Ask Seth: What causes a "lick granuloma"?

Why does my Weimaraner, “Smokey” lick the top of his paw constantly? My veterinarian called it a “Lick Granuloma”. What are the possible causes of this condition?

Many veterinary dermatologists believe a Lick Granuloma in dogs is caused by boredom. The licking activity helps pass the time. There can be psychological stimuli, like separation anxiety, that results in self-stimulations and focuses your dog’s concentration to licking a particular area for an extended period of time. This is your dog’s way of relieving stress. Licking is also thought to release hormones that result in a euphoric sensation to the dog. There could be other causes which your veterinarian will have to rule out in order to determine if this behavior is psychological or not.

The following are possible causes for this behavior:

  • An allergic dermatitis that has resulted in inflammation and pruritus (itching).
  • A foreign body such as a bee sting or a splinter that has lodged itself in your dog’s paw and caused him to focus on this area.
  • Bone or joint pain can draw attention to the area that is being licked. Licking helps to ease the pain.
  • A condition known as hypothyroidism (low thyroid function), which your veterinarian will confirm with a simple blood test.

Treatment for granuloma varies for each individual case, and your veterinarian will determine what is best for Smokey.

Did your dog ever lick its paw constantly? What was the dignosis?

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