Symptoms of Moist Dermatitis in Dogs (Canine Eczema)

Moist dermatitis or canine eczema is a condition that causes itchy, red and crusty skin and hair loss in some cases. The canine eczema may also be known as hot spots and these may be caused by bacteria. The symptoms of moist dermatitis shouldn't be ignored, as the dog may develop secondary infections.

Skin Itchiness

The moist dermatitis is more common during summer months when the dog's skin is more likely to get wet. Wetness facilitates the buildup and reproduction of the bacteria. The bacteria will cause itchiness.

Eczema may also be present in dogs affected by fleas or mites, which also cause itchiness and irritation.

Red, Scaly, Crusty Skin

Due to itchiness, the dog will scratch the skin, which will make it red and irritated.

If the eczema is not treated and the infection persists, this will cause scaly crusty skin. The skin will thicken and the coat may also be coarse.

Excessive Scratching

The itchiness will cause fervent scratching; the dog may bite, chew, scratch and lick the affected areas, even to the point of causing wounds and bleeding.

Hair Loss

Due to the skin thickening the dog may lose hair in the areas that are affected by eczema. The hair loss will be gradual and may cause a bald patch.

Thin Film of Pus

The bacteria may lead to the formation of pus under the surface of the skin. You may notice that there is a thin film of pus, which may drain and cause foul smelling skin.

Acral Lick Dermatitis

The hot spots may transform into acral lick dermatitis also known as granulomas, which are caused by the excessive licking of the skin. The granulomas are more frequent on the limbs and may cause inflammation, irritation and ulceration.

Secondary Infections

If the condition doesn't get attention and suitable treatment, the dog may develop secondary skin infections; the eczema may facilitate an overgrowth of the yeast cells causing a fungal infection.

The dog's immune system will also be weaker, so he will be more exposed to other diseases.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you notice eczema symptoms in your pet, you should consult a vet.

Moist dermatitis may be diagnosed by taking a bacterial culture from the skin to determine what type of bacteria causes the eczema. The vet may perform additional tests to determine if there are secondary infections present.

The treatment is most often made up of oral antibiotics and topical treatment. The topical treatment should relive the discomfort and itchiness, while the antibiotics will get rid of the bacteria. Steroids administered orally or topically may also be recommended if the condition is severe. Injections with steroids will be recommended in rare cases.

To prevent the dog from chewing, scratching and licking the treated areas, the vet may recommend a lamp shade collar, at least for 2 to 3 days, until the skin shows signs of improvement.

The antibiotic treatment should be administered for 10 to 14 days.