Golden Retriever

Acral Lick Granuloma

An acral lick granuloma is a lesion, usually located on the distal part of one of the limbs of dogs, which is caused or worsened by the animal's obsessive licking of it. Damaged cells are believed to release pain-relieving endorphins that addict the dog to the licking and mutilation of the lesion.

The possible causes of the itching and licking behavior include:


Clinically known as atopy, inhalant allergy is a hypersensitivity to environmental allergens manifested through irritation of the skin and ears. Atopy occurs in 10 to 15 percent of the dog population and tends first to occur when the canine is between one to two years old. Feline atopy can occur at any age. It is not uncommon for animals to have atopy in conjunction with other allergies such as food hypersensitivity and flea allergy dermatitis.

Juvenile Cellulitis

Initial signs include swelling of the face (eyelids, lips and muzzle) that progresses to draining pustules and crusts. The earflaps and ear canals are often swollen and ooze pus. The lymph nodes often become swollen, especially those behind the jaw. The lesions may be painful and some puppies are lethargic, have a fever and won’t eat.


Panniculitis often appears as deep nodules that can occur singly or affect multiple areas of the body.  The nodules can be firm or soft and mobile.  The lesions can eventually become cystic and ulcerate, often draining an oily, yellowish-brown to bloody discharge.

Postclipping alopecia

With an overall healthy dog and the history of clipping and lack of hair regrowth at the surgical or catheter sites the diagnosis of postclipping alopecia is straightforward. It has historically been suggested that evaluation of blood, urine, and hormone levels, in addition to skin biopsy should be performed in these cases. Although somewhat controversial, if your pet is otherwise healthy the additional testing is likely not necessary.

Reactive Histiocytosis

Cutaneous histiocytosis:  Lesions typically are multiple, red plaques or nodules that occur anywhere on the body.  Nodules may be ulcerated, but are not usually painful or itchy. Some dogs have lesions that remain confined to the nose, resulting in a “clown-nose” appearance.  Nodules may wax and wane, or regress and then appear elsewhere on the body. 
Systemic histiocytosis:  Clinical signs vary with the severity of the disease.  The cutaneous signs can be very similar to cutaneous histiocytosis, but nodules can involve the eyelids and nasal mucosa as well.