Pyotraumatic Dermatitis in Dogs

Dermatitis in dogs is a skin condition that occurs in varying forms and affects the pet’s skin, causing discomfort and inflammation. Pyotraumatic dermatitis is generally seen in pets with long and thick fur coats. It’s also known as hot spots or moist dermatitis. The symptoms of pyotraumatic dermatitis occur when the dog excessively chews or licks already irritated skin. This constant biting or chewing leads to increased bacterial formations and severely inflamed skin.

Symptoms of Pyotraumatic Dermatitis:

  • Red inflamed skin
  • Sores
  • Skin lesions
  • Pus formation in the sores
  • Hair loss

Causes of Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

Dogs are commonly infected with fleas or ticks that bite the skin, transmit bacteria and cause itching. In addition, parasite infections and environmental allergens cause severe skin conditions in pets. These primary skin infections develop into pyotraumatic dermatitis if the dog constantly chews at infected areas. Although pyotraumatic dermatitis can occur in all pets, certain breeds such as golden retrievers and German shepherds are more susceptible to dermatitis.

Hot Spots

Canine hot spots are visible when inflamed skin develops a sore that oozes with pus. Pets also lose hair around the sore and experience itchiness. Hot spots occur when bacteria multiply on the surface of the skin due to allergic reactions, flea bites and humidity in the environment.

Diagnosis of Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

Dogs generally develop hot spots on the sides of the face and the flank of the body. The vet will have to determine the underlying cause of the skin condition in order to prevent further skin damage. The dog’s ears will be checked for ear infections. Anal gland infection is also known to cause skin lesions or hot spots. Pets suffering from flea, tick or mange infections will be prescribed medications and shampoos to kill parasites. The vet will also note the pet’s medical history and consider the physical signs of pyotraumatic dermatitis before administering medication.

Treatment of Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

In order to treat skin lesions or sores it’s important to disinfect the area with a prescribed anti-bacterial solution. It’s best to clip the pet’s fur around the sore in order to adequately clean and medicate the skin. Commercially available anti-bacterial medications include nolvasan skin and wound cleanser, gentocin topical spray and betagen. The vet will also prescribe drugs such as corticosteroids, to prevent itching and further skin irritation. Infections that are severe require treatment with antibiotic medication. Pet owners should read and follow package instructions before administering any drugs to dogs.

Prevention of Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

It’s best to determine the cause of primary skin conditions and take measures to prevent dermatitis in pets. Dogs allergic to dust or smoke should be kept in clean environments, away from pollutants. Adequate flea and parasite control methods should also be followed, as fleas or ticks are carriers of many harmful diseases.

Pyotraumatic dermatitis is a curable skin condition. Regular grooming and preventive medications can help maintain optimal health in dogs.