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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dog health~ Hot Spots

Hot Spots GRRRR!”

Every spring and summer poor Chance and Steeler have to suffer with hot spots, also known as moist dermatitis. Hot spots happen when moisture stays under the fur and the skin remains wet. With all the rain we’ve had it was inevitable that it would soon come to this. The problem with hot spots is that you have to keep them clean and dry in order for them to heal, which means you have to keep the dog from constantly licking them.

Hot spots seemingly happen over night, one minute you’ve put everyone to bed and you snuggle into your own bed nice and comfy, then when you wake with the sun’s rise you notice that your dog has chewed all night long, the hair is gone, the skin is raw, and there is blood and pus in a wide spread area. Gross, I know, especially when said dog is a therapy dog. Hot spots can bring therapy visits to a dead halt. Sometimes as the wound is healing I’ll cover it with gauze so we can attend a visit, but let’s face it, no one wants to look at an ugly wound on a dog.

When people notice the bandage they always ask, “Ah, with a little pity in their voice, what happened?”

I used to explain that the dog had hot spots but not many people knew what a hot spot was so rather than trying to explain over and over again how hot spots occur I now say, “Someone thought he was a bear and they shot him!”
The general public seems to understand that a lot better and the look on their faces is priceless until they realize I’m kidding.

So, tonight I saw Chance chewing his hip area and sure enough there it was, the start of a hot spot, although it did not look very big from where I sat.
Yes! I thought, I’ve caught it early enough! And I promptly broke out the shears all the while smirking that I caught it before it got too large and ugly.

Buzz, buzz, buzz went the shears and as Chance’s hair fell off I realized I was not that lucky after all. The undercoat was kind of molded together leaving me with only one choice, a full shave down of about a four to five inch diameter.

Blasted anyhow, no therapy visits for a while. In my effort to keep this from happening to the other side of his hip, or to Steeler, I shaved them both in the hind quarters leaving only an inch of hair. If it works I’ll do it each spring. Who cares if they look part poodle!

Hot spot care: Should your pup get hot spots the best thing to do is shave the area right away, wash frequently through the day with antibacterial soap, dry well, and apply a triple antibiotic ointment on it. Use an Elizabethan collar so they can’t continuously lick it. Sometimes the hot spot is so bad that that the dog will not allow you to touch it and in that case you’ll need a vet to do the shaving and probably some oral antibiotics for a bacterial infection. The vet can also give you a bacterial spray to use rather than the rub on ointment which is much more helpful if it hurts to be touched. My other three Newfies do not get this problem each year and I believe it is because they are shaved down for pool use so the skin dries more easily.

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