Dog Days of Summer – Skin problems & Hot spots

Dr. Suzie Jerabek

Summer is here at last!

At Royal York Animal Hospital that means….… dog breeds like Golden Retrievers and other thick coated dogs come in for their summer groom and trim.  Why trim a Golden Retriever?? To deter the dreaded Hot Spot of course!!

Summer Pet Tips for Dogs

Golden Retriever

A Hot Spot is an area of localized skin irritation that can appear quite superficial or it can progress deep into the skin layers. The affected skin area is initially quite itchy and uncomfortable for your pet. The affected areas appear red and wet. These areas can be the size of a dime to the size of a basketball depending on how much self mutilization has occurred. Usually hairloss is noted and the area can be very painful for your pet. Ninety Nine % of Hot Spots are due to allergies.

Hot Spot on Dogs

Localized Hot Spot

To treat a Hot Spot, the areas are shaved to stop the spreading….like a forest fire, a trench is made to stop the flames from spreading hence shaving the area larger than the wound, stops the wet skin discharge from spreading it to the surrounding areas.

Hot Spot on Dogs

Here you can see RYAH Technicians start to shave the hot spot which at first appears to be fairly localized.

Dog Hot Spots Etobicoke, Ontario

After completely shaving and treating the affected area, you can see how large this hot spot actually was. Poor Angus!

The areas are then washed or disinfected with an Iodine based liquid. Our Veterinarians may dispense a topical ointment to apply to the area twice daily as well as an accompanying oral antibiotic to dry the skin lesions. A head collar , T-shirt or light wrap may be recommended to detour the aggressive licking/scratching that may ensue.

Hot Spots on Dogs in Etobicoke, Ontario

Angus all decked out with his head collar ready to go home — and feeling a lot more comfortable and a lot less itchy !

The skin wounds take about 2 weeks to heal and hair growth is complete in 12 – 16 weeks. It is true that once your pet has had a Hot Spot they can  certainly get another one It is thought that dogs who are not completely dried after swimming or bathing may be predisposed to Hot Spots but we also get a run of dogs with the dramatic weather changes ( I. e  in May when the temperatures increase and then decrease rapidly)  and the dog hasn’t had time to climatize. Royal York Animal Hospital in Etobicoke, Ontario   At the first sign of itching/scratching or excessive licking of an area…..please contact Royal York Animal Hospital ASAP…..The sooner Hot Spot is diagnosed and treated, the sooner your pet will be comfortable again.

Happy Summer!

Dr. Suzie Jerabek

Royal York Animal Hospital 4222 Dundas Street West, Etobicoke, Ontario M8X 1Y6 416-231-9293   .

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