowed down, but i cant get any weight back on him. He's had blood work, skin scraps etc.. I just come home nightly and google his symptoms. You can see and feel his spine and I just feel terrible. He's also only about 4 yrs...
 

cheeser

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Aug 2, 2013
Messages
1,997
Reaction score
1,729
Location
Texas
Yes, he does get black in his ears. When I brought him in, in aug '17- he was a stray and his ears were always filthy. I assumed mites but it wasn't. I would clean them every other day. It wasn't until just last month when I got dermalone, and I decided I'd clean them and wipe some of that around his ears and now I am only cleaning them maybe once a week now. I did have him on probiotics for about two or three months but it did nothing for him.

The problems I'm struggling with is, he's lost 3 pounds since may, all of his fur- which is maybe coming back in.. Might be my imagination at this point tho :(
That's when they prescribed the shampoo bc his skin would get this brown film on him and he would be sticky to touch. Since the weather has changed, its slowed down, but i cant get any weight back on him. He's had blood work, skin scraps etc.. I just come home nightly and google his symptoms. You can see and feel his spine and I just feel terrible. He's also only about 4 yrs...
Oh, my. I'm so sorry you and your kitty have been going through such a rough time together. *hugs you tight*

Has your vet considered the possibility of a food allergy?

Our cat was in such bad shape, we thought his nine lives had finally run out due to his FIV. When we took him back to the vet, our regular vet wasn't in, so we saw someone else. He felt that a food allergy might be a possibility, and suggested that we start our cat on a novel protein diet.

Long story short, once we eliminated all chicken and turkey products from Buddy's diet, his health began to improve significantly. He stopped puking, started eating on his own again, and the black gunk in his ears and on his feet started to get better. Of course, the vet prescribed some other stuff, like ear drops, foot soaks, probiotics, omega-3s, etc.

Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get the blank gunk on Buddy's nails and toes to stop coming back after getting them all nice and clean. But at least now it's manageable.

Wishing you the best of luck, and hope your vet gets this sorted out and your kitty is all better soon! :vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes::vibes:
 

Saber_Wing

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Oct 22, 2018
Messages
77
Reaction score
116
Hawkeye had this problem, but in his ears, like many of you have also commented. The vet sent me home with a cleanser and instructions to clean them out once a day. I did that for maybe a month before it cleared up. That happened on and off for nearly a year, but another year has passed since then, and it has yet to return.
 

Sandy Prince

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Hi all, a while ago I noticed that my 4 year old cat, Marlow, had a bunch of dark gunk on the skin between his paw pad and toes. He was gnawing at it pretty frequently. I took him to the vet and she said it might be a yeast buildup and gave us some pads to swab his paw with. He totally hated it and they didn't make a difference, so we went back. She gave us a new medicine, Ketohex, which also didn't do anything. We let her know and she said that as long as he's walking fine and not in pain, we probably didn't have anything to worry about. Well, now he's got the same stuff on his front left paw! I have no idea what's causing this. We are using the same Crystal cat litter he's had for years. I'm planning on switching to a new kind just to be sure it's not causing this, it only just occurred to me that it could be contributing to his issues.

Has anyone experienced this problem before? I can't find much online that sounds like his issue. I attached some photos of both paws, sometimes the black stuff is gone and it's just stained reddish brown.


Any thoughts? I don't want my poor guy to be suffering!
My cat has had black crusty between her pads a couple times. She ended up getting sores on her leg. One vet said allergies. Took her to another vet and found out she had Myrsa. She has Myrsa again & the black is back on her feet. Along with the black on feet I noticed it around her anus. Looked like her skin was that color. It wasn’t cuz I used a Q-tip & applied Vaseline. Gently rubbing it come off. I suggest you have a test for Myrsa just Incase it is that. Myrsa is highly contagious
 
Top