|Does Your Dog Suffer from
by Lorna Paxton
Often due to a
bacterial infection, hot spots are serious and should be treated as
quickly as possible
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If your dog has ever had a hot spot, you'll be familiar with how quickly they develop. You leave for work in the morning and your dog has a small patch of inflamed skin, and when you come home, he has a palm sized area of skin that is raw, oozing, and extremely painful.
If it is large enough, a hot spot can also make your dog feel generally unwell and lethargic. These acute skin infections are more common in dogs with heavy coats.
Hot spots are also known as moist eczema or summer sores, and they are basically a severe bacterial infection. The bacterial infection is secondary to an underlying skin problem, such as allergies, fleas, or even heat and humidity. Some dogs have behavioral problems that cause excessive licking and grooming, and this too can allow an infection to develop. The skin becomes irritated, your dog scratches, and the bacteria that normally live on the skin multiply. The result is a hot spot.
Once your dog has started scratching, it becomes a vicious cycle and even if you control the underlying problem, the infection itself continues to itch. Hot spots don't usually resolve by themselves.
These skin infections really hurt, and it's important that you have them checked by your veterinarian as quickly as possible. Hot spots must be treated aggressively to stop them spreading any further.
Treating Your Dog's Hot Spot
1. The hair must be clipped away from the hot spot, to allow easier cleaning. In some cases, the hot spot is so painful that this can only be done with a general anesthetic.
2. The hot spot is washed in a gentle water based antiseptic such as iodine to start to kill the bacteria.
3. Your vet will prescribe antibiotic tablets to clear up the bacterial infection. She may also give your dog corticosteroids to reduce the pain and inflammation, so your dog feels better quicker. In most cases, an ointment isn't used to treat a hot spot. It can be wiped off as your dog rolls or rubs on the carpet, or your dog may lick it off. Regular application of certain itch relief products will reduce inflammation, stop itching, and ease the discomfort. (Make sure they contain no alcohol so it won't sting on application.)
4. Your dog may need to wear an Elizabethan Collar for a little while, just to stop him scratching at his hot spot, so it has a chance to heal. You can take it off to allow him to eat, but only remove it when you are there to supervise him. He can very quickly undo all your good work and make his hot spot worse again. Instead of the standard collar, check out a Comfy Cone. Serves the same purpose but is much more comfy!
5. When the hot spot has resolved, it's important to try and find the underlying reason for the infection. This will give your dog the best chance of avoiding another painful skin infection.
If your dog has had a hot spot, chances are he will develop another one in the future. Make sure he is flea free, and treat any allergies that will predispose him to irritation and infection. Hot spots are a nuisance. Fortunately, with the right products, you can help prevent them from developing, and treat them quickly and effectively if they do occur.
Reprinted with permission from Happy Tales Spa Blog. Learn more about products to help hot spots at www.happytailsspa-blog.com
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