Causes of your dog’s itchy skin and hair loss (hot spots)
It happens all the time: One day your pet has a shiny coat full of luster and the next day there is a large patch of hair loss that is sensitive, moist and oozing. Sometimes the skin is sticky and this can cause your pet to be very uncomfortable. In worse cases, these sticky lesions can also be scratched until they bleed. This common sudden skin change in dogs is often referred to as a “hot spot” which refers to a sudden area of intense skin inflammation as described above.
In some cases it is necessary to see a veterinarian who will usually clip the hair from around the area to allow it to heal, and clean and dry the area thoroughly. On occasion it is necessary to sedate the pet in order to properly treat very sensitive hot spots. If the eruption is severe, oral antibiotics are often prescribed such as Cephalexin and/or short courses of oral Prednisone or Temaril-P, until the lesions dry and heal. With time and patience, most pets are back to normal in a short period of time.
In those pets that have repetitive hot spots, it is important to explore the various underlying allergic causes mentioned in this article to cure this tendency long term.These areas can emerge anywhere on a pet’s body, but most commonly are seen under the ears or skin folds of the neck, and often down the lower back or flank areas. The causes of these frustrating and often painful eruptions are usually allergy based: either flea bite allergy, inhalant/contact allergy, and/or food allergy. Obviously a thorough flea combing should be done to make sure there is no evidence of flea infestation or recent exposure to fleas. Such pets should be on a good flea preventative program using such products as Frontline Plus or Advantage, or a natural form of flea prevention for clients more holistically oriented.
The most first line of treatment in such pets with hot spots is to soothe the skin both topically and through oral medication. Oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine, chlorpheniramine or clemestine can help break the itch cycle, as well as cleaning the area with a dilute antibacterial soap, and then adequately drying. Topical anti-inflammatories such as Be Soothed or Excel Hydrocortisone Spray can potentially help in offering the pet relief.