Lick granuloma is a serious skin problem in dogs and occurs when dogs continuously lick a certain area, which then becomes inflamed and sore. It tends to be most common on the legs; however any area can be affected.
The most common cause of lick granuloma is psychological, usually due to stress, boredom or a compulsive behaviour. However it can also be physiological such as bacterial and fungal infections, trauma which causes nerve damage, allergies or bone disease. Hot spots can also lead to lick granuloma.
Lick granuloma is a vicious cycle as constant licking of the skin creates irritation and pain which then causes more licking and dog scratching. This usually creates open wounds which increases the chances of infection.
There are some breeds that are commonly affected by lick granuloma; these include Dobermans, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Border Collies.
You should seek advice from your vet to discover the underlying causal factor whether it be behavioural or physiological. Tests for allergies should be conducted if no obvious cause can be diagnosed. Steroids may be injected into the area or antibiotics prescribed for infections however talk to your vet about the associated problems of administering these drugs on a long term basis so you are aware of the serious side effects that may accompany these drugs.
If it is a behavioural issue then this needs to be dealt with. It is important that you discover what the underlying issue is, as it could be separation anxiety, confinement or a stressor in the environment. Ensure that you then take appropriate steps to help deal with these behavioural issues. It may also be necessary to consult a behaviourist.
Acupuncture has been reported by many dog owners to be effective so this could be considered, and balms such as Yumega Plus can also be used to soothe the irritation.
Cases of lick granuloma are a serious dog skin condition and are very difficult to treat however it is essential that you work closely with your vet and possible behaviourist to help treat this condition as it is a serious detriment to your dog’s health.