When your dog spends an inordinate amount of time licking, a raised, oozing sore may develop on his leg. An acral lick granuloma may be considered a behavioral problem, often with an underlying cause. In addition to infectious causes, anxiety behaviors may contribute to these sores.
Your veterinarian will take a look at your dog's history and behavior to diagnose Fido’s underlying cause for excessive licking. A lack of exercise or separation anxiety may lead to compulsive licking. Arthritis or a sprain can lead to licking at the injury, while allergies can make your dog lick his paws. Bacterial and fungal infections contribute to licking, as well. The history isolates potential causes, while diagnostic tests may be needed to rule out the rest. Fungal cultures, skin cytology or allergy testing all may be necessary.
Treatment options are available but may be time intensive. With a behavioral cause, behavioral modification therapy and medication may be needed. Antibiotics are used with bacterial infections. Pain medication is given for injuries. Your veterinarian can discuss her recommendations to get Fido back in tip-top shape.
Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.