- Type Disease
Acral Lick Dermatitis (lick granuloma)
This is a complex disorder in which dogs lick continuously at an area on their leg , which becomes raw, weeping, and ulcerated. The cause is unknown but inheritance may play a role, since certain breeds are affected more commonly. Boredom or frustration are considered contributing factors. Other possibilities include a disorder of the sensory nerves, or an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- How Transferred
No mode of inheritance has been established.
- What to Look for
Owners are generally amazed by the amount of damage a dog can do to his/her limb simply by continuous licking. Frequently the affected area becomes secondarily infected (pyoderma).\nBoredom and frustration are thought to play a role in this condition, which is often seen in highly intelligent dogs who spend much of their day alone.
It is important to rule out any underlying cause of the condition. Your veterinarian will likely do a skin biopsy for this purpose. This is a simple procedure, done with local anesthetic, in which your veterinarian removes a small sample of your dog's skin for examination by a veterinary pathologist.
Lick granulomas can be difficult for veterinarians to treat, and frustrating for the owner. Because boredom and frustration are thought to play a role in this condition, your veterinarian will likely discuss with you environmental enrichment and behavior modification for your dog. S/he may prescribe certain drugs with anti-depressant or anti-anxiety properties for short periods, relying on your help in assessing the effects. Topical corticosteroids may help as well.\nAs the area is frequently secondarily affected, anti-bacterial therapy may be necessary.
- Veterinarian Information
Rule-outs include neoplasia, pressure point granulomas, various infectious agents, underlying sensitivities, allergies, histiocytomas, mastocytomas.
- Breeding Considerations
Because inheritance appears to play a role in this complex condition, it is preferable not to breed dogs in whom acral lick dermatitis is a problem.
- Known Breeds Affected
Doberman pinscher\nGerman shepherd\nIrish setter\nLabrador retriever\nGreat Dane