Dog hot spots, sometimes referred to as moist dermatitis, are a common skin condition experienced by dogs, which is brought on by persistent licking and gnawing at an inflamed area that is causing it irritation. A small inflamed spot can rapidly flare up to cover a much larger surface area, and if left untreated can result in painful pussy lesions causing much discomfort.
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: Environmental allergies stemming from grass seeds, pollen, house dust, or reactions to fleas can all cause allergic skin reactions, whilst some dogs are allergic to certain types of foods, or to food additives, which can cause an allergic skin reaction. However, mange mites, anal gland impaction, and side affects from veterinary medicines or injections, may also cause allergic skin reactions in dogs. Dogs with sensitive skins may come out in a skin rash following grooming or shaving, which if aggravated by constant biting at the area could result in moist dermatitis. Moist dermatitis is common amongst all breeds of dogs, but Retrievers, collies and shepherds are more susceptible due to their long thick fur.
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:
Firstly, the hair surrounding the inflammation needs to be clipped or shaved short so that the infected area can be properly treated.
Wash the affected area with a mild antibacterial soap or shampoo, then gently towel dry to ensure moisture removal, without causing further discomfort to the area.
Keep the inflamed area cool by applying cool compresses. Home remedies using tea bags as a compress to help cool down the skin also help to dry out the lesions.
Depending on the severity of the inflammation and infection, you may need to take a multi-pronged approach to treating the skin lesions. This may include administering oral antibiotics to treat the bacterial infection and antihistamines to reduce inflammation, or the application of a hydro-cortisone or anti-bacterial cream or ointment.
But no matter how successful your treatment, dog hot spots will recur unless the cause of the problem is addressed. You will need to ascertain whether the allergy is food related or caused by some stimulus in the environment, or whether there is some other underlying cause of the reaction. You will then need to take steps to prevent it from flaring up again as this will not only save you time and money, but will spare you and your dog further anguish as well.