Updated on April 7, 2015
Watch for hot spots on your dog’s skin
When dogs are exposed to allergic reactions and mite, insect or flea bites, they tend to scratch their skin aggressively, causing a skin condition known as hot spot. Constant chewing and licking makes the condition worse, making the area affected to become moist red, bloody and in some cases, inflamed. It is important that you watch for hot spots on your dog’s skin so that you can know when to seek the services of a veterinarian for treatment. Let’s take a look at what causes hot spots, how you can avoid them, and of course how they can be treated so that you can guarantee your pet a healthy life.
So, what causes hot spots?
You may wonder, what really causes hot spots? Many cases of this skin condition are attributed to allergies, especially for grass, weeds, trees, dust mites and some types of dog food. According to vets, there are dogs which also tend to scratch themselves due to fleas and insect bites. Generally, when a dog continually scratches its skin, the exposed area get’s infected with bacteria known as staphylococcus. This bacterium develops, taking advantage of the inflamed skin. The infection can be deep and, besides appearance of moist oozing, an odor may be present.
How can you avoid hot spots?
As a rule of thumb, ensure that your dog has clean, healthy skin, and this means seeing that it is free from ticks and fleas. For those people who have dogs with thick and heavy coat, it is recommended that they groom their pets regularly to avoid matting of the coat. Matted fur tends to trap parasites like fleas, making it an ideal environment for hot spots.
If your dog has suffered this skin condition in the past, do not hesitate to use medicated bath additives as this reduces the underlying problems through allergy management and flea control. Also don’t forget to keep their hair clipped, especially during the summer season. Keep all allergies under control and make frequent visits to your veterinarian.
What treatment options are available?
The ultimate goal of treating hot spots is basically eliminating the bacterial infection, identifying and removing underlying triggers, and of course relieving the itching and pain. The vet usually clips the hot spot to allow for initial cleaning and topical medications are applied. The treatments can include creams, sprays or even ointments, all of which are usually prescribed 3-4 times a week, and if the condition is more severe, then it is extended longer. For dogs with itchiness a short course of some corticosteroids, such as prednisone, is administered to relieve the pain and consequently get rid of the inflammation.
As a pet owner, it is recommended that you watch for hot spots in your dog’s skin so that you can easily identify them as soon as symptoms begin to show up. Learn how to prevent this skin condition and treat it effectively if your dog happens to suffer from it. As a rule of thumb, keep your dog well groomed and visit your vet regularly.