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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on December 19, 2004

Question

I have a 1-1/2-year-old male Lhasa apso. He recently developed what the veterinarian described as a "hot spot." I had never heard of this before. Our vet prescribed a cream and a steroid in tablet form.Can you comment on hot spots? What is the typical treatment? Are there any home remedies that will relieve the itching?.

S.W., Charlottesville, Va Dec 19, 2004

Answer

"Hot spots" is the common name for an all-too-common skin reaction in dogs to certain allergic substances. These can range from the saliva of fleas to various pollens, food ingredients and household materials, including wool blankets, certain floor cleaners and even tobacco smoke. While allergy-prone people tend toward asthmatic attacks, allergy-prone dogs have hot-spot skin attacks due to the way their bodies respond to certain histamine-triggering foreign proteins.Steroid creams and pills help in the short-term, but are harmful when used over the long-term. So you should thoroughly check for fleas (even one flea can trigger a hot spot) and conduct skin tests for specific allergens.A change in diet to natural, whole-food ingredients (different from what your dog is normally given) and nutraceutical supplements (to help boost your dog''s immune system) would be a more holistic approach to his problem.

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