Lick Granuloma (Acral Lick Dermatitis)

A lick granuloma is an area of irritated and bald skin resulting from repeated licking and/or chewing. Initially, there is only a small area of hair loss. With continued licking, the skin surface can become raw and infected. A mass of thickened skin may develop. In extreme cases, the damaged skin must be surgically removed to give resolution of the problem. The lower legs and feet are common granuloma sites.

There are numerous causes for lick granuloma formation, which include behavioral factors (boredom, stress), skin conditions (allergies, infection, irritation and fleas), and undiagnosed pain (joint or soft tissue pain; arthritis).

Diagnosis is based on symptoms, examination findings, history, response to treatment, skin or blood tests and sometimes x-rays.

Treatment varies depending on severity and duration of the problem. In the early stages, topical medication and elimination of predisposing factors may control granulomas. A MUST to all treatment is prevention of additional licking at the site by wrapping the area, application of lick inhibiting substances, and/or an Elizabethan collar. Antibiotics, antihistamines or steroids may be needed as well. Granulomas may be chronic or recurrent for some pets. Monitoring is important.

IMPORTANT POINTS

 
  • Use all medications as directed by your veterinarian.
  • Follow all wrap or wound care instructions.
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him or her rechecked as directed by your veterinarian.

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.