(Lick Granuloma) General Information
Acral dermatitis is a skin condition resulting from repeated licking. At first there is only a small area of hair loss; however, with constant licking, a thickened, raised plaque develops. Often this raised sore is raw, inflamed, and ulcerated. Lick granulomas occur primarily in dogs left alone for long periods. Boredom is usually responsible for the licking habit. Certain breeds, such as Dobermans, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, and German Shepherds, are more likely to be affected. While the condition can occur at any age, most dogs are over 5 years old when the sores first appear. Stress may also stimulate abnormal licking. Causes of stress include a new pet or baby in the home, the death or absence of a family member or a companion dog, or a nearby female dog that is ‑in heat.” Many things could be upsetting or stressful to dogs left alone or confined for long periods. It is important to understand that the underlying cause of the dog’s problem is psychological and not physical. A thorough analysis of the dog’s environment is necessary to determine the cause. Important Points in Treatment
- Lick granuloma is very difficult to treat. If the underlying psychological cause cannot be corrected, the sore may never be cured.
- Medication: Medication must be given as directed. Notify the doctor if you cannot carry out any prescribed treatment.
- Activity: Whenever possible, exercise your dog and spend more time with it to keep its mind off licking.
- Various treatments are used in treating lick granulomas. They include lotions, creams, pills, injections, bandages or other devices to prevent licking, surgical removal of sores, and mood‑altering drugs, such as tranquilizers and barbiturates. The type and success of treatment depend on such factors as the size and severity of the granuloma, chances for eliminating the psychological causes, time the dog has been affected, and time available for the owner to work with the dog. Please feel free to discuss any aspects of treatment with the doctor.
Notify the Doctor if Any of the Following Occur
- Your dog continues to lick the sore.
- Your dog’s sore enlarges.
- Your dog’s sore is red, hot, or swollen, or oozes fluid or pus.
- Your dog removes any protective bandage or wraps.