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Hotspots in Bichons

I have been a Bichon owner and breeder since 1988. I often have as many as 10 adults at one time. I have raised countless litters of puppies during that time. Over the years I have seen a wide assortment of skin issues that Bichons may experience. One common problem that affects all dogs, not just Bichons, is hotspots. A hotspot usually presents as a sore anywhere on the dogs' body that seems to itch and often may become infected. The dog will constantly scratch or lick at it causing the sore to spread and get bigger, and not heal.

Hot spots can be a nightmare if not caught early and not treated properly. I try to brush every dog every day. That is not always possible, but I make sure I brush each dog at least 3 times a week.

Bichons have a dense undercoat so it is necessary to hold the coat back with your hand and brush all the way to the skin. In addition to keeping your dog's coat healthy and clean, grooming serves a second purpose. While you brush, you can examine the skin all over the body. Look for fleas, ticks, redness, sores and areas of hair loss. This constant observation gives you a chance to catch a hotspot early before the sore becomes big and worrisome.

When I find just the tiniest scab I treat it immediately. I pick off the scab, and clean the sore with a topical antibacterial solution. Most are available over the counter or in catalogues. I use Betadine Solution from the drug store. Other good choices are ChlorConazole, wipes or spray, and Vetericyn. These are available from catalogues. Your veterinarian will also offer excellent skin cleansers.

First, clean the area well with your antibacterial cleaner, then dry it, and apply Animax Ointment or Muricin ointment or any topical recommended by your Veterinarian. The most important part of the treatment is to soak the sore with antibacterial cleaner or just warm water to get the scab off before you treat the spot. If you just medicate on top of the scab the medicine won't get to the sore.

Depending on how large the sore is, your veterinarian may want you to put the dog on an oral antibiotic as well as the topical treatment. This is a good idea for a large sore or one that seems to be spreading.

Last, it is of vital importance to keep the dog from licking or scratching the spot while you are treating it. This will cause the spot to spread and not heal. An e-collar, a big plastic cone on the dog's head, works well. Also a bandage can work depending on where the sore is.

I have found that the most important part of the treatment is the daily scab removal and through cleaning of the area with antibacterial solution. Actually, in my experience, by doing only that alone, I am usually successful in getting the hot spot to heal.

Summer is coming, and all manner of pollens from plants in bloom are in the air ready to cause allergic reactions in humans and our canine companions. Watch closely for excessive scratching and hair loss. If you spot a sore or hotspot, jump on it. Clean it, medicate it and if it doesn't start to heal, take the dog to the veterinarian to make sure you are treating the problem correctly.

Myra's Puppies - Fort Lauderdale Bichon Frise Breeder
Located in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Phone: (954) 434-4116.
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