Veterinarian Reviewed on December 29, 2011 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Lick Granulomas or Acral Lick Granulomas as they are called, can be a frustrating and difficult condition to treat. These lick spots are usually on the front or back legs in an area that the dog can reach and lick at constantly. Veterinary dermatologists tell us that these spots always contain bacteria and can be started by medical or behavioural conditions.
So what are the known or suggested causes of these lick spots? Not all spots may be created for the same reasons but here is a list of possible causes.
Boredom or separation anxiety–these dogs simply turn on themselves because they have nothing else to do.
Allergies may trigger excessive licking which leads to deep seated infections.
Foreign body or insect bite may trigger excess licking.
Hypothyroidism or other medical conditions can also lead to excess licking.
Spinal pain radiating down the affected limb or pain in a joint can cause the dog to relieve the pain in the only way he know how–licking and chewing
Conventional treatment of lick granulomas can include antibiotics, anti-anxiety medications, bitter sprays, wrapping the limb, laser surgery, and casting the limb. None of these treatments have ever been 100 % effective.
From a holistic standpoint, I always recommend a diet change to a homemade meat based diet that is well balanced. Plenty of exercise helps alleviate boredom for these pets. Regular chiropractic care stops the tingling component that can be associated with vertebral disc and peripheral nerve issues. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can be extremely effective for this condition. A special acupuncture technique called “Ring the Dragon” is often used. Supplements such as Omega 3 Fatty Acids, and Milk Thistle may also be helpful. Homeopathics such as Arsenica may be used in addition to Rescue Remedy, Skullcap , Valerian and Hops. The treatment depends on the diagnosis by the holistic practitioner. If your pet has this problem it would be wise to consult a holistic veterinarian who is trained in alternative medicine.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan