Acral Lick Dermatitis
What is Acral Lick Dermatitis?
Also known as Acral Lick Granuloma, this is a thickened, hairless, or ulcerative area of the skin, most often located on the top of the wrist or hock area, caused by excessive licking of that area.
How does my dog get Acral Lick Dermatitis?
The dog (and rarely, cat) licks at one place on its skin to the point of causing hair loss and skin damage. Sometimes there is a history of injury to that area or a sensory nerve disorder but more often there is not. Psychological causes, for example, boredom or obsesseive compulsive disorders, may be a factor.
How do I know if my dog has Acral Lick Dermatitis?
The initial sign is a small area of hair loss, usually on one or more legs in a location the dog can easily lick. You may see your dog licking the area excessively. Your veterinarian may perform skin scrapings to rule out mites, fungus, or bacterial infection. Skin tests or food-elimination diets may be performed to check for allergies.
What can I do about Acral Lick Dermatitis?
Prevent your dog from licking at the area. You can bandage the affected area, or have the dog wear an Elizabethan collar. Keep the dog otherwise occupied, and give him plenty of exercise. Treat any underlying problems. Antibiotics, corticosteroids, and behavior modification drugs are frequently tried. Drug therapy to sedate the dog when you can't supervise, or to combat compulsive behavior, may be helpful. This is an extremely frustrating condition requiring a case by case plan to seek resolution.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my dog from getting Acral Lick Dermatitis?
Keep your dog well-exercised and occupied. If possible, do not leave him alone or crated for long periods.
Are there certain breeds that get Acral Lick Dermatitis more often?
Large breeds are more often affected than small breeds. It is seen most often in German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, English Setters, Irish Setters, Chinese Shar-Peis, and Weimaraners.