Hairless areas on your dog that seem sensitive, and perhaps ooze a clear fluid or pus may be dog hot spots. Inflamed skin has allowed an infection to take hold, and the resulting area becomes extremely sensitive, perhaps painful or itchy. Properly called pyotraumatic dermatitis by veterinarians, these bacterial infections of the skin have several causes, including allergies, improper or insufficient grooming, and behavioral issues.
Irritation of the skin is necessary before an infection can take hold in a dog with a normal immune system. This irritation can result from allergies to parasites, food, or environment, matting or fur that creates a buildup of moisture and debris, or excessive licking or scratching caused by allergies, boredom, anxiety, or other behavioral issues.
It’s always recommended to take your dog to the veterinarian, just in case the issue is more serious than it appears. After clipping the fur around the affected area, you or the vet will wash it regularly with a gentle antiseptic or other cleanser until it heals. Sores that were created by scratching or licking may require the use of an e-collar for a short period of time while the area heals.
The issue behind the skin infection must be addressed if the problem is to be completely resolved. Treating the infection itself is important, but will not prevent the recurrence of the same issue. Successfully treating the root of the problem can help keep it from coming back.
Dogs that suffer from lesions associated with poor grooming obviously need to be groomed more often, or perhaps, more carefully. Removal of all mats from the coat on a regular basis, such as twice as week or more, is necessary to avoid development of skin infections. Clipping out the mats is an acceptable alternative to detangling them, if necessary. Sometimes, going to the groomer will be necessary if the owner cannot provide the necessary care.
Unfortunately, allergies that manifest as skin irritation can be to almost anything in the household. Cleaning up any fleas and other parasites and treating the dog with an anti-parasitic medication are usually indicated, as is changing the diet to a low-allergen one and vacuuming and otherwise removing dust and pollen. Sometimes, treatment with an antihistamine medication is necessary as well.
Behavioral issues can be complicated, both to understand and to resolve. Dogs that lick excessively are usually bored or anxious, and both of these problems can clear up with more exercise and mental stimulation, if the situation is mild. Dogs that are more strongly affected can benefit from a consult with a behaviorist, and extremely anxious dogs might require an anti-anxiety medication of some sort.
Dog hot spots serve as an indication that there is a greater problem with your pet. Treating the issue itself is, of course, very important, but the underlying cause needs to be addressed, too. Proper treatment for the real issue can make your dog more comfortable as well as less susceptible to skin infections, and a happier canine as well.