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Hot Spots in dogs

 

By: Dr. Doron Nery
 

Together with the beach, the sun and the 2 months vacation, summer brings with it all sorts of ailments to our pet friends. One of these is the "Hot spot". Your dog scratches and licks a certain part of the skin until the area looks red and moist. The affected area seems to grow very rapidly, within hours.

"Hot spot", which is also called "moist exema", is an acute dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) which may appear on any part of the dog's body (quite rare in cats, though). Typical areas include the face, limbs and tail. The dog feels the urge to scratch (may be over a minor thing), his scratching and licking breaks the surface of the skin creating a moist lesion which is ideal for proliferation of bacteria. The more the bacteria proliferates, the bigger the dog's urge to keep scratching and licking, and vice versa, thus starting a snowball phenomena.

The disease is more prevalent in summer because there are more reasons to scratch: ticks, fleas, sea salt, etc'. Because of the snowball phenomena, this disease needs medical intervention.

We treat these dogs with 2 things in mind: fighting the bacteria, and reducing the urge to scratch.

Fighting the bacteria: by shaving and disinfecting the wound, applying local antibiotic ointment and treating with antibiotics at home for 7-10 days.

Reducing the urge to scratch: by the use of local and systemic steroids and anti-histamines. In some cases it's advisable to apply an Elizabethan collar to prevent self-inflicted damage.

Prevention: Regular anti-flea treatments, regular brushing, washing the dog with clear water after the visit to the beach, haircut for long-haired dogs, and keeping your dog busy and content with long walks and toys will minimize the chances of a hot spot.