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Ask Dr. Ellie Your Own Question
Dr. Ellie
Dr. Ellie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 341
Experience:  emergency and critical care resident
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My 2 year old lab has started licking s leg aggressively and

Customer Question

My 2 year old lab has started licking his leg aggressively and at first I saw nothing that was causing it but now he has licked it so much it is red and raw. What can cause this and what can I do to help him?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 8 months ago.

Lots of things can contribute to a hot spot and there is a type of hot spot that results from obsessive licking called a lick granuloma. This is often related to anxiety. Sometimes anti-anxiety medication can help, other times injections of steroids into the lesion can help. The best thing to do would be to have your dog evaluated by our veterinarian to discuss if this is a lick granuloma (related to anxiety) or a simple case of irritation that your dog is perpetuating by licking at it. In the meantime, I recommend putting an e. collar on him to physically stop him from licking as licking at it will cause more irritation which will make him more likely to keep licking at it thus creating a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.

Does this help to answer your question? If you have additional questions or want to discuss your dog's case in more detail, please let me know.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
I honestly don't think it is anxiety driven, this is new and nothing has changed in his life. Heat related?
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 8 months ago.

It may be a simple case of irritation (foreign body, bug bite, etc) or something more serious, but either way the area will not heal as long as he can lick because this will cause further inflammation and make him continue to lick. Lick granulomas can pop up at any time as they are a result of self trauma and not an outside insult. Not all dogs appear to be anxious and we do not always identify a specific source of anxiety but sometimes these can respond to a combination of things including anti-anxiety medication so we presume that there is an anxiety component to it even if we cannot appreciate a reason for the anxiety.

I still recommend placing an e.collar on him until the lesion is healed completely. If he returns to licking the area after you take the collar off once the lesion is completely healed, then further investigation is warranted. They don't usually get these lesions from heat so that is less likely.

Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 7 months ago.
Hi Nancy,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Jack. How is everything going?

Dr. Ellie