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3-Year-Old English Bulldog Massive Hot Spot

December 26, 2010
sleepy, sedated bringle English Bulldog

Sedated Bullie

Painful Infection Spreads in Hours

“I swear, it wasn’t this bad yesterday!” said Arlo’s dad.

Arlo snorted and wagged his stumpy tail and looked up suspiciously at Doc Truli as if to say, “I like her if she has cookies, but if she’s gonna touch my face, that’s not good.”

“I’m not a bad dog parent or anything, I thought it would go away with a little of that spray I got last time.”

Hot Spots Hit Fast

Veterinarians hear this all the time.  The spot seemed red or gooey or sore, or the pooch was rubbing and pawing at the face, and a little first aid is applied.  After all, some common sense can go a long way.

First Line First Aid for Mild Hot Spots

  • Clean the area with hydrogen peroxide, or chlorhexine scrub, or dilute iodine
  • If the fur is long, then shaving or clipping the area is essential to healing, and essentially difficult to do with an awake, painful critter
  • Dogs can tolerate Neomycin-polymyxin topical antibiotic cream.  There are some individual allergic reactions to the antibiotics, as with any products, so do not use if redness, pain, or swelling occurs

If, after cleaning and applying some basic first-aid, the spot is still red, itchy, oozing, sore, then you have an aggravated immune system response to the bacteria on the skin.

Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

The long word for “hot spot” is pyotraumatic dermatitis.  An injury or insect bite, or self-trauma because of itching, or incomplete rinsing after a bath, or incomplete drying of the skin sets up an environment ripe for bacteria.  Bacteria from everywhere in the environment takes advantage of the situation and infects the skin.  Then the immune watchdog system in the skin starts reacting and making puss to try and kill the bacteria.

The resulting red, sore, painful skin becomes edematous and fragile.  The scratching and itchy damage the skin further.  Fur traps the infection next to the upper layer of the skin and the infection travels quickly under the fur along the surface of the skin.

Within hours you have a significant, painful problem.

What Good Does the Vet Do?

Most dogs with pyotraumatic dermatitis need sedatives to calm them in order the effectively shave and clean the wound.

The, they usually need prescription-strength steroids to calm the immune system.  And prescription antibiotics to stop the bacteria.

English Bulldog with red, painful, wet infection on his cheek

Facial Hot Spot

Arlo liked his painkillers and sedative.  He received cleaning, mild steroids and antibiotics and a special spray for his dad to apply twice daily (while covering his eyes bulging right nearby).

The wound dried up in a day.  The redness went away within 24 hours and Arlo stopped rubbing his face on the sisal carpet on the porch.

Next month, we’ll recheck Arlo’s healing process and investigate why he got the hot spot.  Food allergy?  Atopy? Injury?  Hypothyroidism?


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