What is a lick granuloma?
Also known as acral lick dermatitis, this problem begins as an area of hair loss and reddened skin most commonly on the wrist or carpal joint on the front legs. It often looks like a "hot spot". These differ from "hot spots" in that they persist despite treatment. They are often associated with chronic, persistent licking, especially when the pet is alone or when the family is sleeping.
Is there any breed disposition?
The condition occurs mainly in medium to large breeds, particularly Dobermans,Great Danes, , Retrievers and Irish Setters. However, any breed may developacral lick dermatitis.
What is the cause?
The exact cause of acral lick dermatitis is unknown. Psychological factors such asstress or boredom may initiate the condition. It should be noted that although itcan occur on the hind limbs, the anterior and lateral aspects of the forelimbs aremost commonly affected. These are areas that the dog can constantly lick whilelying in a normal position. The chronic nature of the condition is often associatedwith a deep bacterial infection. It is important to distinguish between psycho-logical and physiological causes in order to provide the proper treatment.
How is it diagnosed?
The site and appearance of the lesion is a major guide to diagnosis.
Skin biopsies are often taken if
(a) there is no response to treatment and
(b) to rule out othercauses such as mange or tumor.
The underlying joint may be radiographed todetermine if arthritis is present.
What is the treatment?
The treatment will vary depending on your pet's condition. Long term antibiotics, topical and oral anti-inflammatory medications, low-wattage laser therapy and psychoactive medications are some of the common treatments for acral lick dermatitis.