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Canine Hot Spots Treatments

 Canine Hot Spots Treatments Header

Veterinarians call them pyotraumatic dermatitis.  To dog owners they’re hot spots.  Whatever you call them, they can spell big time trouble for your dog.  What are they exactly?  Well, hot spots are basically surface skin infections that are caused when the normal skin bacteria is allowed to grow and overwhelm the skins natural resistance.  Hot Spots will usually start as a red or inflamed area on your dog’s skin.  However, they are so itchy that a dog will often lick and bite the area to the point of self-mutilation.  If allowed to get to this point the hot spot will often become a bleeding, oozing, infected mess that will require serious medical attention.  Hot Spots can arise in a matter of hours and are usually located in areas that can be reached by licking and biting such as the legs, feet, flanks and rump.  Areas that are frequently scratched such as the ears, neck, and chest are also susceptible.


There are a number of potential causes that can create hot spot.  One is dead hair that is shed and becomes trapped next to theCanine Hot Spots Treatments Picture skin.  This is often an issue for dogs with heavy coats that live in warmer climates.  The trapped hair irritates the skin, creating a hot spot.  Another potential cause of hot spots are various behavioural issues that result in a dog licking and biting itself.  Allergies, ear infections, flea infestations and irritated anal sacs are also possible instigators.  


What is the treatment for canine hot spots?  The first thing to do is to treat the sore.  Trim the hair around the hot spot to prevent further infection and expose the edges of the lesion.  Wash the area with a mild water based astringent or antiseptic.  An over the counter topical antibacterial cream may help as well.  If this doesn’t work consult with a veterinarian.  He may prescribe some sort of antibiotic, as well as have the dog wear an Elizabethan collar.  Elizabethan collars are uncomfortable for dogs, but are effective in preventing him from licking or biting the hot spot and allowing it to heal.


Once the hot spot is under control, you will want to take steps to insure that it doesn’t happen again.  To do this, you have to understand what the cause of the hot spot was in the first place.  If the cause was tangled or trapped dead hair, a regular grooming schedule should work wonders.  Some dogs like Collies and English Sheepdogs have long hair that tangles easily.  Regular grooming is essential.  If you feel the hot spot was the result of allergies, you will want to reduce the potential allergy triggers in your house.  Dust, plant pollen and lawn chemicals are all likely culprits.  Frequent vacuuming and air purifiers   can help with this.  As well, supplements that keep the skin and coat healthy, as well as medicated shampoos with soothing skin ingredients like aloe can also help.  If the hot spot was caused by behavioural issues, you will have to simply observe your dog to figure out what is the matter.  He may be stressed, bored, or lonely.  If this is the case, he will require more exercise, playtime, or simple attention from you.  If you are at a loss as to what is causing your dog’s behaviour issues, you should consult with an animal behaviourist.


- GroverClick here to check out the botanical dog


PS - The Botanical Dog has several shampoos and lotions that can be effective when dealing with canine hot spots.  Click or on the picture to the right to learn more.