Hot Spots in Dogs: A Painful Form of Canine Skin Disease

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Hot Spots in DogsHot Spots in Dogs are painful skin conditions. This is an example of a typical canine hot spot.

Hot spots are common problems in dogs and can occur in cats also. Though there are many causes of hot spots, basically a hot spot is an area of severely inflamed skin.

Often, the hair is missing from the area of the hot spot, the skin is red and sometimes bloody. If the hot spot has been present for long enough, there may be scabs in the area also.

Causes of Hot Spots in Dogs and Cats:

Canine and feline hot spots are almost always itchy. In fact, it is this itchiness that causes the hot spot. Hot spots are actually self-inflicted wounds, caused by your dog or cat scratching, biting or rubbing at his skin until the wound occurs.

Often, hot spots start out as small lesions but they can enlarge very rapidly. Once a hot spot starts, a vicious cycle starts to occur. The itchiness leads to scratching, biting or chewing that causes the hot spot to occur and, as the hot spot gets worse, the itchiness also gets worse. The cycle keeps repeating itself until some type of intervention occurs. Hot spots also are very painful for your dog or cat.

Anything that causes your dog or cat to become itchy can cause a hot spot. Common causes are flea allergies, food allergies, atopy (allergies to something in the pet’s environment), skin infections and others.

Treatment of Hot Spots in Dogs and cats (Canine and Feline Hot Spots ):

Treatment of the hotspot itself usually involves:

1-Antibiotics to prevent or fight skin infection.

2-The area may need to be shaved to make cleaning and treatment easier.

3-Ointments and salves may help soothe the inflamed skin.

4-Bathing with a medicated shampoo may be indicated.

5-Keeping the area clean is essential.

6-The underlying cause of the hot spot must also be treated, which makes diagnosis important.

7-Food allergies may require a special diet.

8-Flea allergies will require eradication of the fleas.

9-Atopy may require anti-inflammatory medications or other treatments.

10-Skin infections may require antibiotics or antifungal medications. (Skin infections rarely occur without another cause).

Preventing Hot Spots for Your Dog or Cat

Though it may not always be possible to avoid hot spots, there are precautions that you can take for your pet.

1-Keep your pet free of fleas and other skin parasites.
2-Keep your pet well-groomed.

3-Regular brushing and combing is healthy for your dog’s skin and will keep your pet’s fur free of mats.

4-Regular bathing is also important and can be performed as often as necessary.

5-It’s fine to bathe your pet every few days, if necessary.
6-Feed your pet a good diet. Proper nutrition is an important part of keeping your pet’s skin healthy.
8-If your pet is a breed that has loose skin or skin folds (Pugs, SharPeis, English Bulldogs, etc.), be sure to keep the skin folds clean to prevent irritation and infection.

If your pet does become itchy or you suspect that a hot spot is developing, seek veterinary care.

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