Dog: Callus Infection

General information

Other common/scientific names: callus pyoderma

Calluses are commonly found on the outside of a dog’s elbow, hock (hind leg) joint and sternum. These are areas of rough, thickened skin, usually gray and hairless.

Abb. GFP7ZUOQ: Elbow callus.
This is a photograph of a callus on the elbow of a dog.


Calluses are caused when the skin repeatedly rubs against rough surfaces such as concrete, scratchy carpet or hard floors. Calluses are seen more commonly in large breed dogs that are less active. Dogs with arthritis and overweight dogs form calluses more often due to inactivity. These areas can become infected and form an abscess. An infected callus is caused by a bacterial infection.

Cardinal symptom

Swollen, oozing callus


An infected callus is red, swollen, ulcerated, painful and oozing pus.

Abb. GFP9EVV8: Infected callus.
This is a photograph of an abscess formed from an infected elbow callus.


Diagnosis is made from a physical examination.


Treatment of an infected callus should involve topical antiseptic shampoo and antibiotic cream or ointment. Deep infections may require long term oral antibiotics. The dog’s bedding should be well padded and soft. Foam padding and specialized orthopedic dog beds are recommended. Protective elbow and hock pads are commercially available.


Most dogs with infected calluses respond well to soft bedding.


Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent callus formation. Dogs with arthritis can benefit from pain medication and chondroprotective supplements.

Update version: 4/24/2014, © Copyright by
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