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Obsessive licking since being neutered

eggroll_neko
May 22nd, 2008, 09:54 PM
My 6 month male :cat: was neutered in April and now has developed an obsession with licking. So far he's spent 3 weeks off and on with the cone on but once it comes off he goes right back to licking the spot. I've tried putting cream on it that taste awful, but he still continues to lick. I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions on how to stop the licking???

Dr Lee
May 22nd, 2008, 10:54 PM
There may be several things going on however there are two likely possibilities.

First is inflammation due to reaction to the suture. There are two types of dissolvable sutures, one which dissolves from creating inflammation, such as chromic gut; or one that dissolves due to body water content, such as monocryl. However even second type can occasionally have some inflammation as well. The process of suture dissolving (either type) take many weeks to months; so it is possible that licking is secondary suture inflammation. While most dogs leave the site alone regardless of inflammation, some are more sensitive to the inflammation than others.

The second may be partly behavioral. Some pets will lick the site due to the post operative inflammation (+/- due to suture inflammation) and then continue to lick. If a pet continues to lick an area, then the licked area will develop inflammation of the nerves due to the licking. This nerve inflammation will lead to itchiness which leads to more licking, and so on.

Another possibility may include an infection under the skin or of the skin at the incision site so it may be a good idea to have your veterinarian take a look at it. Antibiotics may be beneficial.

What can help? Continue the cone use until the site becomes no longer a source of licking. Because the licking can cause nerve and skin inflammation it is very important that we keep him from licking it for an extended period of time to 1) give the area a chance to resolve any potential inflammation and 2) break any behavioral cycle of licking. The use of cortisone cream may help. The hydrocortisone, a steroid, will help reduce the inflammation - be it from a suture reaction or nerve inflammation. Typically twice a day use will help. As mentioned before, having a follow up veterinary examination would also be helpful.

Take care. :pawprint: