Can you see the wet hair around her elbow?
Pets lick for a reason. They lick because something itches, or hurts them. In Belle's case it was because her elbow was hurting her.
When I asked where Belle spent most of her time her parents told me that it was on the ceramic tile floors of the kitchen.
Belle is a Border Collie who spends her winters in the house with the inside temperature at about 65 degrees. Doesn't sound too bad until you add a thick dense long fur coat to the mix. Belle was a hot dog in the house so she was seeking the coolest place she could find, the hard, cool, ceramic tile floor.
When you are hot you lie down, stretch out and cover as much hairless surface area as possible on the coolest place you can find. Which is exactly what this smartie-pants Border Collie Belle was doing.
The problem with bony joints on hard floors is the same problem people confined to hospital beds have; bedsores! Belle had the equivalent of a bed sore, what we call a decubitus ulcer, or pressure sore.
She was licking to show us where it was hurting, but the result of licking can often be further traumatizing the wound and seeding it with bacteria.
Our plan for Belle consisted off the following;
1. Laser therapy twice weekly for three weeks, or, if the lesion persisted weekly therapy until closed.
2. Anti-licking deterrents. An e-collar, or protective leggings. Belle's mom is a crafty wizard when it comes to sewing. She made her these beautiful, soft fleece leggings. They slide on her legs, close at her shoulders with velcro and are cushioned at the elbows. Belle is both fashionable and protected. She wears them in the house and on walks. They are washable and do exactly what they are made to; they protect her bony elbows from the hard floors.
After 4 weeks her ulcer has closed and is not bothering her at all. I expect that she will continue to grown hair back on her elbow and as long as she has her legging on she won't have this problem again.
Belle's cost of treatment was;
Initial exam $50
Laser treatments $40 each session
Topical antibiotics and cleaner $20
For those of us less crafty, there is a commercially available alternative called DogLeggs.
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