Laser Therapy and Lick Granulomas

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laser therapy lick granuloma


Boda is a 12 year old, M/N Golden Retriever. He has had a lick granuloma on his front leg for five years, as long as his owner has had him. He has chewed and licked obsessively at the area, and his hair is stained from his saliva. We decided to treat Boda’s lick granuloma with laser therapy to see if it would reduce his chewing. Our end goal was to completely heal the lick granuloma so that it would disappear completely.

Laser therapy is a great treatment for lick granulomas, as it helps to restore circulation, decreases swelling of tissues, and releases serotonin to promote an over-all good feeling that will often get rid of the obsessive need to chew. We hoped that these traits would accomplish our goal.

So what is a lick granuloma?

Lick granulomas are skin problems that can be caused for a wide variety of reasons (allergy, boredom etc), and are usually in a solitary location, most likely on the front or back legs. You might on your dog see a raised area of hard skin, often with no hair, and the surrounding hair might be stained a different color (Boda’s beautiful golden fur was stained red/brown from his own saliva and chewing). For a more in detail explanation about lick granulomas, try this link! (Also, check out one of my favorite websites for relevant and accurate client information for other pet conditions- There is so much false information out there, and this site is run by a veterinary community board-VIN.)

Below is a picture of Boda’s lick granuloma. Depending on severity, a lick granuloma can be larger or smaller than the one pictured, as well as more or less irritated and sometimes bleeding.

lick granuloma and laser therapy

Boda’s lick granuloma-before laser therapy

We treated Boda’s lick granuloma with laser therapy over about a two to three week period. Immediately before I began treating, the granuloma was open and bleeding, as Boda had recently been chewing on the spot. (Be aware, some treatments can cause the site to bleed more-as laser therapy improves circulation to an area).

The first treatment was applied at 784 Joules at a continuous wave pulse at 8 watts, with a concave contact headpiece. Immediately after treating one time (which took about 2 min) I chose to treat Boda again with the same protocol. I often do the protocols more than once, as the patients do really seem to enjoy the treatments, I get better results this way, and there is no overdose in treatments. It was noted that 2-3 days after treatment, the site was no longer actively bleeding.

About two to three weeks later, the same protocol was repeated (again, two times to get the desired effect).

Below is Boda’s leg after only two laser therapy treatments. NOTE: A small wart lies directly below the granuloma, the true granuloma lies above and to the right in the picture (or medially).

lick granuloma after laser therapy

Boda’s lick granuloma after laser therapy-just a small nub!

Boda’s owner is so pleased that it is almost gone, after only two treatments! Boda does occasionally lick at the area, but it has not bled or irritated him nearly as much since the treatments. So great to be able to help our pets with treatments they actually enjoy, and that doesn’t use steroids or antibiotics! Would you like to know more about lick granulomas? Feel free to send me an email!

laser therapy

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