Laurie's Blogs.


Nov 2013

Compulsive Licking

Hi Laurie!

I'm a vet from Italy, we met at the STAAR last June....and I have a question for you :o)


I have an IVDD dachshund, post surgery T13-L1(right ventrolateral herniation). 

He is recovering well, almost regained all his normal functions but shows compulsive licking of his rear toes in the areas corresponding to L6-L7. His left rear is slightly worse from the motor-control point of view and also he has more licking lesions on his left-hind also. 


The owner says the dog had this problem also before surgery, when he was apparently well, but now the situation is worse. She says that the dog is calm and suddenly starts to lick his toes.

His neurologist says this is a dermatological problem......but I think it could be a paraesthesia problem, worsened perhaps by surgery or the spinal trauma related to IVDD.


So the question is, "Can you give me the title of the article on lick granulomas so I can show to the neurologist?" Otherwise he will not trust me :o)

And....what can I do to address this problem? What things should I evaluate in order to confirm my suspicion and treat the problem?


Thank you!! 

I appreciate your work on the blog and all your videos and articles!


I hope to see you soon,



Hello M!


My husband and I were just reminiscing about Italy tonight... we are on our last bottle of olive oil that we brought back from Italy with us!!


Okay... so as for your dog.  I will attach the paper that discusses lick granulomas and nerve conduction deficits.

As for assessing...

I would palpate for pain at L6 & L7 - direct pressure downward, and/or lateral pressures.

You could try 'stretching' the sciatic nerve to see if it elicits a chewing reaction or whether the movement is less on the left than the right:  In side lying, flex the hip, extend the stifle, flex the tarsus and extend the toes.  IF you do get a reaction or a sudden abrupt stop to the movement (that is less movement than on the other side), then try do the same stretch but while someone is pulling on the dog's tail  (opening up the disc & nerve root foramen in the caudal Lumbar Spine).


As for treatment...

Settle inflammation:  Laser or ultrasound

Increase joint space:  Tail pulls (as home exercise)...  & flexion mobilizations (in side lying, with your knee up against the dog's tummy, hold L5 cranially with your finger tips and then use your other hand to pull his rump into flexion (around your knee).

Build stabilization muscles: E-stim with very small pads on the affected side... (presuming that he has atrophy of the small rotational muscles)... I use 5 pulses per second.


I hope this makes sense!  Best of luck!




Journal Article Reference:

Steiss JE, Bradley DM, MacDonald J et al.  'Letter to the Editor.'  Veterinary Dermatology 1995, 6(2): 115 - 116.


Hi Laurie

you definitely helped fact the dog HAS pain during stretching of sciatic nerve ++ on his left (the worse one), and no pain with tail pulling.

So thank I'm waiting for the answer of the neurologist  :o))


ps. if you want we can organize a smuggling of olive oil from Italy !! :O)


Bye! M


Hey M!

Okay... well that is good and not so good all at the same time!

But at least you are closer to figuring this out.

Keep tail pulling... maybe you can make a change!


PS  And I will take you up on olive oil smuggling when we are next in the same place at the same time!  I'll pay for as much as you can smuggle!!!