Hot Spots in dogs can be caused initially by a variety of factors which include allergies, insect bites, splinters, or anything else that itches in one spot. Once the dog starts scratching at the area, a dog hot spot may develop.
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Hot Spots in Dogs
What is a hotspot? A broad definition is a sore on the skin that is very itchy and that your dog cannot leave alone. Some hotspots are more than just an itchy spot or skin infection and your vet can determine that after examining your dog. What causes a hot spot? Hot spots in dogs can be caused by anything that causes the initial itch: an insect bite, splinter, an allergy, even a shampoo. The dog will scratch the itch constantly, which leads to infection, which in turn leads to more itching and a vicious cycle starts. Itching, scratching, more itching, more scratching. The hot spot is now an inflamed area on the skin, like an open wound, that will become infected as the dog licks it.
The vet’s job is to break the cycle by removing the itch. It is better to have your vet examine the dog to make sure it is not a fungal disease or even cancer. Home medicating a hotspot that turns out to be cancer delays the diagnosis and treatment. After ruling out other diseases, the vet will use short-acting cortosteroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, or an Elizabethan collar to get the condition under control. Once the itch dies down, the dog stops scratching and licking and the hot spot is able to heal.
- Sam Meisler DVM
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