My dog has a large, bright red, itchy, and painful area on her head. What is it?

Question: 

My dog had two small, bright red skin rash patches on her body; one by her right ear, and the other on her tail. I used an over-the-counter steroid cream on both of them and they seemed to get better today. However, tonight I noticed my dog scratching nonstop on the left side of her head and every time I tried touching her there, it made her flinch and her ear move. I cut her hair down around her head and saw nothing but a bright red rash and inflammation over a huge part of her head and down the left ear. I'm so worried about it that I am planning on taking her to the vet tomorrow, but I'm concerned shes in agony now. Any ideas on what it is or what I can do in the meantime to help ease her pain?

 

Answer: 

It sounds like your dog has acute moist dermatitis, otherwise known as a hot spot. This condition spreads rapidly and is intensely painful and itchy. Fortunately, it is easily treatable and your veterinarian should be able to give your dog immediate relief tomorrowAlthough they are not life threatening, hot spots are very painful, and a visit to the emergency practice near you will bring relief sooner. After treatment, there will be a number of days of home care needed. It is so hard to see our pets in such discomfort. Good luck to you both.