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Dear Dr. Florez,

My 7 year old male border collie has recently began repeatedly licking his front legs and this has resulted in a brownish pink discoloration on his white legs. There has been no noticeable dermatological reason for this sudden onset of licking. Is there anything I can do to relieve this obsessive licking and resultant discoloration?

Cynthia Grey

Dear Cynthia,

You are very observant; most people would not associate the licking and discoloration together! As our pets get older they can develop a few issues associated with aging, and each of these symptoms need to be addressed accordingly.

You pet could be suffering from many things, including something as simple as an allergic reaction – either to his food, grass or anything else that have changed within his environment. Your pet may also be developing arthritis. As he is 7 years old, such changes are normal. If your dog did experience some aches and pains, he would lick that area in an effort to relieve the pain.

Your pet may also be exhibiting signs of metabolic disease, a thyroid deficiency or one of many other issues. Your best bet is to begin cleaning your dog’s paws thoroughly and check for any injuries. If you do not see any injuries, you should take your dog to a veterinarian for a regular check-up. As always, this is generally the best route to take for diagnosis of any problem. Your veterinarian will be able to examine the area and determine if it is simply an allergic reaction, or if additional tests are needed to correctly diagnose the problem.

Best of luck,
Diego Fernando Florez, DVM


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