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2-Year Old Golden Retriever Jumps in Pool, Comes Out With Infection

April 30, 2010
2-Year-Old Golden Retriever Suffers Crusts and Sores under Ear and Around his Neck

Hot Spot Dermatitis Below Ear and on Neck

“Hot Spot” Symptoms

A miserable, itchy Golden Retriever sat on the floor in the corner of Doc Truli’s examination room and attempted to scratch an oozing, sticky, furry mess under his right ear with his right hind paw.  He was too tired and lazy to make the ear to paw connection.  He settled for rubbing the ear on the nearest leather chair.

“Hot Spot” Skin Infection Spread in Hours

“When did you notice the problem?” asked Doc Truli.

“Just 2 days ago,” said the housekeeper.

Jake swam regularly.  Usually, the family’s housekeeper was in charge of hosing Jake down and making sure he dried off after a swim in the family pool.  This time, the housekeeper was out sick.  Jake went swimming and stayed damp under the fur – down to his skin –  for two days.

A “Hot Spot” Makes a Dog Feel Sick All Over

By the time anyone realized something was wrong, Jake was lethargic, listless, had no energy, did not want to eat, and constantly rubbed or itched his ear area.  The normally happy-go-lucky Golden Retriever felt miserable.  He smelled fairly ripe, too.

“Hot Spot” is the slang for “Pyotraumatic Dermatitis,” explains Doc Truli. “Most pyotraumatic dermatitis results from everyday bacteria, like Staphylococcus spp. finding a hospitable environment on the body.  A thick, damp coat of fur holds the moisture and keeps the healing UV sunlight off of the skin.  The bacteria can multiply and infections spread in those ideal conditions.”

“We’ll have to shave the infected area and see the extent of the damage,” said the Doc, beginning to shave.  Some dogs allow a veterinarian to shave a sore area without a fuss.  Oftentimes, when an infected area is red, swollen, and painful, the kindest course of action is some painkillers and anti-anxiety medication.

A “Hot Spot” Can be Considered an Emergency

While a dog is unlikely to die from a sudden skin infection, the pain and suffering the infection causes should be stopped as soon as possible.  Doc Truli saw one dog drag his canine tooth into his side and scrape a furrow in his own skin to scratch at a hot spot area over a weekend.  Do not hesitate to visit a pet emergency room to get help in stopping the pain and itchiness from a hot spot.

Pain Medication and a Clean Up Start the Healing Process

Remove the Fur Over All of the Infected Area

Under sedation, Jake’s clean-up began.  The crusts and infected, sore skin extended below both ears, down the front of his chest under the pretty ruff fur, and around the back sides of his neck!  He looked like he met a lawn mower and the lawn mower won by the time we were through with him!

Antibiotics and Anti-inflammatory Medication

Jake needed good antibiotics for skin infection along with some medication to take the redness and pain out of the wounds.  Even though he’s not going to win any dog shows after the medical shave he received, Jake began to feel better immediately.

Jake the Golden Retriever Dog holds his head up to show off his shaved fur and dried, healing crusts under his ear

After 3 Days of Healing, Jake Looks Better

The healing time, as with most skin wounds, will be about 14 days.  The fur, however, will take about 6 months to grow into the thick, lustrous coat it can be!

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