Summer is almost here, and lots of pets develop skin problems. “Hot spots” in pets are a common superficial infection that can spread like a fire, so they earn the name. Anything that causes damage to the skin surface can lead to a breakdown of natural defenses.
Hot spots in pets usually start by the pet chewing at the site, making the area red and angry. Staph bacteria think this is the perfect place to live, and, very quickly, there is a growing area of crusting, pain, and inflammation. This problem is most common in thick coated dogs, but any dog with allergies or sensitive skin can have recurring issues with hot spots.
Prevention is the best way to deal with these infections. Be sure you use good flea products, and brush your pet often to prevent mats. Brushing also lets you check the skin for early problems. If your pet has allergies, check with your veterinarian for effective treatments and stick with them.
If you find a moist, irritated spot on the skin, carefully clip all the hair around the edges to help keep it dry. You can gently clean the area with dilute betadine or Hibiclens type product, but don’t use any cream based medications. The goal is to help it dry! If the spot seems to be spreading or not improving quickly, have your vet check before it turns into a “fire!”
Dr. Brown has been a veterinarian for 30 years. Her web site is www.healthcareforpets.net.