Hot Spots

Apr 9, 2020   Tracey Aston   Health & Wellness

Hot spots are the most common dermatological condition in pets and most pet parents have faced them in varying degrees.  Hot spots, also called acute moist dermatitis, are warm, red, sometimes oozing, areas of skin inflammation and hair loss.

Hot spots can be caused by many different types of conditions, such as,

        Water trapped in between the coat and skin, not allowing the skin to dry properly, this type of trigger is most common in the summer months when pets are swimming in pools, lakes or playing in hoses.

        Large jowled dogs also run the risk of getting water trapped from water running onto their chest when they're drinking. Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlanders, Rottweilers are most susceptible

        Parasite bites or infestations

        Food allergies

        Dirty or matted coat. Similar to water getting trapped, a matted coat doesn't allow the skin to properly dry or the oils to move throughout the coat. This can start as a clogged pore and lead to a bacterial infection.

        Contact dermatitis from something that pet has come into physical contact with such as chemicals from carpet cleaners, grass fertilizers or cleaning products.

Knowing the reason for the hot spot will aid in eliminating the triggers causing the hot spots to occur in your pet.  Always remember to dry a pet thoroughly after being in water. This is especially true for thick or double coated dogs. Address all flea, tick and parasite issues with collars, baths or homeopathic means, such as vinegar. For more information on fleas and ticks, visit our blog post Fleas and Ticks. Keep all pets brushed and free of coat matting. Deshedding tools can help by eliminating loose undercoat that may be trapping moisture or oils under the skin.  Food allergens and contact dermatitis can be harder to pinpoint as it's usually a process of elimination to find the trigger.

Once a hot spot has formed, it's important to not only begin the healing process right away but to help soothe the pet and keep them from licking, scratching or biting at it. Hot spots can become very inflamed and itchy and half the battle may be keeping your pet from bothering it while it heals.

The first step is to trim away the hair from the area if possible with scissors or clippers. The hotpot may be painful and itchy, so be extra careful not to cut your pet if they are jumping or pulling away. If needed, enlist the help of a trusted groomer.

Secondly, clean the area with a mild antiseptic wash, antibacterial soap or medicated wipes or solutions. Gently pat the area dry. Refrain from rubbing the area, as this may irritate the hot spot and cause it to itch even more. Always pat dry!

Next, soothe the hot spot to provide relief to your pets, so they won't bother the hot spot while it's trying to heal. Topical or veterinarian prescribed oral steroids or antibiotics can be used to help with itching, inflammation and healing. A cold compress can also help with inflammation and soothing.

Lastly, treat the hot spot and watch for any signs of infection. Treat the wound with a hot spot treatment or hydrocortisone spray or cream. Always watch a pet carefully to make sure they aren't licking the treatment or ointment. A veterinarian may prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic for any signs of infection and to keep infection from setting into an open wound. Hot spots can take days to weeks to fully heal depending on the size, location and severity of the hot spot. Maintain treatment of the hot spot until the wound is healed.

Apple cider vinegar can be added to a pet's food or water to to help internally. Twice daily, add  ¼ - ½ teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a pet's food or water. 

The wound can also be treated with diaper rash cream, but check with your veterinarian before using it on your dog. If you get the all clear, diaper rash cream will settle inflammation and help keep the area dry by allowing the bacteria to dry out and heal the hot spot. Always use sparingly, as a little bit goes a long way.

The risk of hot spots can be lowered with proper grooming and drying, but they can't always be avoided. If a hot spot does occur, attempt to find the trigger and remove it, and begin treatment. If you notice the wound is becoming infected or growing, schedule a trip with your veterinarian to help in treatment. 

 
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