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Summer Hot Spots

Hot spots vetco

Hot spots vetcoI love the summer but my dog always gets hotspots, why?

Hot spots are also called Moist Dermatitis. These are irritations on the skin caused by scratching, allergic reactions, and sometimes excessive licking. They are inflamed sore spots on your dog’s skin. They have no hair and often look “moist”. The combination of moisture (from licking, or water, or sweat) plus bacteria causes the hot spot. Often your dog will worry the spot by licking it even more, which can prevent it from healing properly.


Treating a hot spot:

  • trim the fur around the hot spot. You want to clear out the area of anything that traps moisture. This will help it dry out quicker. You may want to let the vet trim the fur, as hot spots can be extremely tender.
  • Clean it with a mild water based astringent or antiseptic spray, ask your vet which is the best to use for your dog.
  • Apply hydrocortisone spray or cream, if prescribed by your vet, to stop the itching while it heals.
  • Keep your dog from licking and biting it. You may need to put them in an Elizabethan collar if they won’t leave it alone. You do not want to wrap the hot spot as that will trap moisture and it needs to dry out.

Preventing a hot spot:

  • Keep your dog well groomed so moisture and bacteria are not trapped in their fur.
  • Treat any scratch or bug bite with a mild water-based antiseptic to reduce the chance of infection.
  • If you see them scratching a lot, you may need to treat them for fleas.

If your dog has a hot spot you should bring them to the vet. Most of the time they can be healed in a matter of a few weeks with proper care, but if they are left alone they can turn into a widespread infection.

Tracheal Collapse

Albuquerque kennel cough

Albuquerque kennel coughSometimes a cough is a sign of something bigger, like tracheal collapse. This is when your dog’s windpipe collapses and squeezes air as it is passing through. This causes a honking, gagging cough that often sounds like they are trying to cough up a hairball.

There are no known causes of tracheal collapse, and it often a birth defect. Toy breeds are more prone to this condition and tends to become symptomatic around 6 or 7 years.

Signs of Tracheal Collapse

  • Honking, gagging cough
  • Labored breathing
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Bluish tint to the gums
  • Cough can be provoked by excitement, eating, drinking, smoke, dust, obesity. exercise, and hot/humid weather.

If your dog has a honking or gagging cough you should get them evaluated by your Albuquerque veterinarian. They may need to perform some tests to test for tracheal collapse.

If your dog does have tracheal collapse they will likely be treated with cough suppressants, bronchiodilators, corticosteroids and possibly antibiotic. Weight loss in obese dogs has shown to help reduce pressure on the windpipe and can facilitate breathing. There is no cure but long term treatments are very viable.

Make sure to see our post about holistically treating chronic coughs.




How to Sooth Your Dog’s Cough

Vet-Co Veterinarian services for dogs

Vet-Co Veterinarian services for dogsCoughing is caused by an irritation in the airway, like inflammation, fluid or infection. Your dog could have a cough for a variety of reasons, from Kennel Cough to heart disease.

Kennel Cough often sounds like a goose and is very honking. It usually comes on suddenly and is very loud. It also tends to go on all day.

Heart Disease coughing usually starts at night when your dog is laying down. It also may be wet and have fluid that accompanies the cough.

Tracheal collapse will sound like a gagging like they are trying to cough up a hairball.

Remedies to ease coughing. 

Turn on a humidifier or put them in a shower, the humidity in the air will help them breathe, open up the airway and soothe the coughing.

Take off the collar, less pressure, use a harness. With a chronic cough, less pressure on their airway is better.

In the case of Kennel Cough, Echinacea and Goldenseal tincture are good for the immune system and can speed recovery. Use 1 drop per pound of body weight twice daily.

Licorice root tincture is a good cough suppressant. Do not use this for more than 5 days.  Do not use if there is liver, kidney or heart disease. 1 drop per pound of body weight, 2 times daily.

Dandelion is the safest diuretic and good for helping remove excess fluid. Use 2 drops per pound of body weight twice daily.

Natural Cough Syrup: 1 tbs honey, 1/2 tsp lemon juice concentrate, some warm water per 20-30lb of dog.  Use a syringe to give the syrup to the dog directly in their mouth. Make sure to give it in small amounts so they can swallow it and not choke on it.


Before doing any herbal treatment, make sure to consult your veterinarian.


With any serious cough you need to visit your Albuquerque veterinarian to get it evaluated

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The information provided on this website is written by Vetco staff. All information is meant to be informational and is not meant as veterinary advice. If you have a health question regarding your pet, their treatment or anything concerning their veterinary care, please call Vetco to consult with a veterinarian.