You may have noticed your dog continuously licking the same spot constantly, normally on their front leg. This can be the sign of a lick granuloma and this behavior needs to be addressed immediately. Our Santa Clarita vets discuss lick granuloma in dogs, the causes, and treatments.
What is Lick Granuloma
A lick granuloma is where your dog has licked a place, normally on their front legs, so much so that it has caused a self-inflicted injury. This is similar to when humans bite their nails so much that they start to bleed.
Dog owners may start noticing that the area around where their dog has been excessively licking is red, has lost hair, and there may be an open sore.
Causes of Lick Granuloma
The reason for your dog's continuous licking can be physical but more often it is a psychological reason.
Physical causes can include:
- Joint pain
- Injury (cut or bee sting)
Psychological causes can include:
- OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
Treatments for Lick Granuloma in Dogs
Since lick granuloma is normally an offshoot of a larger issue, the treatment normally involves both treating the injury and the condition.
Treating the Condition
Treating the condition requires determining how much of the issue can be attributed to a physical cause and how much of it is psychological.
If it was originally caused by a wound such as a cut or a bee sting then once the issue has been treated your dog will hopefully stop licking the area after it is healed.
If the cause is allergies then a diagnosis from your vet and treatment of the underlying cause will hopefully stop the licking.
If the cause is joint pain like arthritis then the reason for the licking is that it hurts, and your dog doesn’t know what else to do to stop the pain. The way to stop this is to treat the underlying condition. If the condition is chronic then it is important to get your dog on a pain management plan so that they will stop trying to solve the problem by licking themselves.
If the problem is mental then the treatments will be more focused on finding what is triggering this behavior and trying to break them out of the behavior. This can include mental stimulation, extra exercise, or behavioral training.
Treating the Injury
If the licking has caused a wound where it is red and the dermal layer has been damaged, treatment will be like most wounds and can include:
- Topical ointments to reduce irritation and prevent/treat infections
- Taking oral anti-inflammatory medication
- Having the lick granuloma bandaged
- Have your dog wear Elizabethan collar (aka the cone of shame) to stop them from licking it again
- Using cold laser therapy to help speed up healing and reduce inflammation.
If your dog keeps licking the same spot on their body, this can be a sign of a larger issue that needs to be addressed. Talk to your vet if your dog is showing signs of strange behaviors.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.