Lick Granuloma

What is a lick granuloma?

A lick granuloma is an open, irritant sore on the skin. They are normally found on the wrist joints on the front legs of dogs. They are less commonly found in female dogs and are very rarely diagnosed in cats.

What causes a lick granuloma?

A number of causes are attributed to lick granulomas. There is normally an initial reason for licking the site, like an insect bite, a small cut or underlying allergies. The situation then becomes complicated. Infection can set in and the act of licking can become a compulsive behavioural habit. Once this happens, the lick granuloma becomes a self-perpetuating problem. The leg becomes itchy, so your pet lick compulsively.

Due to the habit-forming nature of licking, a multifaceted treatment approach (and patience) is required.


Treatment may involve one or more of the following:

  • the use of toys and games to reduce any boredom or stress
  • medication to help suppress the itchy sensation and reduce the urge to lick
  • physically preventing the act of licking by using bandages or Elizabethan collars, or by use of sedatives
  • oral or topically applied antibiotics to combat any infection present
  • cryotherapy (freezing) or surgery to remove the affected skin

The complex nature of the problem dictates the need for a broad approach to its treatment. Despite this, and the long-term nature of any successful treatment, nearly all dogs will go on to fully recover from this condition. Your local Greencross Vets will tailor a solution to suit your individual pet. Contact your local vet for advice.

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