You Make The Diagnosis: Name This Itchy Skin Condition In Dogs

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Pictured below is a close up of an area of dermatitis on a dog’s neck. The dog was fine when his family left for work in the morning. When they returned, he had a raised patch of hairless skin on his neck right below his collar. The dog paced about rubbing his neck on anything he could find. He only stopped to scratch his neck. The nails on his back paw were covered with a sticky, smelly yellow material. Study the image then answer the following question: What is this condition?

Diagnosis: Hot Spot (Acute Moist Dermatitis)

Hot spots are areas of moist dermatitis that are extremely uncomfortable for the dog. They usually occur in breeds with double coats such as Golden Retrievers, Great Pyrenees and Bernese Mountain Dogs. My patients seem to experience them in the summer, when the heat and humidity are high. 

Hot spots can be caused by a number of things including fleas, allergies, mites and lice. Basically, anything that irritates the skin can cause a hot spot. Once the skin is irritated, bacteria move in and cause an infection. The dog scratches the area causing it to grow rapidly. 

If your dog has a hot spot, please seek veterinary care right away. This is a painful condition that needs aggressive treatment.   

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.