Hot Spots! Not Again!
on May 4, 2016
Posted in Dogs
How do hot spots come about?
They come from scratching, itching and biting. There is always something underlying that is causing the itching and the pet causes the hot spot as a reaction to the irritation.
What are the common causes?
Flea bites, ear infections,lice, ticks, staph bacteria, allergies or fungus are the most common causes. Long haired, thick coated dogs in hot, moist climates and allergy prone dogs get more hot spots than other animals.
Are all hot spots the same?
No, there are actually 2 types of hot spots: superficial and deep.
What should be done about the hot spot?
The superficial ones can be easily treated with clipping of the hair, cleaning the wound and applying topical medication. The deep ones frequently require antibiotics in addition to topical treatment and can be so severe it as if the dog has been burned. It is not unusual that these may have to be surgically debrided or treated under anesthesia because they are so painful.
When do you call the veterinarian?
It is always best to make an appointment to have your pet checked because these spots are often painful and your dog may require a muzzle to be treated. Deep infections may be handled by sedating your dog because of the pain.
What natural products can I use to treat hot spots?
For a small superficial hot spot, after clipping it can be cleaned with medicated soap or Burrow’s solution or cooled black tea. This is not toxic for dogs and works well. Compresses of pure aloe juice ,chamomile or black tea can be used a few times a day. You must also protect the spot from being scratched at or chewed at again. This means a sock on the foot, a tee shirt or a big cone. If the hot spot is only superficial, this will allow it to heal. If it does not look better in 24 hours it likely needs an antibiotic.
How do you prevent hot spots?
To prevent hot spots you must eliminate the root cause. This may involve a diet change to a hypoallergenic diet, treating for ticks, fleas or allergies. If it is determined that the dog has allergies then there are some natural products that will help the immune system. One such product is Itch Support Gold. Regular bathing and grooming can also help eliminate these spots, particularly in dogs who like to swim.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan