Ask Seth: What to Do About Wet Area Under Dog's Ear

Ask Seth: Wet Area Under Animal's EarMy dog has a huge, stinky, wet area under her ear and going down her neck! I heard her scratching all night.  The vet said it sounded like a hotspot and she should be seen.  What is a hotspot and how did she get it?

What you are explaining does sound like a hot spot.  A hot spot is a skin infection that develops and quickly spreads outward in every direction.  They are caused by many different bacteria that are always on the skin (flora) and become problematic when they enter a scratch or scrape on the skin.  The toxins they produce break down the skin's defenses and spreads quickly.  When the animal continues to scratch, this creates more areas where the bacteria can enter the skin.  They start out red, wet and hot, then they heal and become dry scabs. Then the skin heals and the hair grows back, eventually.  It is important to see a veterinarian as soon as it is identified.  They can clip and clean the area and determine the appropriate medication.  In some cases, there can be a combination of antihistamines, steroids and oral antibiotics that can best treat this issue.  A change in diet may also be prescribed.

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