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Skin Disease Caused by Licking in Dogs

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Acral lick disease is difficult to treat, especially if no underlying cause is identified. Your dog must get plenty of attention and exercise; counterconditioning may also be helpful. Physical restraints such as Elizabethan collars and bandaging can be used in the short term. Diet, however, should remain the same, unless an allergy is suspected. And surgery is only used if all other therapies have been exhausted.


The following medication types may be used to treat this medical condition:


1. Antibiotics

  • Based on bacterial culture and sensitivity
  • Give to your dog until infection is completely resolved, often at least six weeks

2. Systemic

  • Antihistamines
  • Psychotropic drugs may be helpful
  • Selective serotonin reuptake
  • Hormone treatment
  • Antidepressants

3. Topical

  • Topical medications should be applied with gloves
  • Dog must be kept from licking the area for 10 to 15 minutes


Living and Management


If an underlying disease is found to be the cause, treating it should help prevent the dermatitis from recurring in your dog. If it is not found, neurological causes -- obsessive compulsive or self-mutilation disorders -- may be to blame. In these cases, prognosis is guarded.


It is important that you monitor your dog's licking or chewing.



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