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02 Mar 2004

Please help
I have a maltese who is 11years old. she does not have a stresful life, sleeps indoors and we love her to bits. the problem is she is licking the back of her left foot nonstop. it is so bad that it is swollen and has these little blood spots on it. sometimes she does it so bad that she can hardly walk. do you know maybe why she is doing this?? what can we do to make her stop doing this? Please can you help?
Answer 328 views

01 Jan 0001

There are two main possible reasons. One, there is a problem in the foot like pain, arthritis, infection, a tumour, or something similar that must be treated locally. This is determined on a thorough clinical examination. Secondly, the problem may be with obsessive compulsive behaviour (OCD) that results in constant licking of the toes or feet. If this is really the problem, it may respond very well to the same drugs that we use to treat OCD in people, like the antidepressant type drugs. If there are open sores or infection as result of the licking, that should also be treated at the same time. This type of treatment can be very successful and rewarding, much more so than only treating the foot (in the case of OCD). Your vet will have to examine her and find the correct treatment specific for her requirements. It is also good idea to teach her that it is wrong to lick, by simply telling her "No!" every time she does it.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town
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