Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It sounds like a sensible next step. Not healing or reappearing lesions on paws are often due to small foreign bodies which should be surgically explored and removed.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

The major risks are those of general anesthesia, bleeding (hemorrhage), postoperative infection, intestinal or urinary bladder leakage and wound breakdown (dehiscence) over the incision. Overall complication rate is low, but serious complications can result in death or the need for additional surgery.
Most pets will start to feel better 2 to 4 days after surgery. By 2 weeks after surgery they should have recovered completely. Healing of the internal tissues takes longer, therefore restricted activity on a leash should continue for a period of 3 weeks after surgery.
Monitor the incision daily for redness, swelling, discharge, or licking. Mild redness and swelling are part of the healing process and should be expected for the first few days after surgery. After the first two to three days, the swelling and redness should subside, and the incision should look better each day.
Laparotomy Procedure in Dogs

The procedure itself consists of making a lengthwise incision along the abdomen in order to be able to simultaneously view all the organs in the lower body. If no conclusive evidence is forthcoming at this stage, the surgeon may lift organs out of the body cavity for closer inspection.

Possible complications

Infection. Damage to internal organs. Formation of internal scar tissue (adhesions) Bowel blockages or abdominal pain, which may be caused by adhesions.

What happens during a laparotomy? A laparotomy involves a large incision of three to 12 inches into your abdominal cavity. The specifics of the incision, and what happens after, will depend on the purpose of your laparotomy. In general, you can expect to be in surgery for several hours.
In general, recovery from an exploratory laparotomy takes 4 to 6 weeks. Recovery in the hospital. It may take a few days before you can eat or drink normally after this surgery.
Exploratory laparoscopy is a minimally invasive technique that can often be done in place of laparotomy. It`s sometimes called “keyhole” surgery. In this procedure, a small tube called a laparoscope is inserted through the skin. A light and camera are attached to the tube.
Common signs of the development of dehiscence in the postoperative period include pyrexia, anorexia, decreased frequency or a failure to pass feces (associated with the development of ileus), and discomfort on palpation of the caudal abdomen.
If any portion of ovary is left, the patient will continue to experience heat cycles and be vulnerable to recurrence. While the end result of pyometra surgery is a spayed dog, there is nothing routine about a pyometra spay.
Complications are expected and range from red skin to death. Factors to consider are the pet, the surgery and the surgeon. Pets can create problems by being too active or chewing at their sutures when their e-collar comes off. Surgery is known to have more complications when there is more “time, trash, and trauma”.
If the lesion is in the abdomen, exploratory surgery involves a laparotomy, or incision into the abdomen to observe the lesion. If possible, a biopsy sample is removed. In some cases a lesion may be inoperable because of its location or attachment to vital structures from which it cannot be separated.
Treatment Toxicity

Late effects of treatment include surgical complications, soft tissue and bone growth abnormalities, cardiopulmonary effects, endocrine sequelae, and secondary malignancies.

Postoperative complications may either be general or specific to the type of surgery undertaken and should be managed with the patient`s history in mind. Common general postoperative complications include postoperative fever, atelectasis, wound infection, embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Mortality rates following emergency laparotomy ranges from 13% to 18% which is five times greater than high-risk elective surgery.
Staging laparotomy consists of adequate midline incision, meticulous exploration of the abdominal cavity and organs with biopsies if necessary, peritoneal cytology, para-aortic lymph node (PAN) biopsy, and pelvic lymph node biopsy or dissection.
In general, research has found that orthopedic surgeries, or those involving bones, are the most painful. However, researchers also found that some minor surgeries or those classed as keyhole or laparoscopic could also cause significant pain.
Measurements: Long-term complications, including small bowel obstruction, hernia, and cosmesis. Short-term complications, including pneumonia, cellulitis, wound infection, prolonged ileus, and urinary tract infection.
After laparoscopic surgery, you are likely to have pain for the next several days. You may have a low fever and feel tired and sick to your stomach. This is common. You should feel better after 1 to 2 weeks.
This surgery is done to find the cause of problems (such as pain or bleeding) that testing could not diagnose. It`s also used when an abdominal injury needs emergency medical care. This surgery uses one large cut (incision). The provider can then see and check the organs inside the abdomen.
A medical procedure that invades (enters) the body, usually by cutting or puncturing the skin or by inserting instruments into the body.
Surgery that is done using small incisions (cuts) and few stitches. During minimally invasive surgery, one or more small incisions may be made in the body. A laparoscope (thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing) is inserted through one opening to guide the surgery.
The causes of dehiscence are similar to the causes of poor wound healing and include ischemia, infection, increased abdominal pressure, diabetes, malnutrition, smoking, and obesity.
The three phases include inflammation, proliferation, and maturation. [3][4][5] The repaired wound can be expected to obtain 80% of the original tensile strength over two years, but will not achieve the same level of pre-injury strength.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Lesions on top of left front paw reappearing after treatment and healing for over a year. Vets referred to surgeon for exploratory surgery.
ANSWER : A. It sounds like a sensible next step. Not healing or reappearing lesions on paws are often due to small foreign bodies which should be surgically explored and removed.

Read Full Q/A … : Causes of Limping in Dogs

Q. Why does a dogs pads on his paws turn such a pink color?
ANSWER : A. I’m confused here. Are your dogs paw pads typically black, but they turn a reddish pink? You may want to see your veterinarian about this to make sure there isn’t anything wrong with his paw pads. I’ve met dogs who have extremely fragile paw pads due to some bad genetics.. they end up getting injured on their paws very easily. I’ve met dogs who are unable to even walk on cement without wearing little doggy booties. It could be that your dog is dealing with some serious discomfort, and you want to get that checked out immediately.

If your dogs paw pads just seem a little bit irritated, you may want to try something like “Musher’s Secret” on them. This is an ointment that you rub on your dogs paw pads to keep them healthy, and smooth. I use this in the winter when there is rock salt all over the ground.. it keeps her paw pads from getting irritated and tearing open. It’s like lotioning your skin to keep it from getting dry and cracked. If you think your dog is dealing with something that is a little more extreme than just some dry irritated paw pads, then see your vet immediately instead of purchasing the Musher’s Secret.

Read Full Q/A … : Discolored Pads in Dogs

Q. My small dog has ringworm
ANSWER : A. Although the name suggests otherwise, ringworm is not caused by a worm at all but a fungus. This highly contagious infection can lead to patchy areas of hair loss on a pet, and can spread to other animals and to humans, too.

Classic symptoms of ringworm include lesions that typically appear on a pet’s head, ears, paws and forelimbs. These lesions can cause patchy, crusted circular “bald spots” that sometimes look red in the center. In mild cases of ringworm, there may be just a few broken hairs, while bad cases of ringworm can spread over most of a pet’s body. It’s also possible for a pet to carry the fungus and not show any symptoms whatsoever.

Treatment of ringworm depends on the severity of the infection. A veterinarian may prescribe a medicated shampoo or ointment that contains miconazole or a dip such as lime sulfur to kill the fungus. In some cases, oral medications are necessary to cure ringworm. In severe cases, it may be necessary to use a topical and oral treatment, in addition to clipping away the fur. Once treatment begins, lesions should begin to heal in about one to three weeks.

Please note, it is important to treat your pet for as long as recommended by your veterinarian. Even though the skin lesions may have cleared up, this doesn’t mean your pet is cured or can’t infect another animal or person. Certain diagnostic tests may need to be repeated in order to ensure cure. And unfortunately, there is no guarantee that reinfection won’t occur!

Q. How do I know if my pet has heartworms? What is the treatment?
ANSWER : A. Heartworms are a concern in certain parts of the world, such as the USA and warmer parts of Canada, South America, Australia, Southern Europe, Japan, South East Asia and the Middle East. They are transmitted by mosquitoes sucking blood from an infected host and then passing the developed larvae onto a new host through a mosquito bite.

The mature heartworms can be up to 1ft long and can live for 5-7 years in dogs and 2-3 in cats. They live in the heart, lungs and associated blood vessels. The heartworms can cause lung disease, heart failure and even lead to death. Even after having removed the worms, the pet can still be left with damage to these areas.

Symptoms of heartworm infestation include coughing, weight loss, decrease in appetite and lethargy. In severe cases you may also notice pale gums, dark urine and laboured breathing, due to sudden blockages of blood flow produced by large numbers of worms.

Prevention is much better than the cure, and if you live in an area where heartworm is prevalent you should treat monthly year round. If you are unsure if it is a problem in your area, I suggest you ask your local vet. Also, your vet will be able to advise you about the most effective treatments available to you.

Treatment depends on the level of infestation and the veterinarian’s preferences. The pet will need to be stabilized before treatment can begin and exercise should be kept to an absolute minimum. In severe cases, surgical removal of the worms may be required.

Q. My Dachshund is in a lot of pain. She has back problems and I can’t afford surgery for her. Is there something I can do other than the surgery.
ANSWER : A. Alternative to surgery is medical treatment with pain killers, physiotherapy, acupuncture. There are conditions of spinal cord where medical treatment can be as successful as surgery but there are spinal problems when surgery is the only options. I would suggest you to get back to your vets to discuss available treatments and ask if medical treatment is an option for your dog.

Q. My german Shepard will lick herself raw in a different spot off and on throughout the year. After a wash, we use apple spray or bagh balm no luck yet.
ANSWER : A. This is probably due to a severe allergy, although it could also be fleas or mites.

First of all, in order to rule out skin parasites, you will need to treat her with a high quality flea treatment (e.g. advocate or advantage), then get her to the vet to perform a skin scrape – this might revile an infection or a mite infestation.

If all of those came back negative, the next step is to treat the allergy symptomatically and try discovering the cause of the allergy.

Some medications can be given by the vet in order to stop the chewing and repair the skin lesions (steroids and antibiotics). simultaneously you should start her on a prescription hypoallergenic diet for at least 2 months.

There is also a nice topical spray available if the problem remains on the paws or another specific location only, it’s called Cortavance and you can get it at the vets.

Hopefully you will see some results after all this, if not you and your vet should consider putting her on a long term allergy treatment (Atopica or Apoquel).

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. What second surgery do you choose for a failed extra capsular repair or should a second surgery be done?
ANSWER : A. If you have a large breed dog, a TPLO usually works better. Also you have to figure out the reason for the failure. Was it too much activity too soon? Was the surgery not done properly? Was the rehab not followed? You have to allow at least 8 weeks of just post-op healing with rehab and then slowly get back to normal activity. A good 12-14 weeks before any type of normal activity is recommended and some dogs take longer than others. It’s hard or many dogs and even people to restrict their pets activity level post-op because they feel bad, but it really is necessary for proper and complete healing. It’s hard to say why your surgery option failed or if you should have a second one done without knowing your case in more depth. I would recommend a board certified surgeon perform the surgery if it is done again and you didn’t use one the first time.