February 7, 2014

Acute moist dermatitis (hot spots) in dogs

A hot spot is a warm, painful, swollen patch of skin 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10 cm) across that exudes pus and gives off a foul odour. Hair in the area is lost rapidly. The infection progresses when the dog licks and chews the site. These circular patches appear suddenly and enlarge quickly, often within a matter of hours.{{more}}

Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body, often in more than one spot. One very typical location is under the ear flaps in large breeds with heavy, hairy ears, such as Newfoundlands and Golden Retrievers. Hot spots occur most often in breeds with heavy coats, and tend to appear just before shedding, when moist, dead hair is trapped next to the skin. Fleas, mites, and other skin parasites, skin allergies, irritant skin diseases, ear and anal gland infections, and neglected grooming are other factors that can initiate the itch-scratch-itch cycle.

Treatment: Hot spots are extremely painful. The dog usually will need to be sedated or anaesthetized for the initial treatment. The hair is clipped away to expose the hot spot, then gently cleansed with a diluted povidone-iodine (Betadine) or a chlorhexidine shampoo and the skin allowed to dry. An antibiotic steroid cream or powder (Animax / Dermalone) is then applied twice a day for seven to fourteen days. Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed. Predisposing skin problems must be treated as well.

I normally prescribe a short course of oral corticosteroids to control severe itching. Prevent the dog from traumatizing the area by using an Elizabethan collar.

Always be sure to dry your heavy-coated dog thoroughly after bathing her and after she swims. Otherwise, the conditions are perfect for a hot spot to develop.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd.
Tel: 456 4981