Ask the Vet with Tara T. Brooks, DVM

Affton Veterinary Clinic, St Louis

QuestionMy cat continually licks one spot on her leg, licking it raw on a couple of occasions. What does this mean and what should I do?


AnswerThere are several possibilities including stress, allergies, fleas, joint pain, or other underlying endocrine issues that need to be evaluated. If your cat is only licking that one spot, I recommend ruling out all possible medical issues before leaning toward the stress response behavior. I have seen cats with arthritis lick a spot raw right over the joint as the licking feels good on that painful area. Though the tongue can cause trauma, the euphoric feeling the cat gets from licking can override the discomfort of a sore. Some cats lick due to stress, again, because the licking feels good. Allergies can cause excessive licking, though there is typically more than one area being licked, so check your kitty for other areas. My own cat was licking her front paw to excess and a blood test revealed she had hyperthyroid. I treated her condition and the licking stopped. Since there are so many possibilities, I would recommend a thorough evaluation by your veterinarian.

Dr. Tara BrooksAbout the Vet:

Dr. Brooks is a 2004 graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation, she spent four years working as an associate veterinarian in a multi-doctor practice. In August of 2008 her dream of owning her own practice became a reality when she purchased Affton Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Brooks strives to provide quality medicine and compassionate care to all of her patients. She has a special interest in reptiles and has traveled with the St. Louis Zoo to help conserve the endangered Armenian viper. Dr. Brooks enjoys spending time with her pets and running.

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