Hot spots are also known as summer sores or moist eczema. The trigger for this skin condition in dogs ranges from insect bites to excessive itching, licking and scratching. Despite the cause, canine dermatitis and moist eczema are conditions that can quickly spread and cause serious infections. The majority of these skin issues are open, as a result they are easily infected with bacteria and can require immediate treatment. Bacteria can quickly turn a small sore into a large hot spot that can be very stubborn to cure. Hot spots also tend to reappear in the same places. They require treatment to ensure they will heal without causing a major infection. Here is some more specific information on understanding hot spots.
Clean the Affected Area
Once a hot spot is discovered, it is best to clean the area. If it is very hard to get to the hot spot, you may have to shave the surrounding hair to be able to effectively treat the sore. A great many people worry that shaving the area will prevent normal hair from returning. Dermatitis and dandruff rarely cause scarring if treated quickly and given the ability to heal. Shaving the area also keeps moisture off of the affected area keeping it drier than if wet fur laid atop the wound. Clean the wound with water based astringent or soap. It is very important to dry the wound before releasing the dog. Remember to check the wound often and to clean it daily.
The spots often need the care of a veterinarian because by the time you find it is usually has become infected. A veterinarian can also give you prescription medicines to help speed the recovery. The veterinarian can give the dog a Cortisone Shots to help reduce swelling, stop itching and speed recovery. They usually accompany this with a cortisone cream and topical antibiotic lotion. If the infection is advanced, the veterinarian may also give the dog a round of oral antibiotics to help clear the infection. Finally, your dog may need an Elizabethan collar that wraps around their neck to prevent them from getting to the hot spot. While the collar is large and a bit obtrusive, it does keep the dog from chewing or licking the treated wound. The collar should be worn until the wound has had a significant chance to heal. Repeated opening of the wound can lead to scarring and cessation of hair growth in the area.
Preventing Skin Sores and Licking
The veterinarian or local pet store can usually recommend an ointment to keep for the remainder of the time it takes for the wound to heal. This can also be used if another hot spot is found early on to prevent it from turning into a full blown infection. These ointments need to be safe for the dog if licked or ingested. Do not use human antibacterial cream or ointments on a dog without first consulting with a vet.There are some treatments that are specifically designed for dog eczema or canine skin hotspot infections that can be very useful to prevent future infections.
Dry Your Dog Well and Groom
When you give the dog a bath or you take him for a swim you must be vigilant about drying the dog well. Use a towel and dry the fur and check for places that are red or have a rash. This is also an outstanding time to brush out your dog and keep the fur from becoming matted or knotted.
Short Hair in Summer
If you have a dog that has the ability to be groomed, it might be best to have your dog shaved or clipped with a shorter cut during the summer months. Shorter hair that can be kept dry easily will help to prevent the scratching from manifesting. It is also much easier to spot a developing hot spots when the fur is much shorter.