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.
Dr. Dog Skin Care & Paw Licking Treatment