Lick granuloma is caused when a dog constantly licks a certain spot on its body, which can develop into small sores that can bleed and become infected if untreated.
Chances are, your dog has suffered from lick granuloma at some stage in their life. These spots commonly appear in the lower leg area, and usually are no cause for concern, however they can cause a few issues if your dog continues to lick or bite the same spot without giving it time to heal.
The root cause of the condition can be both physical and psychological, which can make diagnosis quite difficult in certain cases. Here are some behaviours and triggers to look out for in your dog:
- Anxiety and stress-induced: Dogs who experience anxiety or stress from situations such as rapid environmental changes, separation from their owners, or sudden changes in their daily routines can develop lick granuloma as they utilise licking as a tool to relieve stress
- Inadequate exercise: If dogs do not receive adequate and regular exercise, they will find ways to release their energy in counterproductive behaviour such as destroying property, pacing, and constant licking of feet and legs which may lead to the development of lick granuloma.
- Wound licking: Dogs instinctively lick wounds to clean the area and help it heal. It’s easy to see how lick granulomas can develop when a dog becomes overzealous with their wound licking.
- Itchy spots: Itchy spots can occur when your dog has an allergic reaction to something in its environment such as grass or food. The itching is relieved by constant licking or biting which in turn causes lick granuloma
- Arthritis: Joint pain can cause your dog to excessively lick an area and develop a sore spot.
If your dog has sore spots on its body that are causing excessive licking, you need to seek help from your Vet who can diagnose the root cause of the problem and provide the right treatment.
The treatment will vary depending on the cause. Treatment can be as simple as a topical cream, or in more extreme cases your Vet may recommend an Elizabethan collar to break the cycle and allow the spot to heal.