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From: Callie (
Subject:         Is it obsessive?
Date: October 24, 2008 at 5:34 am PST

In Reply to: Dog licks pillows -- sometimes wooden funiure posted by M. Mcintosh on October 23, 2008 at 9:22 pm:

Is it *very* often or nearly constant?

Such licking can be closely tied to seizure/obsessive type behavior.

I have a peke we rescued as an old girl (she was probably 12 when we got her) -- she licked, pawed obsessively at carpet, and airlicked almost constantly. When you really really observed her closely there was a very long but very specific "pattern" even

-- craning her neck to the left, back to center
-- craning her neck to the left, back to center again
-- looking up *airlick for several seconds*
--lifting her head and stretch neck to the right, and *airlick over her shoulder for several seconds*

Then back to the beginning -- over and over. It was hard at first to even see the pattern it was so involved.

If you tried HARD and persistently to distract her you could get her to stop for a few minutes but as soon as left to her own devices there it would go again.

The regular vets pretty much say "Yeah, some dogs do that -- if she starts seizures we'll put her on phenobarb"

I didn't want that for her.

Eventually I had our TCVM vet look at her (traditional Chinese veterinary medicine = not a Chinese vet but rather a vet who uses acupuncture and Oriental herbs) -- and that vet described it as more obsession, and literally pre-seizurey behavior that could easily slide into full blown seizures.

The vet began to treat her with herbs and acupuncture and wow -- what a different dog!! She's now "with us" (she makes eye contact, you can see the real dog's personality, she initiates affection) all the time and almost never does the air-licking/obsessive stuff.

If she does begin to paw the carpet occasionally it's not at all difficult to re-direct her and is sometimes an indicator that she's in pain and needs some massage and something to help her discomfort.

I'm going to link in the Chi Institute website -- they have a good locator at the bottom left margin -- I've had super good luck recommending others.

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