All About Acral Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Acral lick granuloma is a self-induced dermatological condition in dogs caused by excessively licking a particular spot, usually a lower leg. In addition to chronic licking, signs and symptoms of a lick granuloma include:

  • Hair discoloration and/or loss
  • Skin Sores and Lesions
  • Abnormal Increase of Cells (Hyperplasia)
  • Development of Fibrous Skin and Tissues
  • Localized Bone Growth

Although it can affect any dog, acral lick granuloma is more common in older dogs and particular breeds, including Doberman pinschers, pointers, German short-haired pointers, German shepherds, golden retrievers, Labrador retrievers and great Danes. Although uncomfortable for the dog, the condition is not life-threatening.

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Common Causes of Acral Lick Granuloma

The excessive licking that leads to an acral lick granuloma is a symptom of a greater issue, usually a physiological and/or psychological problem. To effectively treat an acral lick granuloma, the underlying cause must be diagnosed and treated.

Common causes include:

  • Allergies – Dogs should be evaluated for sensitivity to potential food or environmental allergens.
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions – Arthritis and joint pain cause licking.
  • Psychological Issues – Fear, anxiety, boredom and/or obsessive compulsive disorder often contribute or are solely responsible.
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Treatment of Acral Lick Granuloma

Acral lick granuloma treatments begin with addressing the underlying issue. If our veterinarian identifies a medical problem, we will administer treatment to resolve the issue. Treatments might include allergy medications, laser therapy and acupuncture. If a psychological or behavioral issue seems to be the root of the problem, we might try psychopharmacological medications, behavior modification training and/or a change in your pet’s environment or routine.

Due to the complex reasons why dogs lick, this stubborn dermatological disease can be difficult to treat. In some cases, we might be unable to identify the underlying cause of acral lick granuloma. In these cases, the problem may never be resolved. If you notice a granuloma or observe your dog licking excessively, we encourage you to visit a Pet Health veterinarian to begin the process of diagnosis and treatment right away.


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Great place. We’ve been to many vets throughout our dogs 7 years life span. This is the best place we’ve been to so far. Dr. Renee Lewis has a great presence and our dog was surprisingly extremely calm around her (he like every other dog, don’t like vets..).

This clinic is not very pushy wanting to do ‘extra’ work to create a larger bill. 

Dr. Lewis also showed that she really cared and took her time to get to know our dog, and explaining everything after the surgery. 

I’m done with Veterinaries that only cares about profit and rush through the consultation because they’re overbooked!

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Pet Health Animal Hospital is simply amazing. We found Dr. B and his team shortly after adopting our first dog. Being new to the area, we were concerned with finding the right vet that cared about our dog as much as we did. Lucky enough, we walked right into the perfect vet. From overnight stays to surgeries, Dr B and his team make us feel so comfortable, put any concern at ease, and are masters of communication. There is never a question left unanswered, or an update left undelivered. The whole team knows our dogs when we walk in, and our dogs are always excited and sprinting to get into the vet to see them. I tell people all the time that my favorite part of living in Las Vegas is Pet Health Animal Hospital!

– Andrew G.

The doctors and assistants do an amazing job here. I wasn’t sure what to do with my Sasha so I brought her in fearing the worst. Dr. Jessica Pizzillo was simply the best. She was able to remove the growth the same day and at a fraction of the cost of other estimates I had received, all while putting my Sasha through the least amount of trauma possible.

The front desk staff was also very kind and understanding when it comes to stressful situations like this. Stephanie and the rest of the staff made me feel comfortable and were very professional.

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