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Lick Granuloma.

Lick granuloma is a condition where dogs will lick a spot, usually a paw; obsessively to the point there is an open wound. The cause for lick granuloma is not completely understood. There are different theories on why a dog licks so compulsively that it causes harm. However, there appears to be both a physical and psychological element to this problem. The licking may start due to an irritation, but the obsessive licking ends up being the source of the infection. Treatment needs to address both the skin problem and the compulsion. As with many health problems, early treatment can make this an easier problem to deal with. The treatment for the lesion depends on severity. In early stages the skin can often be treated by topical lotions. In severe cases antibiotics are needed. The wound also needs to be protected to give it a chance to heal. This can be done by wrapping the area, using taste deterrents, or using an Elizabethan collar to keep the dog from furthering the infection. The degree of the compulsion also influences the treatment. In some cases the compulsion is so severe that the dog will chew through bandages, ignore taste deterrents, or start licking an uncovered area creating another wound. Vets in some of these cases will prescribe drugs such as anti-depressants to combat this compulsion. In less severe cases some behavior modification can help. Dogs that are bored or lonely can develop compulsions or behavior problems, and alleviating a dog’s boredom or loneliness can reduce some compulsions. While this can be a frustrating problem with many difficult to treat cases, steps can be taken to help with this disorder particularly if dealt with early.


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