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Matthew Sisk: Paw pad burns take a few days to appear on cat
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Summer is upon us. Well, at least, this time of year is traditionally considered summer.

Recently, it’s been more of a monsoon season, but nevertheless, the heat is creeping in.

Despite more rain than sun during the last couple of weeks, the last three days have been scorchers — above 90 degrees and nary a cloud in sight.

I return from lunch to our delightfully air-conditioned office, and my assistant informs me that Leia is in a room, awaiting my arrival. It is time for her yearly checkup, but there’s a note on the chart that she’s ill. Since this morning, she is reluctant to get up and move around. She hasn’t even gotten up to eat or drink.

This worries me, of course, not just in general, but specifically because Leia only recently came home from the Florida Keys. While she was there, she might have picked up any myriad of parasites or infections. Those illnesses may have incubated for a while and are now showing their ugly heads.

Almost anything is possible, theoretically. So like a good doctor, I try and reserve my urge to guess at a diagnosis and start with the physical examination.

Other than a reluctance to stand up, not much is different for Leia. She’s now a full-fledged adult cat and has settled into an acceptable weight, although slightly higher than ideal. Her exam is unremarkable, except her feet.

The middle of each foot’s main pad is raw, with a peeled area that reaches almost to the haired skin.  Several things could cause this, including autoimmune disease, trauma or burns. It’s a sadly common injury to dogs who walk on pavement when the sun is blazing. But since cats don’t traditionally go walking with their owners, I ask a few more questions.

It turns out Leia jumped on the stove the day before leaving the Keys. She cried out, but was fine after. The injury took a few days to become visible.

Antibiotics, pain control and rest are in order. Leia will be fine in a few weeks.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at