Spring / Summer is finally here and with the season comes fun in the sun and the pool, warm temps, and humidity. This is a perfect breeding ground for acute, moist dermatitis, commonly known as hot spots. So what are hot spots? They are bacterial skin infections that grow at an alarming rate and spread quickly because dogs tend to lick, chew or scratch the area. Hot spots can result from an insect bite, allergies, ear infections or any break to the skin.
The most common breeds that we see prone to hot spots include Golden Retrievers (#1 breed), Labrador Retrievers, and any heavy coated dog that is prone to skin issues, has allergies, and loves water. While water (lakes and pools) does not cause hot spots, the wet dog is a perfect environment for a hot spot to develop from some other cause . . . add humidity and a thick coat and you have the perfect incubator for an infection to fester. Once this occurs, the infection comes on quickly and grows very aggressively (In a matter of hours). The result is a bright red, oozing patch of skin with a very strong odor that can be itchy and painful.
Again, the swimming pool does not cause hot spots. In fact, a pool is the cleanest and best water dogs can be in as it does not have all the algae and bacteria of lakes. But a wet dog is the perfect environment for a hot spot to develop from some other cause.
At Top Dog Country Club we have an entire protocol for proactively preventing, for recognizing early signs, and for treating these irritations before hot spots can develop.
1) We move the pool dogs in the afternoon to another yard so they can dry off before coming in from play
2) We proactively check the crazy swimmers around their ears, head and groin . . . common areas to find skin irritation
3) We treat ear infections when we see them and watch for any dogs shaking their heads, scratching at their ears, or rubbing their head on the turf . . . all signs that they have some irritation.
4) We towel dry wet dogs after play time
5) We offer 100% blow dry services for those clients that are really hot spot prone
6) When we do find a hot spot, we shave the area, letting air get to it. We flush it and use an antibiotic spray. This often prevents the hot spot from growing. We keep your dog out of water so as to not further promote growth and we monitor the healing. For severe hot spots we will take your dog to the vet to get them on an antibiotic and we will call to inform you of the veterinary attention.
If you have questions about hot spots or think your dog may be prone . . . let us know at check in and we can discuss a plan!