Dog hot spots are inflamed areas of skin that cause a dog a great deal of discomfort, resulting in them licking and biting at the area. The more the dog licks and bites at the area, the more inflamed it becomes, and without treatment can lead to unsightly lesions, which are very painful for the dog. Also known as moist dermatitis, these skin conditions can flare up within minutes, and can spread quite rapidly, resulting in chronic skin irritation and hair loss in the affected area.
Symptoms: Moist dermatitis can be recognized as a hot patch of moist, reddened skin, which is very obviously causing the dog much discomfort and distress. In extreme cases where the skin is broken, the area may be bleeding, and if left untreated can develop into pussy secretions as infection sets in.
Causes: Allergic skin reactions are often triggered by an environmental stimulus such as grass seeds, pollen, house dust, or fleas, and allergies to certain foods or food additives. Ectoparasites, anal gland disorders, and sensitivity to clipping and grooming may also cause skin inflammations in dogs. Breeds which seem to be most susceptible to hot spots include the long haired varieties such as retrievers, collies and shepherds, but it is also common in short haired breeds.
Treatment: To treat these types of skin allergies it is necessary to first treat the symptoms, and then to isolate and treat the cause of problem in order to prevent recurrence. When treating a dog at home, it may be necessary to restrain or even sedate the dog, as the skin my be painful to touch, causing him to show aggression when handled. After treatment an Elizabethan collar may need to be temporarily fitted to allow the area to heal without the dog interfering with the wound.
The following steps need to be taken to treat the affected area:
First of all clip the hair away from the infected area before commencing treatment, so that the wound is visible and can be cleaned and treated effectively.
The infected area then needs to be washed with a medicated shampoo or soap, and then gently patted dry.
Then try to bring some relief and reduce heat by applying a cold compress using cold tea bags to draw away inflammation and dry out the lesion.
There are a few different options in terms of medical treatment that you can apply to treat the symptoms of moist dermatitis, and your choice will be determined by how severe the case is. If the wound is secreting puss, this indicates bacterial infection, and requires treatment by applying an anti-bacterial cream and/or antibiotics administered orally. To reduce inflammation and relieve itching antihistamine tablets can be given, or hydro-cortisone ointment applied to the area.
Finally, prevention is better than cure, and you will save time, money, and poor Fido will be a lot happier if you get to the root of what is causing the skin problem in the first place, and take precautions to prevent recurrence. For example, if it is an allergy to fleas, then this needs to be addressed, if it is a food related allergy, then Fido may need a change of diet.