Dog Hot Spots

What are hot spots?

Dog hot spots are also know by several names: pyotraumatic dermatitis, moist dermatitis, or acute moist dermatitis. These are local areas of skin that become inflamed and usually infected. The dog then rubs, licks, or chews the site and adds to the problem. These sores can develop into severe problems in a few hours. Many dogs can become aggressive if you try and touch this area because of the extreme pain. Often putting a muzzle on the dog is necessary for treatments.

Causes of dog hot spots

There can be several causes of hot spots in dogs. These include anything that could irritate the skin. Fleas, scratches, insect bites, or allergies could cause these. Also some bored pets can start them on their own by excessive licking. Tick bites, bee stings, burrs, mats, mosquitos, summer heat and other problems also can contribute to the initial irritation that can develop into a hot spot.

Signs of a hot spot:

Red, moist, itchy skin are the typical signs. There is usually hair loss over these areas because canines can't leave the area alone because it really irritates them. Many pet owners usually describe them as "oozing." The dog constantly chews the area every few minutes which is why it is important to seek veterinary advice as soon as possible. A small area turn into an even larger area in a few hours because dogs continually chew on the area seeking relief.

Dog hot spot treatments

You should always seek veterinary advice before you treat your animal. Some hot spots are severe enough to require systemic antibiotic treatments with drugs like Cephazolin.

General treatments of hot spots include:

The best treatment is always prevention. Keeping your dog well groomed, removing mats, shampooing, and flea prevention all help. If allergies are a problem, work with your vet to get them under control.

1. Shaving around the area. Hot spots need to dry out so clipping around the area helps let the air in. Bacteria like wet environments, do drying the area prevents their growth.

2. Clean the spot with water and a gentle cleanser (perhaps a baby shampoo).

3. Medicine, depending on the severity of the hot spot, your vet may prescribe oral antibiotics (cephalexin), topical drying sprays or medications, and/or special shampoos. NeoPredef powder is popular with vets because it drys the area, and contains both an antibiotic and a corticosteroid to control the itching.

4. Prevention like using an elizabethan collar, until the area heals.

5. Home remedies for hot spots include:

Domeboro's (Burow's) solution (aluminum acetate) - available over-the-counter at pharmacies to help dry the skin out. Can be used as a compress or as a spray.

Small areas of acute moist pyoderma can become large area quickly. Some dogs will continue to dig and scratch until they really damage their own skin. Seeing your vet quickly can help make your dog comfortable quickly in most cases.

Dog hot spots heal quickly when treatment is initiated rapidly.

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