Hot Spots Cause Problems for Pets and Owners

A hot spot is a focal moist dermatitis that is hard to prevent, per se. They can come on quickly and grow from the size of a dime to a very large area in just hours! Dead hair that is trapped next to the skin and a lack of grooming can cause this, but usually it is a bug bite, parasites, allergies, grooming or some other local insult to the skin.

These fast-growing problems can occur almost anywhere but often are on the side of the face just below the ear, under the neck, or near the back end of the dog. Given where your dog had her hot spot, I would make sure the anal glands are not full, potentially causing local irritation and causing the dog to chew the area.

At this time of year, the pollen count is high and dogs with allergies itch and scratch, which could be the cause. I see a lot of these hot spots in the late spring and early fall and attribute them to possible allergic re-sponses. Shaving and cleaning the area is a must because the skin often produces a wet sticky film on the area that needs to be removed. I often suggest that owners put hydrogen peroxide on the cleaned area three times a day for one or two days after I have given the dog a shot of corticosteroids and started them on an antibiotic like Cephalexin. Sounds like the treatment worked and is similar to what I would have done.

John de Jong, D.V.M., is the owner/operator of Boston Mobile Veterinary Clinic and CEO/director at Boston Animal Hospital.

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