The word acral refers to the outer parts of the body like legs or toes or ears. And a granuloma is where a bunch of immune cells get together and make a wall to try to keep bad stuff out of the body, such as bacteria or fungi. But a granuloma doesn't really look like a wall. It just looks like pink, moist skin that has an inflammation.
|Granuloma cells under a microscope|
But other times there isn't really any physical reason why a dog starts licking. Instead, the dog has a psychological reason, like maybe the dog is bored or stressed or has separation anxiety. This especially happens to large dogs who need a lot of exercise, but they are not getting it, and maybe they are also being left alone all day. So they start licking themselves, and this gives them something to do to pass the time. And just the act of licking can make a dog feel better, like he is sort of comforting himself. The breeds that most often get lick granulomas are: Dalmatians, Dobermans, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters (and other setters), Golden Retrievers, Border Collies, and German Shepherds.
The sad part about lick granulomas is that they are really hard to get rid of. If you can keep your dog from licking the spot long enough for it to heal up, then it's likely the dog will go back to licking it again later on. The best thing to do is to catch the granuloma when it is still very small and before the dog has formed a habit of licking there. Because, as you know, old habits are really hard to break.
I am happy to say that none of the dogs in my family have any lick granulomas. But whenever Mel has to have his leg shaved so a catheter thing can be put in, he will start licking that leg and making it all pink and hairless. So Mom has to watch him, and when he starts doing all that licking, she has to put a muzzle on him for several days until the place is healed up.
Okay, well, that's it for today. There only seems to be so much you can say about lick granulomas, and I think maybe I've said it all!