Q: My 5-pound female poodle is subject to "hot spots." They will flare up in minutes, sometimes covering an area of about three square inches, and her skin is bright red.
I have heard they are caused by fleas, an allergy and a high-protein diet. I bathe her weekly, medicate the skin on breaking out. I do make her meat loaf myself. I could not find any product sold that she would like. I give her a vitamin supplement daily, Nutra-Cal. She does get nibbles from the table, too. She is 6 years old. Her medications are Prednisolone, 5 mg., a half tablet daily when hot spots appear, and HB101 to apply directly on hot spots.
All this has been going on for months. I'm hoping you can give her some relief and help.
Elizabeth Lewis, Newport Beach
A: Hot spots, or acute moist dermatitis, are the result of self-inflicted trauma from chewing or licking of the skin. The lesions are seen generally on dogs with dense haircoats. The most common cause is allergy, especially flea bites, which causes the skin to itch or become irritated. The dog then scratches or chews the area, removing the hair and the superficial layer of skin. The skin then becomes more inflamed, moist and now prone to secondary bacterial infection. Because of the intense irritation, a small spot can become very large within hours.