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Inflammation of the skin
What Are Hot Spots on Dogs? Pyotraumatic dermatitis, more commonly known as “hot spots,” moist dermatitis, and acute moist dermatitis, is characterized by painful, circular red sores on a dog’s body. Pets webmd further defines the condition as “a warm, painful, swollen patch of skin, 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10 cm) across that exudes pus and gives off a foul odor. Hot spots are a common problem for dogs. Hair in the area is lost rapidly.
The infection progresses when the dog licks and chews the site. These circular patches appear suddenly and enlarge quickly, often within a matter of hours. Unfortunately, these lesions are often made worse by dogs’ frequent licking, chewing, and scratching, behavior many people associate with the condition. In fact, by dissecting the actual words Pyotraumatic dermatitis, as Vetmedicine.about.com does, we can easily get a clearer understanding of hot spots. “Broken down, ‘pyo-’ refers to pus, ‘-traumatic’ refers to self-inflicted trauma of biting, licking, scratching, and so on, and ‘dermatitus’ means inflammation of the skin.”
What Causes Hot Spots on Dogs?
Several ailments can cause hot spots to appear on a dog’s skin, but they typically begin with a break in the skin. When are canine hot spots occur? “Hot spots occur when bacteria invade the skin via a tiny scratch or other breakages in the skin’s surface,” reports Suite101. “The hot spot often starts out as a small scratch from when the dog itches or the hot spot develops after a bite from a parasite like a flea or a mite breaks the skin.” Such abrasions are often the result of something like allergies, fleas, mites/skin parsites, insect bites, injuries, poor grooming, or anal gland disease. Vetmedicine.about.com also writes that animals can actually start a hot spot out of “boredom or stress-related psychological problems.”
Where Are Hot Spots on Dogs Found?
Such spots can appear anywhere on a dog’s body. But typically show up on the head, the hips, and along the chest, Pet Education reports. Adding to that, Pets WebMD notes that large breeds with heavy, hairy ears, such as Newfoundlands and Golden Retrievers, can develop hot spots under their ear flaps. And further warns that dogs with heavy coats are especially at risk. Hot spots “tend to appear just before shedding, when moist, dead hair is trapped next to the skin.” Because hot spots are more likely to thrive in warm, moist situations, the lesions are rarer in the colder months, notes Pet education. They are also equally likely to turn up on inside dogs or dogs.
Symptoms of Hot Spots on Your Dog and What to Do About Them
The most common symptoms of a hot spot on a dog include:
- Pus discharge
- Bad odor
If you notice any of these dog hot spots symptoms on your pet, it is important to take action right away.
How to Treat Hot Spots on Dogs?
The good news is that hot spots are treatable. Because these lesions are so painful and can spread into a deeper infection, however, involving your veterinarian is a must. Even though hair loss is one of the hallmark symptoms of hot spots, the vet will likely begin treatment by clipping away the hair surrounding the infection, allowing for easier access and better airflow. Once that’s done, the sore can be cleaned with a gentle cleanser. The doctor will then likely apply a medicated powder or cream. If your dog sensitive to pain or aggressive, your veterinarian may decide to anesthetize him before beginning the treatment.
What does Vet Medicine say about Hotspots?
Hot spot treatment: Treatment from that point on depends on the size and severity of the spot, according to Vetmedicine.about.com. “Your veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics, topical drying sprays or medications, and/or special shampoos.” In conjunction with the medication, your dog will also likely come home wearing an Elizabethan collar, which will prevent him chewing or licking the spot and causing further trauma. The medication and collar can work together in keeping the wound free of bacteria. So it can start the healing process.
Treating hot spots: If you notice your dog has a hot spot, it is important to treat it as soon as possible. Apply a cold compress to the affected area for about 15 minutes several times a day. This will help reduce inflammation and swelling.
Dog Eats Healthy Diets
A healthy diet is another great way to prevent hot spots on dogs. Feeding your dog a diet that is high in Omega- fatty acids. It can help keep their skin healthy and free of inflammation. Some good sources of Omega- fatty acids include fish oil supplements, salmon, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds.
Hot Spots from Food Allergies
Food allergies can also cause hot spots. If your dog is constantly scratching or licking at a certain area, it might be due to a food allergy. Try switching your pup’s food to see if that solves the problem.
Hot spots, while often benign and self-limiting, can occasionally be a sign of a more serious underlying skin infections or condition. If your dog has a hot spot that does not improve within a few days of home treatment. It is important to take him to the veterinarian for an evaluation. A bacterial infection may be responsible for the hot spot, or it may be a sign that something else is going on.
What Dog Parents Should Know?
Depending on the underlying cause, other conditions, such as flea infestation or allergies, may also need a veterinarian’s care or a pet parent’s attention. Because some dogs experience repeated trouble with hot spots, pet parents can reduce the risk of infections returning by keeping dogs clipped during the summer, giving frequent medicated baths, and, depending on the hot spot location, keeping the ears clean and expressing the anal glands, according to Pet education. A good flea program is also in order.