Lick Granuloma In Dogs: Causes, Signs & Treatments

Have you heard of lick granulomas before? If you already have a pet, you may already be aware of how difficult they are to care for.

Let’s take a look at what this is all about, how you can determine if your dog has it and how you can help your pup get better.

What is lick granuloma in dogs?

A lick granuloma is a red, painful area of skin formed by your dog licking at the same spot repeatedly. Most lick granulomas form in a place that is convenient for the dog to reach, such as the left foreleg, which is simple to reach while the dog is lying down.

Many lick granulomas are the result of an underlying irritating condition, although the itching is usually localised rather than widespread.

In other situations, the licking might be a sign of discomfort. For example, arthritis in elderly dogs that was prompted by a trauma in the region may cause dogs to lick a part of their body excessively.

The process of licking is deemed to release endorphins in the dog's brain. The dog quickly learns that licking produces this pleasurable sensation and continues to lick.

A fleshy pink lump known as a granuloma may form at the location as the process progresses. If infected, the region will be wet all the time and may become extremely red and inflamed.

What dog breed suffers from lick granuloma the most?

Lick granuloma is quite common and can affect any dog. However, it often affects a select large breed of dogs more commonly than others. Here are some examples of dogs that you need to keep a watch out for lick granuloma symptoms:

  • Great Danes
  • Irish setters
  • Golden retrievers
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Doberman pinschers
  • Dalmations
  • Akitas

Why does my dog have lick granuloma?

There is no one, conclusive aetiology for all cases of lick granuloma. On the other hand, lick granulomas in dogs are derived from three main problems:

  • a bacterial component that aggravates irritation and can be difficult to cure
  • allergies, arthritis, or nervousness, or an underlying problem that prompted the pet to begin licking.
  • a dog's behavioural component that causes obsessive licking

Whatever the primary reason, that bacterium is a component of what causes subsequent infection and discomfort.

The lick granuloma will not be fully cured until all aspects of the disease are treated. Furthermore, the licking is usually episodic, necessitating many rounds of treatments.

Signs your dog has lick granuloma

Lick granulomas all have one symptom in common: excessive licking of the skin in one area, which can be problematic.

The top of the wrist, around the ankle, and in between or on top of the toes are the most often affected regions of the body.

Other signs and symptoms include itchiness, hair loss, redden nodules and as a result of being licked so often, the skin has eroded or ulcerated.

Treatment for lick granuloma

Topical ointment

Lotion, cream, or ointment administered directly to the lick granuloma are examples of topical ointments. These medicines are usually a mix of antibiotics, steroids, anti-inflammatories, capsaicin, and pain relievers.

You can also opt for other alternatives. For example, you can seek topical ointment that has honey in it. This is because honey helps in stopping bacterial growth, promotes healing and soothes your dog’s skin.

Fresh aloe gel

The antimicrobial properties of aloe vera destroy germs that might infect irritated skin. It works effectively for lick granulomas, heat rash, and hot spots. Its anti-inflammatory and cooling qualities provide relief.

Aloe vera can help to speed up the healing of skin rashes, as well as give comfort and reduce swelling.

Other treatments are required to cure lick granuloma, but aloe can help reduce your dog's pain and itching. It can be used three to four times each day.

Medication

You can consult with your veterinarian to find out which medications can help your dog overcome this problem.

Generally, skin infections and allergies are treated with antibiotics and antihistamines taken orally. The cost is determined by the size of the dog, the drug used, and the length of time the dog must be treated.

Behavioural therapy

This might involve the owner spending more time with the dog, acquiring a friend for the dog, training classes, medication therapy, or visiting an animal behaviour professional.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a wide range of applications, including treating a dog's lick granuloma. This is a natural product made from apples that contain important elements including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Apart from that, it has antibacterial and antifungal characteristics that help to boost the immune system, treat localised regions, and relieve itching.

Alternative therapies

In certain situations, cold laser treatment and the Assisi loop (a pulsed electromagnetic frequency device) can assist in helping your dog with lick granuloma.

Acupuncture may be a great addition to a chronic treatment plan. Request that a chiropractor examine your dog for any misalignments. There might be a source of concealed pain that causes licking.

Working with a homoeopathic veterinarian or practitioner is also an option. Even if the licking is psychological, homoeopathy can address the underlying causes.

Your homoeopath will look at your dog's entire health as well as the physical issues. As a result, they will select a treatment and following remedies to treat the lick granuloma.

Moreover, you can try using oils to treat lick granuloma. For example, you can give your dog olive oil by including it in its food or apply it to the infected area. This will help reduce inflammation and soothe its skin.

Change in diet

Consider switching from commercial pet food to a home-prepared diet when it's time to reintroduce food. This is a simple, effective way to avoid processed grains, soy, chemical preservatives, and other difficult-to-digest or inferior-quality ingredients that can cause hot spots and skin irritations.

If you're unable to create a home-cooked diet for your dog, changing the dog's commercial food to a higher-quality protein-based food may suffice.

For instance, you can feed it a raw food diet. PetCubes' raw dog food can be the one for you. This diet has all the nutrients your dog can get and since it has a high moisture content, your cat will always be hydrated.

Should I cover a lick granuloma?

If you cover the lick granuloma, your dog may begin to lick another area, resulting in a secondary granuloma.

However, once you've started treating the wound, you'll want to cover it to keep the medication from being licked off. Apply a soft, non-stick bandage to the wound, being careful not to over tighten it. This isn't a solution for everyone because many dogs will lick or chew the bandage off and even eat it.

To persuade your dog to quit bothering the wound while it heals, you may need to use an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) or a cone.

How to prevent this?

The easiest approach to avoid lick granulomas in dogs is to prevent them from developing in the first place. If you see your dog licking one region of his body more than normal, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid a minor issue becoming more serious and difficult to resolve.

Lick granulomas can be avoided by having your dog checked once a year and treating any underlying causes as soon as feasible.

Additionally, playtime and brain-stimulating activities are essential for a well-balanced dog. It also needs a well-balanced, whole-food diet, as well as a regular daily schedule and connection with you. PetCubes has a variety of dog food you can choose from such as raw food or gently cooked dog food.

When a dog is crated for several hours a day, it becomes lonely and bored. Anxiety-related behaviours such as persistent licking are exacerbated as a result.

Increasing the quantity of activity your dog receives is often a smart place to start. Large breed dogs require a lot of exercises. Its pent-up energy can be released via exercise.

Longer walks or more time spent chasing a ball equals less licking time. And a happy dog is a weary dog. Adding engaging toys to your dog's environment helps keep its mind and body engaged.

Conclusion

Providing enough sleep, exercise, playing with you, and pleasurable time with other pups can all help to reduce your dog's risk of developing stress-related lick granuloma. Just remember to visit your local vet if the problem persists as the longer you wait, the harder it is to repair.

Reviewed by: 

Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.

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