This morning when you left for work you noticed that your Irish Setter seemed to scratching at his right shoulder a bit. When you got back this afternoon he was quite distraught and had a large infected patch of raw skin there. It seems really sore and he doesn’t want anyone to get too close to it. In fact, although he’s typically very well mannered, he actually growled at you when you tried to go in for a closer look. This is all extremely unsettling. You don’t know what has happened to him or what to do for him.
– What on earth is going on with my dog? I have never seen this before.
Don’t worry. It sounds as if your dog is suffering with a fairly common skin disorder referred to as dog hot spots. Also known as pyotraumatic dermatitis or acute moist dermatitis, it’s a self-inflicted inflammation caused by excessive scratching or biting. Generally it presents itself as a red, raw patch of itchy, infected skin. Sometimes it’s also accompanied by fur loss.
– I don’t understand. What caused this?
Well, while the actual inflammation and infection is is a simply result of the scratching and biting there’s often a relatively straight forward inciting factor such as mites, fleas, injury, or insect bite. It is also feasible that your dog has suffered some sort of allergic contact to something that made him itchy.
– So how do I treat it?
You should probably arrange to have your dog checked out by a vet at the earliest opportunity to help ensure that any infection does not spread or worsen. Usually the afflicted patch will be shaved, cleaned and kept dry. Some sort of dog collar is generally used to prevent the dog from worrying at the affected area. It’s also possible, depending on the severity of any infection, a veterinarian will prescribe a course of antibiotics or a medicated shampoo.
– How can I prevent this sort of thing in the future?
The most effective way way to prevent future dog hot spots is to restrict the potential inciting factors. Keep your dog vigorously well groomed. Use a dog shampoo that reduces itchy skin and make use of products that can effectively control fleas and mites.
If you are interested to find out more regarding common dog skin disorders simply Google ‘dog hot spots’, ‘dog rashes’ or perhaps a more general search like ‘itchy dog’ or ‘stop dog shedding’. While it is upsetting to see your dog suffering through any sort of affliction it is good to know that hot spots are relatively common and entirely treatable.
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