Acute Moist Dermatitis: The Hot spot

Acute Moist Dermatitis: The Hot spotAlong with the fun of summer, for many dogs there is a somewhat unpleasant side effect of the romps in the grass and ocean..the hot spot!  Hot spots are areas of fur that become very inflamed after an allergic trigger.  The pet may have been stung by a bug, had matted wet fur or had contact with an allergic trigger.

Within just hours, the area can become acutely worse as the itch triggers the dog to lick and chew.  Hot spots usually occur on just a single spot and can range greatly in severity.

Golden Retrievers are commonly affected as well as many other allergy –prone breeds such as Bichon Frise, Labradors and Wheaton Terriers. Common locations are the hind end, neck and inguinal area.

Diagnosis is relatively simple as they all tend to look very similar.  They may also have an odor due to secondary bacterial infections.  Treatment can be varied as the severity can vary significantly in each dog.  I like to compare it to those of us that get poison ivy like I used to get as a kid.  You are miserable for a few days thinking the itch will never go away but then finally it does.

Some people are able to cope with the itch and a few lesions, others may need steroids like prednisone to help them from itching too much!  We try to match the treatment to the patient and their severity of signs.

Basic Treatment

  • It is best to always clip and clean the area so that more hair does not mat the area
  • Try to keep the area dry by using something as simple as green tea (tannic acid dries it out) or Gold Bond Powder (menthol) to “cool “ the heat
  • Topical products such as Hydro-B are astringents that help dry up the moistness
  • Benadryl is an antihistamine that can help alleviate the itch and take the pet’s mind off it. An OTC product, it can be dosed at 1mg per pound up to three times daily for otherwise healthy dogs. (If your dog  is on any other medications, please call the office for recommendations)
  • Some of our patients may require prescription medications such as steroids and antibiotics