The acral lick granuloma is an illness among dogs characterized by the formation of an area in his body which is without hair, covered with lumped thick skin, and has an angry red color. Sometimes there is an accompanying infection, but sometimes there isn’t any. Such area can be described as traumatized, but this trauma was self-inflicted. That is, the dog’s own actions mainly led to the formation of the ganuloma.
The acral lick granuloma, which occurs mostly in the limbs, usually begins when a part of the dog’s body becomes irritated. When irritated, substances, such as histamine, are released, inducing the dog to lick, bite, or chew the affected area. The irritation occurs when any of the following happens:
· Insect bites – Irksome bites may come from mosquitoes, ants and other similar bugs.
· Wounds – Painful wounds, such as cuts and lacerations, can endlessly bother the dog even though these are already on the way to healing.
· Implanted foreign objects – Objects, such as wood splinters and plant thorns, that have found their way underneath the dog’s skin can pester for quite a long time.
· Infections – Exposure of wounds or open skin to harmful microorganisms can result to a bad skin infection.
· Allergies – The dog is also subject to allergies, although such is quite rare.
When any of the above occurs, the automatic reaction of dogs is to lick the affected area. The constant and continuous licking will transform the inflamed areas, making them hardened, bulging, swollen, and reddish. Hair can no longer grow in such areas. The affected areas may be small or large. There is no characteristic shape but most are circular.
There are few cases of acral lick granuloma that seems to occur for no apparent reason at all. The dog simply started licking his limb. Vets explained this as similar to the formation of bad habits in people.
To address this certain skin problem, several treatments have been employed: Here are some of them:
· Topical solutions – These are solutions that are applied on the irritated area and these solutions have a bad taste. In theory, the taste will make a dog think twice before licking the area again. But the taste of dogs is something that has not been well studied. That is, some dogs find the taste of these topical solutions offensive, but other dogs don’t mind the taste at all.
· Bandaging – To block the area, some owners cover it with a bandage. The bandage will prevent the dog from licking it. But some dogs are quite persistent. That is, they chew the bandage off and then gain access to the abused area.
· Elizabethan collars – This type of collar will limit the movement of the dog’s head. Such will prevent the dog from reaching the mistreated area. Unfortunately, when such area has recovered and healed, the dog may still chew and bite it out of habit.
· Clomipramine – It is a drug designed to change the neuro-transmitting hormones inside the brain. The brain is not supposed to recognize the dog’s urge to lick that specific area. If this medicine is successful, some dogs may still need to take it for the rest of his life. Others dogs can be weaned off it.