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What is Pyotraumatic Dermatitis (Hot Spots)?

This condition is a common occurrence in the canine species and occasionally in the feline species.

The actual causative agent is bacteria called Staphylococcal aureus – this bacteria lives on normal skin and only becomes a problem when there has been a break in the immune system.

The lesion can develop within hours and is characterised by the loss of hair, it is usually intensely itchy around the skin and the lesion is usually reddened.

The animal is usually very sensitive in this area and may even become aggressive if the owner of others try to touch the ‘hot spot’.

photo courtesy of http://www.vetbook.org

The lesion is usually relatively shallow, but in some cases the lesion can extend down the full depth of the skin and becomes ulcerated very quickly. The infection spreads in the lateral direction very rapidly and I have seen many cases that started the same size as a twenty cent piece but within 24hrs that same lesion can cover the entire side of the animal.

Conditions that are usually associated with the start of the ‘hot spot’ include the following;

  • hot humid conditions
  • dense hair coats
  • breaks in the skin as from some other trauma
  • anal gland impaction
  • flea allergies
  • infections of the ear or its canal
  • some mites or allergic reaction to substances in the air or in the food

The ‘hot spot’ is usually treated successfully as long as the area is clipped and scrubbed, the animal is placed on antibiotics for at least 10 days and in some cases the animal must be given some cortico steroids to stop the self-mutilation.

The hardest part of treating the condition is not the medication but establishing the reason why the condition is not the medication but establishing the reasons why the condition started in the first place so that the preventative actions can be put in place.

In a lot of cases this last part is very difficult and unless the animal has many outbreaks of the problem then my advice to most of my clients is to just react to the problem when it first occurs

It is always my advice that an animal with a developing pyotraumatic dermatitis should be taken to the vet as soon as possible – the sooner we start the appropriate  treatment then the cheaper it is for the pet owner and the better it is for the animal

If you suspect your pet has any form of dermatitis then please feel free to Contact Us to discuss

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