Hotspots in Bulldogs

Hotspots (also known as moist dermatitis or moist eczema) in bulldogs is a condition that can be caused by multiple factors and causes an area of your bulldog’s skin to become inflamed, infected, red, moist, itchy, painful and oozy.

Many hotspots in dogs are caused by an infestation of fleas, presence of dust mites, an insect bite (arthropod), an allergic reaction (often to plants, trees, grass or food), skin rashes and wounds. The initial inflammation causes your bulldog adults and puppies to become itchy and uncomfortable, forcing them to scratch and bite the affected area in order to reduce the pain. The self trauma only worsens the initial inflammation, causing it to spread and further irritate your dog in a vicious cycle.

Hotspots can occur all over the body, but one of the most common areas is under the flap of the ear. Bulldogs in particular are more disposed to hotspots due to the abundance of moist skin folds around the face and head, which can often be a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, leading to irritation.

If your dog is continually biting and scratching at a particular area of their skin and appears to be in pain, you should very carefully check the area for redness, bleeding, puss and infection. Remember that this condition is extremely painful for your pet and they will likely be sensitive, so you must be careful about how you approach and handle your dog.

Your veterinarian will generally trim away the fur surrounding the area of irritation, and then carefully and completely clean the area with a topical medication that will help kill bacteria and alleviate pain. They will also usually inject some form of cortisone such as prednisone to the affected area in order to reduce pain and combat the allergy induced inflammation, as well as prescribe an oral antibiotic to clear away any remaining bacteria.

Your veterinarian will often place an Elizabethan collar (plastic cone) around your dog’s neck for up to a week following treatment, in order to prevent your dog from further irritating the area during the healing process.

Another important factor for both you and your vet to determine is the cause of the hotspot. Does your pet need to be treated regularly for fleas? Are they allergic to a particular plant growing outside your home? Answering these questions will help prevent re-occurrence and promote a happier, healthier dog.

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