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Dog pulling hair out of wrist.

Species: Dog
Breed: golden
Age: Less than 3 mon
Well,
Looks like there was an infection and he's on zeniquin 100 for 14d now. Thanks for your help.

Here's a more insidious issue.

Since about Halloween half the time I've come home from work Max has ripped out fur (90% of its from his right front wrist).
It's not extreme and it's never down to the skin, but it looks like a really bad punk hairdo on his arm.

The vet says it's boredom. I've taken him on long walks before work and lunch. He is sitting beside the window. He has the tv going all day. I put ropes and kongs in his cage. Nothing helps!

It's upsetting to see.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, glad to hear that this was as simple as an infection. Max sure keeps you busy, huh?

Now, about the fur pulling...The most common reason for a dog to do this is because they have developed a bad habit. It's kind of like a kid who sucks his thumb. We often say it is because of "boredom" but really I don't think anyone knows why some dogs do this.

If this is the case, then the way to fix it is to keep him from having access to licking the area. This could mean bandaging it (i.e. with a sock), or putting something yucky tasting on it like Bitter Apple. It sometimes takes a few weeks to even a couple of months of denying him access before this habit is broken.

Another possibility is if there is some pain in that joint. This is a tough one to judge. If this were my case I may consider either taking some xrays (but the carpus is a hard joint to see on radiographs) or even trying a week of anti-inflammatory medication to see if that makes a difference. If he doesn't lick when he is on pain meds then there may be an issue there.

But the first possibility is more likely.

I do have some dogs that I put on anti-anxiety meds to stop this problem, but I would try other remedies first.

One other interesting fact - I used to work with a veterinary chiropractor and she said there have been studies that show that having chiropractic adjustments greatly reduces this type of behavior.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Does he have this tendency because of something I've done?
Is it common?

The vet has examined the arm and found nothing. He displays no hesitation when running or climbing.

I think its that arm because when he is lying on his belly he usually bends that joint so its proximal to his mouth.

I've been afraid to try bitter apple fearing he would try to lick it off and take half the fur with it. Bitter apple hasn't kept him away from furniture so far.

I can certainly try bandages as long as it doesnt just drive him to another leg.

Have you seen success using this method over days and weeks?


Customer reply:

Two more thoughts

Hes teething heavily. Could that be related?
Although the right wrist has born the brunt, there's evidence he's chewed on the right and left front paws and wrist.



Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It's relatively common. It's not because of something you have done. Some animals just like to pick up bad habits just like some people chew their fingernails too much.

Bitter apple is definitely safe if he does lick it. But then there are some dogs who don't seem to mind the taste. Is still might add some deterrent though.

I have had success with the sock bandage...it's just annoying to most owners to have to keep it on.

It's certainly possible that it is related to teething. Maybe he just wants to chew something and his leg is most available to him! I am sure you have lots of chew toys available for him though.



Customer reply:

He does have the kong and rope in the cage with him. Though it may somehow be more satisfying to do this?

I hope it's just teething.

Loving socks as he does he would REJOICE at me putting a sock around his arm.

I will try the bitter spray this weekend when I can make sure he doesnt just try to lick it off.

Thanks

Jay


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

My only concern with the socks and Max is that knowing Max he could easily eat the sock.

I'd try the spray first!



Customer reply:

Thats my concern too. It would be like giving him a steak as a bandage.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Too funny! I wouldn't be too worried about him...it's likely just a phase.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.