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Ask Ola Barrett Your Own Question
Ola Barrett
Ola Barrett,
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 271
Experience:  Veterinarian at Lake Chatuge Animal Hospital
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Our german shepherd has an open wound on his rear leg that

Customer Question

our german shepherd has an open wound on his rear leg that he is constantly licking, we have been taking him to the vet for treatment for six months and the wound has only gotten larger to the point where he has licked open to the point bone is exposed in his one toe, he has been on anti biotics for six months to no avail and we try to bandage with an ointment applied, but he eats everything off of it to get back to licking it, we have also tried all available rstraint, three different cones, two inflatable collars, several combinations, now trying a cage muzzle, he gets through all of them. Need help on what to do to heal the wound if we can get him restrained from licking it. PLEASE HELP
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 6 months ago.

Hello, I am Dr Ola and I would be happy to address your questions about Niko. In my experience, the formation of lick granulomas usually have many factors at play. Typically, they occur in dogs that are incredibly clever breeds that require a lot of stimulation in their environments and/or "a job", with GSD being at the top of the list! It usually starts out as a little bit of an obsessive compulsive behavior that starts the compulsive, repetitive licking of the the same area. The licking with moisten the skin to the point that it breaks down the skin barrier and allows for bacteria on the skin and in the environment to set up a secondary infection. Once the infection takes place, it is accompanied by an increase in licking behavior both from the compulsive behavior as well as the irritation from the histamine release and ability of the immune system to fight the infection.

If your veterinarian hasn't already done so (and assuming Niko has no underlying conditions or on any medications that would contraindicate this), I recommend the additional of an oral steroid that can be tapered over the course of the antibiotic period length. The steroid will decrease inflammation and "itching" sensation to distract him from licking the area. Most lick granulomas result in chronic skin infection and require more than one antibiotic for resolution at a minimum of 3-4 weeks. I would also request if Niko can be prescribed with a mild anti-anxiety medication for the duration of time that it is healing; both to calm him as well as allow you to keep the area bandaged until it has healed some what.

If you are in an area where you can find a veterinarian that is certified in acupuncture (like myself), a good method to try is placement of the acupuncture needles surrounding the granuloma. This usually involves a few treatment sessions but works to increase blood supply to the area, decrease inflammation and promote natural healing. It can work wonders!

Lick granulomas can be very frustrating to treat but the key and rarely involves one magic remedy. It usually requires the correct oral medications, calming the anxiety component that contributed to its origin as well as giving it time to heal properly so be patient!

f you are happy with my response, please take the time to rate my answer to your question about Lucky. This ensures I receive feedback as well as credit for my professional time and is highly appreciated..

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
this was very helpful. Thank you for your thorough response
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
you had suggested an oral steroid as well as a combination of antibiotics to help heal lick granuloma on our german shepherd. What would the combination of antibiotics be? Thank you
Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 6 months ago.

Generally, I begin I with a broad spectrum cephalosporin such as Simplicef or Cephalexin. If infection doesn't improve, I will add in another such as Clindamycin or Gentamycin as long as no gastrointestinal difficulties or upset occurs! Let me know if I can further:)

Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 6 months ago.

Let me know if you have additional questions about anything? Also, please take the time and considerate gesture to rate our conversation as "excellent" so I may receive payment for answering your question?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you for your help. This was extremely helpful information. Excellent. Thank you, Mark
Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 6 months ago.

I am glad to hear it! However, a message in the chat area will not be recorded for my benefit. Please make sure to rate the response with Just Answer with 5 out of 5 stars in order that I may receive credit?

Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 6 months ago.

Happy New Year.. please rate my response appropriately. Thank you:)

Expert:  Ola Barrett replied 6 months ago.
Hi Mark,

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

Ola Barrett