Poodle skin irritation

Kay Rice
by Kay Rice
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QuestionMy poodle (bella) is biting her skin and now she has a semi bald patch on her right thigh, i gave her a bath but she still does the samething. What do i do? (clifton stroman - North Carolina)

Answer

Some dogs that frequently bite at a certain location on their skin can develop what is called a hot spot. These hot spots are areas of skin that are severely inflamed and possibly infected. Dogs that get them will not leave them alone and they will bite and lick the area until it is hairless and ulcerated. Dogs with skin mites, fleas or allergies are predisposed to developing hot spots. Curly or long-haired dogs with hair that is too long or matted can also develop hot spots secondary to skin irritation.

It is recommended that your veterinarian examine your dogs skin soon. Hot spots are extremely uncomfortable and the vet can provide relief. If the skin has become infected, antibiotics or antifungal medications may be necessary for healing. The vet may suggest that your dog wear a cone or Elizabethan collar around the neck to prevent them from biting at the skin, inflaming it further and delaying healing. Normal bathing will only provide temporary relief for maybe a few hours. Your vet may suggest a special soothing or medicated shampoo to help decrease inflammation and prevent infection.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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Added on Jan 1st, 2014
The first thing I would do is to change her food to one made for dogs with skin problems. Purina makes one that has worked well for a few of my clients. I have used chicken based dog foods that have caused terrible skin reactions with some of my dogs and I now avoid them.
   
I also have used shampoo with tree tea oil for hot spots and it did a great job. There are also sprays available (I use Bactine)to help sooth the hot spots.
   
The reason checking diet first is it can end up saving you a lot in vet bills since skin issues can require several visits to the vet's office.
   
I hope your baby gets better soon.