Dog Lick Granuloma, also referred to as Acral Lick Dermatitis or lick sores, is a condition in your dog where they have developed a chronic licking habit.
It almost always occurs on or very near the front part of the lower leg.
Over a period of time this constant licking on the part of your dog will cause the skin to become inflamed.
This chronic licking will cause the inflamed areas to be raised and eventually ulcerated. It than becomes very itchy for your pet which produces even more licking.
At this point, it is out of control.
Dog Lick Granuloma can develop in any dog but it is most common in middle aged to older large breed of dogs.
This constant licking could have several underlying causes such as a bacterial, viral, or fungus infection.
Dog Lick Granuloma can also be caused by mites, a joint disease of some kind, or a previous injury or some type of trauma that your dog may have had.
However, most experts believe that this condition is more physiological than it is an actual physical problem. It is most generally linked to boredom or frustration on the part of your dog.
Since most dogs that are affected are large breeds, as they age, they are not nearly as active as they once were.
They have served you in a number of ways over the years and now they may not be able to do the same things.
Their environment may have changed and they are confined where they used to be able to run freely; or maybe one of their mates has died.
Perhaps a new dog has been added and they are not getting all of the attention like they used to; but they are very bored and frustrated.
When a dog licks compulsively and damages the nerve cells their brain naturally releases brain chemicals.
These are called endorphins which are very powerful analgesics.
Endorphins help relieve the pain of the constant licking and they also help to reduce the stress levels in your dog.
It is also believed that dog’s bodies produce endorphins as a response to a prolonged and continuous exercise, something that they are now lacking.
Not every dog releases endorphins the same way and the conditions can vary.
However, it has been proven in several medical studies that acupuncture and massage therapy also release these same analgesics.
In most cases of severe Dog Lick Granuloma these are among the top recommend forms of treatment.
Without the same amount or even an adequate exercise program, your dog is not sleeping as much and is often in a bored and frustrated state of mind.
The symptoms of Dog Lick Granuloma in most every case are the same; skin wounds will start to develop on the front leg or the hind leg of your dog.
These lesions will be very firm and will be protruding out from the skin.
As the licking persists, hair will start to fall off. Your dog’s skin will than become darkened as it is losing pigmentation and the center of the lesion will start to form an ulcerated scab.
This scab soon becomes very moist and red in color.
Dog Lick Granuloma is a very frustrating and difficult condition to properly diagnose by your veterinarian as they must first look for an underlying cause of these symptoms.
It will also be a very lengthy process as there will be several conditions to rule out. But in the vast majority of cases this condition is caused by boredom or stress in your dog.
If there is an underlying condition that is causing Dog Lick Granuloma, it can be treated according.
Antibiotics will be used for bacterial infections, anti-fungal treatments for fungi, and arthritic conditions will be used along with pain management and joint therapy.
However, if it is like the majority of the cases of dog lick granuloma where it is boredom and stress, there will have to be several different types of treatment tested.
Just as dogs can sense an epileptic seizure coming in their owners, they can also feel and sense stress.
Your dog may be bored and stressed by various changes that have occurred in their life, or they may be stressed from situation in your life that they can sense.
If it is stress related and the real cause is psychogenic, it may never be corrected, but it can be controlled.
You may try using a collar on their necks that prevents them from licking or even a muzzle, but this is not really fair to your dog and almost abusive.
Bandages can also be used along with medicated creams to help the infections and stop you dog from licking, but in most cases they will eventually bite through the bandages.
If the underlying cause of dogs lick granuloma is boredom or stress, the best ways to help your pet is to start them on a regular and as vigorous exercise routine; as much as they and you can handle.
Teach them new tricks and make it fun so that they can enjoy things again.
The objective is to get the endorphins in your dog’s brain to release in a positive way instead of the defensive way that your pet is now using.
Acupuncture has been tested in several severe cases and has also been successful.
Taking five minutes out of your day a couple of times to massage you pet can also induce endorphins naturally as well as relaxing them and relieving built up stress.
It will also signal to them that you are not stressed.
Herbal treatments could also help, especially if there is an underlying cause.
Calendula tea rinse is a natural ingredient that has anti-inflammatory, bacterial, and fungi components that will be very effective in healing the lick wounds your dog has inflicted.
Simply take a handful of calendar flowers and place them in hot water and let it set until it cools, and then use it as a rinse on the infected areas a couple of time a day.
Green tea used as a poultice is also very effective for Dog Lick Granuloma.
Green tea contains tannic acid which helps to dry up the areas that are moist on your dog’s legs. It will also help reduce the inflammation and will naturally soothe your dog, reducing the sensation to lick.
Vitamins A and E are natural antioxidants for dogs, and are especially helpful in maintaining both healthy hair and the skin in your pet.
Vitamin E is also an anti-inflammatory and helps to control the lesions and infections caused by the chronic licking.
Dogs Lick Granuloma is very difficult and frustrating to owners.
It may never be cured, but if you can get the endorphins activated in your dog by exercise and bringing some fun and excitement back into their lives, amazing things can happen.
They have served you for several years and paying back some of that loyalty is not that difficult.