Lick Granuloma in Dogs Treatment U.K: Signs and Treatments
Dog licks are one of the most common symptoms of various diseases. They occur when saliva or mucus from the mouth gets into a cut, sore, ulceration or other site where it shouldn’t be able to go and causes irritation. There are many different types of lice that cause these problems including fleas, ticks, mites and even humans!
Lick granulomas are caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus epidermidis. These bacteria live in the mouth and on the skin around the mouth, nose and throat area. When they come into contact with a wound or infected area, they produce a white substance which looks like cottage cheese.
The most common type of louse found in dogs is the flea. Fleas are small insects that look like tiny black ants. They have long legs and short antennae.
Most fleas live in warm climates such as your home or apartment. You may see them crawling around under furniture, on carpeting, or sometimes even on the floor! If you don’t get rid of them immediately, they will breed and multiply until there are too many to control so they die off. After all, they need a blood meal before they lay eggs. The most common place to find them is on the back and middle of the dog’s hindquarters.
What are Lick Granulomas?
Lick granulomas are “hot spots” on a dogs skin caused by excessive licking and chewing. They often look like red, irritated, hairless patches that can range in size from a quarter to an entire leg. The most common places for a lick granuloma to develop are the front leg and elbow or hock (the knee of a dog).
Lick granulomas can also occur in people with mental retardation or other types of brain damage. The person will excessively and obsessively lick one spot on their body, sometimes until the skin is raw and bloody. This is known as ‘stereotypic’ behavior.
What are the signs of a lick granuloma?
The signs that your dog might have a lick granuloma are excessive licking, chewing or scratching at a particular area, especially the front leg and elbow or hock (the knee of a dog). This may cause the hair to fall out in this area, and the skin to become red and swollen. You may hear your dog chewing in her sleep.
What causes a lick granuloma?
The underlying cause of licking is often anxiety or stress. The licking can be caused by many different things such as ear infections, itchy skin due to fleas or allergies, pregnancy, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or dental problems. If the underlying cause is not treated, it can lead to lick granulomas.
How is a lick granuloma diagnosed?
There are many other conditions that can cause similar signs. A skin scraping and fungal culture can help rule out mange and other skin disorders. The area may also be biopsied to rule out other causes such as cancer.
How is a lick granuloma treated?
Treatment of a lick granuloma involves treating the underlying cause as well as behavior modification.
The area should be kept as dry as possible and the dog should not be allowed to lick or chew. This may involve putting an Elizabethan collar on your dog to prevent her from scratching herself or chewing at the area. You can try putting a light coating of petroleum jelly, white paste or even aluminum foil over the affected area so that it is difficult or uncomfortable for your dog to chew at it.
Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-depressant such as amitriptyline to help reduce the urge to chew or lick.
What is the prognosis for lick granulomas?
The prognosis for lick granulomas is good as long as the underlying cause can be determined and treated. If the cause is due to anxiety, it is important to find ways to keep the dog calm. Veterinary behaviorists or animal psychologists may be needed in some cases.
Sources & references used in this article:
Diagnosis and treatment of canine acral lick dermatitis by AK Shumaker – Veterinary Clinics: Small Animal Practice, 2019 – vetsmall.theclinics.com
Canine lick granuloma treated with radiotherapy by LN Owen – Journal of small animal practice, 1989 – Wiley Online Library
Naltrexone for treatment of acral lick dermatitis in dogs. by SD White – Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1990 – cabdirect.org