What is Lick Granuloma?

November 11, 2016 in Aerowood Animal Hospital


Lick granuloma, also known as acral lick dermatitis (ALD), is an injury to a dog’s skin caused by constant licking. The persistent licking causes the skin to become inflamed and thickened. This leads to a cycle of itching and licking.


In addition to the constant licking, other symptoms include chewing of the area, missing hair and baldness, ulcerations, thickened skin, and hard raised bumps. Lick granuloma is most common on the front side of the front legs between the elbow and toes or on the back of the ankle or heel. The condition most often occurs in middle-aged, large-breed dogs such as Doberman Pinschers, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, Irish and English Setters, Akitas, Dalmatians, Shar-peis and Weimaraners.


Itchy skin from allergies or bacterial infections is linked to most cases of lick granuloma. Other causes can include trauma to the lick site such as a fracture, post-surgery discomfort, an insect bite, a foreign body trapped in the skin, arthritis, and cancer. Stress and separation anxiety can also be factors in obsessive licking.


It is important to determine the underlying cause of the licking and itching along with treating the skin wounds. Otherwise, the problem will recur. The best way to avoid a painful, infected lick granuloma in your dog is to deal with obsessive licking behavior as soon as you become aware of it.

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