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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, Im hoping someone here can assist me with an issue we are having with our 13 yr old Shih Tzu Maxie, he's in good health, no medical problems(Except he has back and neck issues, common for the shih tzu breed) the issue we are having with Maxie is that he is constantly licking, the floor, the rug, the carpet, his paws, his Vet thought it was an allergy put him on steroid medication and also told us to get him new food, which he eats now, its lamb and he loves it, seemed to have helped(Since he had a what they called a hot spot on his lower lip which healed with the meds, but now its starting to get red again because of the constant licking, he licks with so much force I can see why it would get inflamed) but then he started licking again, another Vet said its mental, that he feels he needs to do it and cant stop. Cant keep him on steroids for a long period of time its not healthy(the vet is keeping him on steroids now she says to prevent infection on his paws). Even last year we noticed how the fur on his face and paws seemed to get darker(Now his face is lighter but his front paws, still kind of dark due to the constant licking) I always worry about diseases like Cushings Disease but all of his blood work is excellent so cant be that..The only time where he does NOT lick is when he's waiting for his food, he can sit for an hour, not lick and just watch the food honestly dont know what to do the Vet even gave us a cone to put on Maxie to prevent him from licking he hates it constantly barks with it on any advice I would really really appreciate its a strange situation
 

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Ours, a poodle bischon mix, will go through licking cycles, but not as severely as you describe. She will always stop, if I say stop licking, at least for awhile. We find distraction to work best, and in our case once we break the cycle she seems to not need to lick so much. Again, in our case its cyclic, so not a constant issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Its just weird how he does it, could be from boredom, honestly cant figure it out..already changed his food, had all the blood work done, had everything checked and he still does it..the only time he will not lick we notice is when he is waiting for his food to be ready, he will sit and wait, and not lick at all..cant think of anything medical that can cause this, the vet thinks it started as a legit allergy, but has grown to an obsession since once he started he doesnt know he doesnt need to do that anymore
 

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I wonder if that licking behaviour would respond to redirecting.
Every time he licks, get him to do something else. Sit, give paw...things like that and rewarding with a tiny treat or a game of fetch. Maybe it will help form a different habit.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
My sis is gonna take Maxie to the Vet tomorrow to see what can be done. He doesnt lick his paws anymore so that's a step in the right direction, but he still licks the floor, rug, carpet, which has caused his lip to become red and inflamed so something has to be done about that so it doesnt become infected. They tried the cone but he just barks his head off he hates it so they have to take it off, I think its mostly caused by boredom or he just got used to licking and just cant stop himself its become an obsession..will see what this vet said, its the 3rd vet he's seen
 

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I had a shih tzu that would lick anything and everything. She was also a pica dog and would eat dry wall and suck down socks (not chew, swallow them whole). We were never able to eliminate her need to lick everything. She did have health issues that she was on prescription food for, but the oral fixation never changed based food changes.

I hope you are able to figure out what is causing the problem. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Still no solution for this issue. Maxie started anti anxiety meds last week, seemed to help somewhat but it would make it sorta wobbly for about an hour than improve, but a few days ago we had a scare with him he started coughing so rushed him to the vet thinking maybe he had heart failure or something, no everything was fine, but his esophagus was enlarged, so he is in pepsid and a pepto bismal like liquid and he already stopped coughing, we stopped the anti anxiety meds, the vet said he didnt know if it was the meds that caused it, his new food that caused it so we just stopped the anti anxiety it wasnt like it was doing much for him..now he's all better back to his regular maxie self, and back to licking..his paw, the floor and the rug which seems to be his favorite..dont know what to do to make him stop licking..his lip (On the left side) is still pretty red, which is why he's on antibiotics, which I read can also cause an inflamed esophagus but the redness needs to go away but he starts licking so this one is a mystery..its most likely mental but what to give him that wont cause him another problem..and how is it for him to just be a wobbly dog from meds its not improving his life..if only we can knock off the licking, thinking about maybe going to a skin doctor with him not sure what help he can be
 

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You might consider consulting with a behaviorist/trainer to see if you can, perhaps get him to respond to re-direction commands.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The Vet suggested Maxie wear a cone but he barks his head off when he wears it..the Vet suggested that MAYBE its his front tooth that is causing him to lick, that sometimes having issues with teeth can cause excessive licking, but he had teeth removed many years ago that were bad and he never licked so its a weird one..I Read online that sometimes having acid reflux causes licking Maxie is on pepsid and a pepto bismal type liquid medication, he does lick a little less but he still loves doing it, but he's a spunky dog now..before on the anti anxiety he would sleep most of the time and he would walk wobbly, that's not what I want for him Id rather him be happy and licking than sleeping, wobbly and not licking..its hard to treat a lip issue since his lip is very red, he eats, he licks, so its hard to treat
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I wanted to give you all an update on our Maxie..we got a diagnosis for him, from the biopsy on his bottom right lip the vet said its Cutaneous lymphoma..which is incredibly odd and something none of us saw coming. Last wednesday he had a teeth cleaning done he also has an infection in his lip and the vet said that by taking out his teeth would make him stop licking, which he has he doesnt lick anymore but he took a biopsy of the lip and today the results came back, it does show infection but also shows underneath Cutaneous lymphoma..the thing is with maxie he acts totally fine, the vet does NOT believe it spread anywhere but he sent my sis to see an oncologist on Thursday to see what can be done because dont have any idea how to remove this on the lip, different if on the cheek or on the paw but on the bottom right side of the lip sounds very difficult, Maxie's bloodwork is all fine so he doesnt believe it spread anywhere he said there is a small chance that its not what the biopsy shows but most likely its what it is so I dont know what to think..he has had this a few months we were all over the place thinking its behavioral, it never was he was doing this for a reason..we dont want to lose him so scared right now, terrified, but he behaves totally fine you wouldnt know anything was even wrong so if anyone out there has any experience with this and knows what to do please let me know thank U
 

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Wait and see what the Oncologist has to offer. He or she has likely had experience with other dogs that have had this, and can provide some accurate information, which is what you really need to know how to move forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah that is what Im afraid of..I mean Maxie seems totally fine, he has had this for about 2 1/2 months..the first Vet he saw took the scab off his lip and said if it did not heal it "might" be cancer, so he took meds and steroids and it healed, almost completely, she took him back to the same Vet and she said that its definately 100 percent NOT cancer..two weeks later he was licking again, said it was all in his head, starting in June his lip started getting inflamed and a different vet at the same place said he needed a teeth cleaning, that his remaining teeth could be the cause and that one tooth looked broken down to the bone, which was right in the area of the inflammed lip, he said he did not believe it was cancer and that once he got the procedure done he would be much better, its true, no more licking..his lip has improved but its not gone, its still there just less, he did the biopsy which showed what I posted above..I never heard of such a thing, I heard of skin cancer, melanoma, never ever I heard of lymphoma on the skin, internally yes but never externally so I dont know what to think anymore. The appt is this Thursday Im dreading it and just want to know what will happen to my sweet Maxie..he's only 13 I dont consider that to be old, doesnt have medical issues except for hip problems which is controlled by him not jumping off beds, etc..otherwise he's a healthy dog so this came out of left field, no one saw this coming, not the vet, not anyone. He felt NO mass, NO lump, just an inflamed lip..I dont want to lose him, cant do this again, after losing Nemo 2 years ago, Im just terrified
 

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I know humans can get subcutaneous lymphoma, so I would guess dogs can too. In humans, it is, as I understand, typically very slow growing and can be controlled. I don't know about cure, but it can be controlled. Let us know what you find out, hopefully that it is not and will not be life threatening.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I will keep you all posted..I think if it were not for the licking the Vet would have immediately ordered the biopsy but the Vet saw the licking felt his lip, felt absolutely nothing, looked in his mouth felt absolutely nothing and just assumed that this was a result of the licking and bad teeth, he was half right as his lip has gotten better somewhat but has NOT healed..when you see maxie you would have no clue anything was wrong with him, other than this thing on his lip, he is perfectly fine, begs for food, begs for steak, eats steak, even though he has no teeth left, my sister cuts them into slivers so he can eat it and he jumps for it..tomorrow is the oncologist appt at 3pm, he is going to take bloodwork, Im assuming based on how maxie is behaving his blood work will come back normal, I just hope even if it means having a scar that the vet can remove this thing from his lip and that its localized and this can be resolved..I assume like any cancer, if its found early it can be treated..no one can make a guarantee on life but to give us hope that we will have him for another 2 yrs or so I will be satisfied I know dogs dont live forever but hes only 13 1/2 years old never ever imagined in my wildest nightmares that he would have this
 

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Hang in there, think positive thoughts. Believe me, I understand from first hand experience how completely attached we become to our beloved dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I keep on asking myself, how come we didnt do the biopsy when this first started on April 14th, because the Vet that my sister took him to said lets see if the medication and steroids fixes it(He had a scab then, they removed the scab, it was full of food) after a few weeks it healed, not 100 percent but it healed a great deal..her husband took him back to the same vet she said 100 percent NOT cancer, what were we supposed to do, go over her head and say OK lets do the biopsy anyway, sedate him and put him through that for what, maybe he had no cancer then, and this only started in June, the biopsy would have been worthless..how the heck did he get this, he hardly goes outside, only to pee and poo in the backyard, once in a while he goes for a walk on the street but the majority of the time he just goes in the backyard, sometimes staying outside for 10 min or so til he barks and wants to come back..its like a skin cancer, we were worried about the wrong damn thing, melanoma, skin cancer, a lump, a mass, oral cancer, he has none of those things..never in my wildest dreams would I think lymphoma ever
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Went to the Oncologist with Maxie..its a mixed bag we understand about this condition more..all of Maxie's blood work was excellent, she believes that he does have lymphoma the cutaneous lymphoma but is going to retest the same sample to be sure..she said with this cancer it does NOT spread internally, no organs ever get infected so OK why do dogs die, because they get lesions all over their body and they are on constant pain and they get eventually put down..she has a dog there now who has lesions everywhere and is responding to chemo treatment..she said normal lifespan is 1-2 years, all depends..she said the thing on his lip could be removed but it would also involve removing his entire lower jaw so that's not happening and even with that no proof that it wont pop up somewhere else..she sees something tiny and red underneath his eye not sure what that is but he is in otherwise excellent health she thinks he might have had this for up to 6 months but because his lip was always covered with fur, no one ever noticed
 
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