Acral Lick Dermatitis In Cats: What Is This Feline Disease?


Do you know what acral lick dermatitis is? This particular cat illness is characterized by a raised, firm, thickened, ulcerative plaque commonly situated on the backside part of the ankle, or in between toes. This particular condition affects lots and lots of cats all over the world. Get to learn more about acral lick dermatitis in cats. Give this article a read!

Acral Lick Dermatitis in Cats: What is this?

The acral lick dermatitis in cats or neurodermatitis –a self-manipulating, stereotypical behavior. Additionally, cat may carry on an array of behavior in licking without deceptive purpose. Since the action of over grooming causes a certain discharge of endorphins on the brain, a cat will carry on the self-obnoxious pattern even when a painful granuloma acts on the surface of the skin after. Furthermore, the acral dermatitis is habitually the resultant of boredom or stress in the indoor cats, yet cats often overgroom themselves, as a response to a particular allergen or some other dermal annoyance. This needs a disparity diagnosis.

In case the cat has ulcerated, red skin on its flank or paws, it might be anguishing from the acral lick dermatitis. Moreover, the acral lick dermatitis is referred to as a grievance into the skin due to self-manipulating and extreme licking. The mere act of extreme licking if often in connection to a compulsive disorder. This is because of boredom or stress, yet it may also be a medical sign of some underlying illness. Once a granuloma acts, the cat may keep on grooming the area, thus triggering the skin to get infected, painful, and irritated. To be able to detect acral lick dermatitis in cats, a session with a vet is necessary.

Causes of Acral Lick Dermatitis

The real acral lick disease in cats is obsessive, neurological condition, which has ascended from stress. Inactivity, and boredom. Additionally, a cat that doesn’t get daily stimuli, like hunting or playing, may look for a way to amuse itself. Further, the action of grooming releases the endorphins in the brain and may fill the needs for the activities. Nevertheless, acral lick dermatitis in cats may be a self-manipulating behavior due to allergies, bacterial infection, fungal infection, neoplasia, and trauma as well.

Indicators of Acral Lick Dermatitis

The main clinical indicators of acral lick dermatitis in cats is the action of tedious, patterned licking in a part of its body. Because of the suitable location, the acral lick dermatitis usually, is visible on the cat’s carpal or wrist joints or the front limbs’ paws. The cat owners may appear moist, irritated, red abscesses on the cat’s skin and confined hair loss. Since the behaviors keep on going, these sores may develop and become granulomas. The granuloma is the hairless, pink, and plump mass, which often cause the cat’s skin to get thicken.

Prognosis of Acral Lick Dermatitis

The acral lick dermatitis may easily be identified on a physical examination, since the lick granulomas are eagerly noticeable on the cat’s skin. To be able to locate the main source of the over-grooming behavior of the cat, a vet may ask you some questions regarding the lifestyle of the cat itself. You might presume to be questioned about the cat’s day-to-day routine, when it plays, otherwise, if it gets to spend some time outdoors. Furthermore, the vet may also ask regarding any current changes at home, just like a new baby or pet that might have cause stress to the cat. Felines are animals of routine, and may easily come to be distressed with any change, thus any info you will need to compromise is beneficial in the process of prognosis.

Treatments for Acral Lick Dermatitis

The acral lick dermatitis is hard to treat, most especially if there is no underlying cause. Furthermore, physical restraints like bandaging may be essential in the short term, in order to prevent the cat from biting or licking the irritated area. Moreover, the cat may also need to get a lot of attention, as well as exercise, in order to discount whatever problems in connection to boredom and anxiety.

If the vet makes a prognosis based mainly in behavioral issues, counter-conditioning might be beneficial. If not, any main household changes must be avoided when possible, or at least a safe space must be provided for the cat so that the environmental stressors aren’t an issue. Except when an allergy is assumed, diet must stay the same. Surgical operation is just recommendable in case all the other therapies have been drained.

The following types of medication might be used in treating acral lick dermatitis:

  • Topical

-Topical acral lick dermatitis medications must be applied using gloves, in order to avoid contamination.

-Cats need to be kept from licking the cured area for about 10-15 mins.

  • Systemic


-Hormone treatment

-Selective serotonin reuptake

-Psychotropic drugs


  • Antibiotics

-Based on the bacterial sensitivity and culture

Given to the pet up until the infection is entirely resolved, often at least 6 weeks.

It is so important that you monitor the licking and chewing habit of your cat. Any changes might be a call for concern.


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