Cat Horned Paws: What Are Cutaneous Horns and What Can You Do About Them?

Cat Horned Paws: What Are Cutaneous Horns and What Can You Do About Them?

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In case you’ve ever noticed what seems to be an additional claw rising out of your cat’s footbed, she may have “horned paws.” Fortunately, these callous-like growths aren’t notably worrisome. In truth, so far as feline paw situations go, cutaneous horns are on the extra frequent facet.

To be taught extra about these peculiar paw growths, we gathered professional perception from Dr. Rebecca Greenstein, B.Sc., D.V.M., Chief Veterinarian at Kleinburg Veterinary Hospital, and Rover’s Veterinary Medical Advisor and Canine Individuals Panelist.


Right here’s all the things it’s essential find out about horned paws in cats, so you may preserve your fairly kitty wholesome—from head to paw.

What are Horned Paws?

Picture by H. Hach from Pixabay

Cutaneous horns are a comparatively frequent feline pores and skin situation. Sometimes, they seem on a cat’s paw pads, though horns can happen on the face or different physique elements as effectively. The growths could seem solo, or they’ll crop up in teams on a number of paw pads.

Horned paws are the results of an overproduction of keratin, the identical protein that makes up our hairs and nails. Whereas ugly, the horns are largely innocuous and no cause to panic. By and enormous, essentially the most disagreeable facet impact is a few innocent clacking.

That mentioned, it’s sensible to keep watch over the growths, so you may alert your veterinarian of any adjustments or considerations. Dr. Rebecca Greenstein tells us, “Easy paw horns could also be nothing to essentially fear about, however uncontrolled overgrowth of keratin could also be linked to underlying points like viral illnesses, extra complicated bigger pores and skin situations, and even cancers.”

What Causes Horned Paws in Cats?

Cutaneous horns are the curious results of your cat’s keratin manufacturing going into hyperdrive. Our cats want keratin to develop hair and nails, however an excessive amount of of this protein will be problematic. One other potential wrongdoer: oozing cysts in your cat’s pores and skin (gross, sorry.) When this happens, extra fluid from the cyst builds up, hardens, and varieties a dense horn.

In case your vet suspects the horns are the results of one thing extra critical—like feline leukemia or most cancers—they could advocate a biopsy and FelV check.

Do Horned Paws Harm Cats?

Generally, no. So long as the horns don’t type on a weight-bearing a part of the paw, your cat gained’t expertise ache or hassle with mobility.

Nevertheless, if the horns do happen on a weight-bearing a part of your cat’s paw, they may trigger discomfort. “The place issues can get slightly extra regarding,” Dr. Greenstein tells us, “is that if they begin to intervene with the underside of the paws when strolling.”

Observe your cat for self-comforting behaviors, like licking her paws, as they could point out ache. In case you suspect your cat is in ache, schedule a go to to the vet.

Can I Trim My Cat’s Horned Paws?

Picture by Tony Wang from Unsplash

Technically, sure, horned paws will be trimmed like strange nails. However is it the very best concept? Based on Dr. Greenstein, that’s a tough no. “You would threat bleeding, infections, discomfort, or the possibility you’re chopping wholesome tissue, or disrupting unstable diseased tissue,” she explains.

Earlier than brandishing the clippers, it’s essential affirm that what you’re taking a look at is, in actual fact, a cutaneous horn, and never another pores and skin dysfunction or tumor. To rule out extra critical situations, a vet go to is in your cat’s greatest curiosity. Your vet can study the expansion and advise you on the suitable remedy—he could even carry out the trim for you.

Can anything be executed? You may have the ability to soften the expansion with slightly T.L.C., although the outcomes are fairly blended. Dr. Greenstein informs us that “some individuals attempt to soften the tissue with pet-friendly moisturizers, balms, or emollients, however they gained’t take away horns or stop additional development.”

On the finish of the day, trimming your cat’s horns isn’t often essential. Our recommendation: in case your cat isn’t bothered by them, depart ‘em alone.

Can Cutaneous Horns Be Surgically Eliminated?

In some instances, your vet could advocate surgical procedure to take away the cutaneous horns utterly. Based on Dr. Greenstein, a biopsy and surgical excision might be warranted “if the irregular keratin growths are affecting mobility, rising quickly, or if they’re suspected to be linked to sure underlying pores and skin or systemic illnesses.”

This process is minimally invasive and takes place whereas your cat is below mild sedation. To maintain the horns from recurring, your vet will excise the bottom of the expansion. Your vet can prescribe Azithromycin or Interferon to scale back ache and discomfort.

For essentially the most half, horned paws aren’t one thing to lose sleep over. In case your cat develops any horns, monitor her for discomfort and schedule a go to to your vet to rule out extra critical situations.

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