Hot spots—or what your
veterinarian is likely to call acute moist dermatitis—are small areas of acute
irritation on your dog’s skin that can lead to incessant licking,
chewing and scratching. As your dog tries to ease the irritation, the
hot spot only gets worse as he or she inadvertently spreads the infection.
Although hot spots are extremely common, there are things you can do to
reduce the chances of your dog suffering from one, and simple ways to
reduce the discomfort if one occurs. Here is what you need to know.
What are hot spots?
Hot spots are a kind of skin inflammation that usually appear on the head, chest,
and hips. They can be triggered by almost anything that causes a reaction
or irritation on the skin, but most often, dogs cause or dramatically
worsen them by chewing and licking the same spot repeatedly. Hot spots
spread and grow quickly because dogs tend to react to the increasing irritation
with even more licking, chewing, and scratching. This behavior causes
the irritation to get worse, which in turn leads to more licking and chewing, etc.
What causes hot spots?
Hot spots are especially common among dogs who are overdue for grooming
and whose coats are matted. Longhaired dogs are especially prone, as are
dogs with fleas. Dogs who swim frequently can easily develop irritation
that leads to hot spots, and even getting wet in the rain can cause problems
for some dogs. Stress and boredom may also cause dogs to chew and lick,
which causes hot spots.
How can hot spots be treated?
See your veterinarian if you think your dog has a hot spot, so he or she
can determine the cause and the appropriate treatment plan. There are
several treatment options, including shaving the hair around the hot spot,
cortisone type medications, antibiotics, and other meds. You can reduce
the risk of another bout of hot spots by grooming your dog regularly,
following a regular flea prevention program, and making sure your dog
gets plenty of play to reduce boredom.
Chastain Veterinary Medical Group offers hot spot treatment along with
a range of other services, including pet dental services and pet grooming
in Dallas. Call (972) 529-5033 to make an appointment at Meadow Brook
Animal Hospital in McKinney, or call (972) 239-1309 to make an appointment
at Preston Road Animal Hospital in north Dallas.