Thursday, November 20, 2014

Acute Moist Dermatitis/Hot spots

“Hot spots,” also called acute pyoderma, acute moist pyotraumatic dermatitis (AMPD) and acute moist dermatitis, are rapidly developing sores under the hair coat. They are common in thick-coated or long-haired dogs, less so in cats. They most often develop in areas where the hair coat is heavy, such as the back, tail base, and side of the thigh, neck, or face. Hot spots tend to occur more frequently in hot, humid weather. The dog often will scratch or chew at the area, although it can be quite painful (the condition is also called pyotraumatic dermatitis for this reason). When the hair is parted, the skin is seen to be moist and reddened. A pus-like discharge coats the skin and the base of the hairs.
Hot spots begin with a superficial skin injury that causes some moisture to be caught under the hair coat. Bacteria grow in the fluid, causing more skin inflammation, and the affected area rapidly expands as more fluid oozes from the skin, promoting more bacterial growth.

The speed of onset of hot spots is often striking, and a large and painful lesion can develop from previously normal skin in a few hours. Fortunately, other than being uncomfortable, hot spots are not life-threatening and they tend to heal very well.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Acral Lick Dermatitis

Acral lick dermatitis, also known as lick granuloma, is a self-induced skin lesion. The term acral refers to the legs and feet. Acral lick dermatitis mainly is a problem of dogs, rarely cats. The dog continually licks at one area of the leg, producing hair loss, sores, and thickening of the skin. Typical appearance is a raised, red, hairless, oval patch of skin or skin lump found over the front surface of one leg. Occasionally, more than one leg may be affected. The most common locations are over or near the carpus (“wrist”) of the front foot or just below or above the hock on the rear leg. Breeds most likely to develop acral lick dermatitis include the Doberman pinscher, Great Dane, Labrador retriever, Irish setter, golden retriever, and German shepherd, but any breed of dog can be affected.

Males are affected twice as often as females. The condition may appear at any age however most dogs are over 5 years of age when presented for treatment. Although several conditions that cause discomfort of the skin can cause persistent licking, in many dogs with acral lick dermatitis no underlying problem can be found. In these cases, acral lick dermatitis is considered a psychogenic disease; that is, it is caused by a behavioral disorder. For example, sometimes excessive licking or chewing can result from boredom or can be used as attention-seeking behavior; sometimes anxiety is the stimulus for stereotypic behaviors like repetitive licking. Stereotypic behaviors are excessive, repetitive behaviors engaged in to relieve psychological distress such as boredom or anxiety.

Dogs with Different Needs

A dog between the ages of 1 and 6 years of age is considered an adult dog. In general, these dogs need nutrition with controlled levels of phosphorus, sodium, protein and energy.
But different dogs have different needs. In order to determine the unique nutritional needs for your adult dog, assess his activity level. Some questions to consider:
  • Is your dog a hunting, sport or working dog?
  • Does your dog get an average amount of exercise through daily playing and walks?
  • Does your dog have a low activity level and tend to gain weight easily? 

Proper nutrition can also help with problems such as bad breath, sensitive skin or sensitive stomach issues. Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, Cairn terriers, cocker spaniels, dachshunds, pugs, Shetland sheepdogs, basset hounds and beagles are prone to obesity, so keep breed tendencies in mind when choosing your dog's food.

A common concern for adult dogs is kidney health. Dietary phosphorus, protein and salt excesses may exacerbate the progression of kidney damage that leads to kidney failure and death. Therefore, unbalanced high amounts of phosphorus, protein and salt are all nutritional risk factors. Some commercial pet foods contain excess protein, phosphorus, calcium and salt. These excess nutrients must be excreted through the kidneys and become nutritional risk factors.