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Monthly Archives: July 2021

Acute Moist Dermatitis AKA Hot Spots: What to Know

acute moist dermatitis

What is Acute Moist Dermatitis AKA Hot Spots?

Acute moist dermatitis, best known as hot spots, is one of the most common skin conditions among dogs. Hot spots are localized areas of skin inflammation and infection. These often appear as moist, red, hot lesions on the dog’s legs, paws, chest, head, or hip area. 

Many hot spots will begin small enough that owners may mistake them for a bug bite. These lesions are incredibly itchy and painful. As the dog licks, scratches, and bites at the area, the infection can spread and continue to worsen.

Causes of Hot Spots

Several things can cause irritation and lead a dog to lick, scratch, or chew at that irritation excessively. The most common contributing factor for hot spots is bacteria — moisture and irritated skin create the ideal environment for bacteria to grow. 

Some common triggers identified by AKC include:

  • Allergies: Food and environmental allergies can both cause excessive itching in dogs.
  • Pyoderma: This means “pus in the skin” or bacterial infections of the skin. Primary skin infections caused by yeast or bacteria can cause severe itching, which often leads to secondary hot spots.
  • Pests: Insect bites can be so annoying for both people and dogs alike. Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other small insect bites can cause skin irritation and itching.
  • Ear Infections: Yeast or bacteria within the ear canal can cause dogs to scratch at the area surrounding the ears.
  • Poor Grooming: Dogs that are not groomed regularly can develop tangled or matted hair, which can lead to moisture retention and ultimately, bacterial infections.
  • Anal Gland Issue: A dog’s anal glands can become impacted or infected, causing the area to become painful and uncomfortable, resulting in excessive licking.
  • Moisture & Humidity: Hot spots are much more likely to occur during warm and humid weather. Excess moisture within the dog’s coat caused by bathing or swimming can also lead to hot spots. 
  • Behavioral Problems: Sometimes dogs lick themselves due to stress, boredom, or other behavioral or attention-seeking issues.

Signs of Hot Spots in Dogs

Because excessive itching tends to contribute to the rapid spread of infection, hot spots often grow at a fast rate over a short timeframe. Fortunately, there are many symptoms and signs of acute moist dermatitis you can look out for, including:

  • Inflammation
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Oozing
  • Warm to touch
  • Bad odor
  • Excessive scratching
  • Hair loss

Healing Hot Spots in Dogs

Because these inflamed spots can worsen so quickly, healing hot spots in dogs ASAP is essential. While some hot spots can be treated at home, the underlying cause should always be identified by a licensed veterinarian to prevent further infection. 

It’s especially critical to seek medical assistance if you’re unable to keep your pet from licking/scratching or if the affected area is:

  1. Increasing in size
  2. Constantly bleeding
  3. Displaying any colored discharge

Depending on the severity, your veterinarian may treat the area with a combination of things such as antibiotics or anti-itch medication. Depending on the cause, additional treatment may be necessary, such as flea/tick prevention, long-term allergy medication, ear medication, and more. 

If you’re unable to get to the vet right away, PetMD shared some steps you can try at home to help heal your pet’s hot spots in the meantime. 

  1. Trim the area around the hot spot with dog hair clippers (not scissors). This will allow the affected area to get some air, and prevent excess moisture from slowing the healing process.
  2. Clean the skin with a mild, dog-safe, water-based antiseptic spray or wipe, or an antibacterial shampoo.
  3. Apply a veterinary-recommended hot spot treatment spray that is safe if ingested. 
  4. Place an e-collar, or “the cone of shame,” on your dog to help prevent them from biting, licking, or scratching the hot spot.
  5. Monitor the area for improvement and signs of healing (decreased redness, less moisture, smaller lesion size).

Note: Human medications such as Neosporin, hydrocortisone, and Vaseline should NOT be used. Topical creams and ointments tend to cause dogs to lick the area even more, so they should be avoided if possible.

In some cases, you can help at home by treating your dog to regular flea prevention, regular grooming (especially after swimming), preventing ear infections by administering maintenance ear cleansers, and treating allergies if need be. Additionally, try to avoid boredom. Decrease excess licking behaviors by providing your pet with interactive toys. Finally, the key to healing hot spots in dogs or preventing further acute moist dermatitis is determining the underlying cause. Consult with your veterinarian or visit one of our 21 Arizona PetVet locations closest to you.

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately. 

Traveling With Your Dog: Packing Tips & Road Trip Essentials

Tips for Traveling With a Dog
Bringing your dog along on your road trip will undoubtedly always make any vacation more enjoyable — as long as you do it right! Nobody wants to be unprepared in times of emergency or get halfway to the destination just to realize you left some crucial items on your kitchen counter. Whether you’re traveling with a big dog or a small one, we’ve got the tips and tricks you need to make this road trip with your pup one to remember!

Traveling With Your Dog: A Car Ride Rookie
Our four-legged passengers often have varying feelings about car rides in addition to varying experience levels. Some are ecstatic, bolt out the door and hop in the car as you’re packing it up, then usually refuse to get back out until it’s time to go. Others require some convincing; maybe they’ve had iffy past experiences with vehicles, or perhaps the sound or concept of movement frightens them. Whatever the case, here are some excellent tips for traveling with a dog from our experts at AZPetVet and American Kennel Club that are sure to help make this trip as comfortable (or tolerable) and exciting as possible for everyone in the car.

  • Get your pup used to the car by allowing him to sit in it with you without actually going anywhere, and then follow this up by going for short rides around the block.
  • Avoid car sickness by skipping the meal prior to departure and letting your dog travel on an empty stomach. However, make sure they have access to plenty of water.
  • Be sure to keep the car well ventilated: check that the rear vents are flowing smoothly. If the dog is in a crate, make sure that fresh air is flowing right into it.
  • While your pet may enjoy the wind in their jowls, if you’re going any further than a ride around the block, roll the windows up. Don’t let your pup ride with his head sticking out of an open window, as these high winds can lead to eye injuries, plus you risk your pet jumping out.
  • Never let your dog ride in the bed of an open truck. This is extremely dangerous. If an accident occurs, it could lead to severe injuries.
  • Stop frequently for a good stretch, some much-needed exercise, and potty breaks. Be sure to clean up after your dog!
  • Car rides can be boring for everyone, so instruct your children not to tease or taunt the dog in the car, especially if your pet is already an anxious rider.

Never, ever leave your dog unattended in a closed vehicle, especially during the summer months. If you must leave the car, designate another passenger to stay with the dog. See our Summer Safety Blog for more information.

What Do I Need to Travel With My Dog?
As far as necessities you might want to keep in your car; there are a few that you can pick and choose from depending on your dog’s specific needs. Plus, any of these supplies are great whether you’re taking a day trip, long trip, or just packing up for a picnic. Consider throwing these in your car:

1. Camera (capture those moments!)
2. Dog Car Harness
3. Food/Water
4. Adjustable Dog Seat Belt
5. Waterproof Car Seat Covers
6. Dog Bed for Back Seat
7. Spill-Proof/Collapsible Dog Bowl
8. Portable Dog Water Bottle
9. Portable Air Conditioner
10. Cooling Pad
11. Dog Calming Treats
12. Chew Toys
13. Comfy Blankets for Sleep and Warmth
14. Towels
15. Poop Bags /Trash Bag
16. Car Odor Eliminator
17. Paper Towels
18. Dog First Aid Kit
19. Pet ID Info/Medical Records
20. Flea/Tick Medicine

Above all, just remember: You’re on vacation! The process of getting to your destination can be stressful, but pets can pick up on that, so it’s important to remain calm. Your pet will sense that peace and settle easily and be well on the road to becoming a seasoned traveler. Safe travels!

Mask Policy Update – June 2021


To Our Amazing AZPetVet Family:
We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult to navigate, and we are excited to see movement towards a return to a sense of normalcy. As always, the health and safety of your family and pets as well as our team members is our highest priority, and we remain dedicated to providing your with WOW service.

Our Mask Policy Update – June 2021:
– If you are fully vaccinated, masks are recommended but optional.
– If you are not vaccinated, masks are required.

At this time our staff will continue to wear masks for the comfort and support of unvaccinated individuals. Thank you!

Dehydration Prevention for Pets

Dehydration Prevention for Pets

Pet Dehydration Symptoms & Prevention

There are a number of preventatives available for different needs, from chewables to topical treatments to wearable collars. Some cover just fleas, some cover only ticks, and others are multi-purpose, so it’s essential to thoroughly review the product to ensure it’s the right option for tick and flea prevention for dogs and cats.

Dehydration prevention during Arizona summers is a must. Our summers are notoriously hot and dry, so staying hydrated is essential for pets and people, too. All living things need water to remain healthy, and there are days when water intake should be increased. Pet dehydration occurs when water intake falls below recommended daily levels. Additionally, heat can cause pets to experience fluid loss from excessive panting, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever, which can be dangerously dehydrating. Dehydration may also present as a symptom of an underlying health condition or disease.

When a pet becomes dehydrated, it’s not just water that is lost from the body but essential electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride that help regulate important body functions. Blood flow and fluid volume are reduced, which in turn reduces the flow of oxygen to organs and tissue. If left untreated, dehydration can become life-threatening as organs begin to shut down. If you suspect your pet is dehydrated or suffering from heatstroke, see your veterinarian immediately.

How Much Water Do Pets Need? As a general rule, dogs require at least one ounce of water per day for each pound of body weight. In contrast, a 10-pound cat needs around 1 cup per day of water. Cats and dogs both need different amounts of water depending on their age, size, overall health, and type of diet and therefore should always have access to fresh, clean water day and night. Cats eating a primarily dry food diet need more water than cats eating a wet/canned food diet, and dogs will too.

General Pet Dehydration Symptoms The most common sign of dehydration in cats and dogs is skin tenting – gently pinch the skin over your pet’s shoulders and gently pull it upwards. The skin of well-hydrated pets will quickly snap back into place when you release it. In dehydrated pets, the skin will settle back into place more slowly. In cases of severe dehydration, the pinch of skin will stay up, forming a ‘tent.’ If this occurs, your pet needs immediate veterinary attention.

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

  • Loss of skin elasticity/skin tenting
  • Reduced energy levels and lethargy
  • Excessive panting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Thick saliva
  • Loss of appetite/refusing to eat
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea

Signs of Dehydration in Cats Dehydration in cats is dangerous and requires treatment as it can be a symptom of underlying health problems. Here are the signs you need to watch for that can indicate your cat is dehydrated:

  • Listlessness/lethargy
  • Dry, sticky gums
  • Refusing to eat
  • Loss of skin elasticity/skin tenting
  • Sunken, dry-looking eyes
  • Thick saliva

Dehydration Prevention Measures Dehydration prevention for pets begins with making sure they have a steady source of clean, fresh drinking water indoors and outside, as well as well-shaded areas to retreat from the sun. If your pet begins to show signs of dehydration, give them a fresh bowl of cool water. You can add a bit of low sodium broth for flavor to help encourage drinking. For more serious cases of dehydration, electrolyte replacement formulations, subcutaneous or intravenous fluids may be required, so a visit to the veterinarian is recommended. Early treatment can get your pet back on track and feeling better and help prevent more serious problems. If you need assistance with possible dehydration or other health problems, don’t hesitate to contact your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.