Canine Hot Spots (Moist Dermatitis/Eczema)Author: Matthew Homfray
Also known as Acute Moist Dermatitis or Moist Eczema, Hot Spots can seemingly appear spontaneously anywhere on a dogs body and the area involved can rapidly spread. This raw, unsightly skin disorder has a variety of causes but the most consistent factor is a bacterial infection. There are a number of kinds of bacteria that can be cultured from a hot spot and fortunately most respond to oral and topical antibiotics. Anything that irritates or breaks the skin can create the right environment for bacterial contamination if the skin surface is wet. The bodys response is either to itch or become inflamed. The itching then causes the dog to lick or chew the area, which further damages the skin, and creates a cycle of itching, scratching and chewing. If left to develop the infection goes into the deep layers of the skin.
Hot spots tend to occur most often in the summer months, and dogs with matted, dirty coats are at greater risk of developing them. Some owners keep their long haired dogs shaved in the summer, which helps prevent the thick coat from covering any dampness on the surface of the skin. Regular grooming enables swift intervention if a hot spot is developing; often they will simply get worse and worse until treated so veterinary help is advisable. A hot spot that is left untreated may turn into a lick granuloma, which can be difficult to get rid of.
Typical locations for "hot spots" are the side of the face and the flank areas. Golden retrievers and young dogs seem to be predisposed, while they are seldom, if ever, found in cats.
What to look out for – Scratching or biting at one area incessantly – A patch of hair loss with reddened moist skin, often with a film of pus – Scabs and crusts – Surrounding hair wet from saliva
Diagnosis is usually obvious from the clinical signs, but your veterinarian may be inclined to search for any contributing factors by doing allergy testing, or take a bacteriology swab so that antibiotic selection is targeted specifically at the bacterium responsible. If the hot spot is on the dogs back leg it is worth checking the anal glands are not the source of the discomfort by emptying them.
Treatment – Clip the hair around the hot spot. The hot spot may be more extensive than it originally appears. Clipping will expose the area to the air and accelerate healing (scabbing over) – Topical medication: the area can be cleaned with an antiseptic solution suchas chlorhexidine, and a topical antibiotic cream applied. There is little point of this if the dog will simply lick the cream off (i.e. use buster collar, or only use topical cream if hot spot on face) – Break the scratch cycle. To allow the hot spot to heal, the dog must stop scratching at it. A one off steroid injection is usually very effective, but sometimes a short course of oral steroids is necessary. Your dog may be more hungry and thirsty while receiving corticosteroids, this is a common side effect. As a consequence, the dog may need to urinate more frequently than normal. – Oral antibiotics. The best way to deal with a deep skin infection is to deliver antibiotics to the site of the hot spot via the blood stream. If a hot spot is quite advanced, at least a 10-14 day course of a broad spectrum antibiotic is required to prevent immediate recurrence. – Elimination of predisposing factors: aggressive flea control, investigation to rule out food and pollen allergies etc.
Dr Matthew Homfray is one of the experts at www.WhyDoesMyPet.com - Expert Answers for all your Pet Questions
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Dog Eczema - Everything There Is To Know About ItAuthor: Charles Perkins
It is only normal that you are troubled by the rashes that's plaguing your pet dog's skin. After all, dog eczema is no laughing matter as it causes hair loss in your dog and leaves him constantly pestered by the itchiness of these rashes. As a dog owner, it is only logical that you seek everything that there is to know about dog eczema. A complete understanding of this canine dilemma will be useful in quelling it.
Dog eczema is no different to the same eczema that affects us humans. The only difference is that it affects dogs and their skin. What happens with dog eczema is that the skin underneath their fur becomes irritated, causing these distinct rashes to appear on your dog's skin. Particularly, it is only your dog's epidermal skin layer that becomes irritated and inflamed.
Whether your dog has long or short hair, hair loss is among the first signs of dog eczema. Your dog won't be losing all of his hair but will lose it on skin areas that are affected by eczema. Following hair loss, you will immediately notice bald patches on your dog's skin. These bald patches are often accompanied by your dog's persistent licking, scratching, or nibbling on these same areas. If you notice your dog licking, scratching, or nibbling on these bald skin areas, then you can assume that your dog is irritated by them and that there is some form of underlying skin irritation.
When you look closely at your dog's bald skin spots, you will also notice that the skin looks different. It will be dry and flaky. Aside from the obvious itchiness of these spots, you can determine if they really are rashes by comparing the skin on these areas to the skin of your dog which still has fur on it. If the skin on the bald spots look thicker and dryer compared to skin on the rest of your dog, then it is possible that your pet has dog eczema.
Later on, dog eczema may progress to its wet stage when left untreated. The dog eczema symptoms which were earlier mentioned only belong to the dry stage of this canine condition. During the wet stage of this condition, your dog's bald skin spots will no longer appear dry. While the rashes may still be thick, you will notice that they are already oozing and possibly even bleeding. Basically, during this wet stage of dog eczema, your dog's rashes are already wounded. These wounds leave your dog more prone to infections since their skin is already broken.
As soon as you notice that your dog is losing hair or if you suspect that your dog is already suffering from the dry stage of dog eczema, calling the vet is your safest option. It is not advisable that you use steroid eczema creams or ointments that are prescribed for humans on dogs. There are specific eczema creams and ointments designed for use on dog eczema. With regards to natural eczema treatments, you can consult these with the veterinarian as to which products might help with your dog's condition.
The best way to control dog eczema is not with the use of any eczema treatment though. It is always better that you identify what irritated your dog's skin in the first place. This may require you to put your dog on a "trial and error" in order to identify what caused his dog eczema. However, the reward will be fruitful with the identification of these causes since you will be able to keep skin irritants away from your dog in the long run.
Charles Perkins is a skin care expert. For more information related to dog eczema, visit http://www.GoodbyeEczema.com/Dog-Eczema/