November 2009 Archives

Hot Spot Remedy: DIY Pet Apothecary

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hot spot remedy 2

My dog got her first hot spot recently and I couldn't afford to take her to the vet.  She was licking the base of her tail obsessively and after a couple of days of this a completely bald round spot developed on her tail.  I noticed that it started getting slightly infected looking and so I looked up what the cause might be.  It became clear very quickly that she had a "hot spot" which is a section of skin on a dog that becomes infected with bacteria (known to vets as pyotraumatic dermatitis) and itches, so the dog licks it until it becomes worse and eventually the most infected spot loses its fur and the sore may even ooze with pus.

In my dog's case I am almost certain the cause was fleas because we had neglected to give her flea medication for several months.  Other causes of hot spots may be irritated anal sacs, allergies, thick coats, or grooming issues such as tangles and mats.

A friend of mine who works in a feed store looked up the ingredients in their most highly recommended hot spot treatment and suggested I might be able to make one of my own.  (Thank you Blaize!!)  The three ingredients she mentioned were the chamomile, aloe vera, and the tea tree oil.  It seemed that my dog's hot spot was very itchy and I had harvested some plantain from my yard because I'd read about its anti-itch properties and I decided that this would make a good addition to the hot spot treatment.

Once I made up the remedy I sprayed my dog liberally with it directly on her hot spot and then I did my best to lift the fur of her heavy coat to spray the skin surrounding the hot spot.  Before this she had been very agitated about her sore area and when I tried to examine the area she growled and warned me to keep my hands off.  She had been chewing and licking the area obsessively so it was easy to notice that after the first spray application she must have felt some immediate relief.  She stopped bugging the spot almost immediately and only tried licking it again after an hour or two at which point I applied another round of spritzing her hot spot.

Within 24 hours she stopped touching her hot spot entirely and it was able to scab up and heal.  She still has a little bald spot on her tail but there's no sore left at all.

What You'll Need:

Non reactive sauce pan (either stainless steel or enamel coated)
Wooden spoon
Strainer
3/4 cups dried chamomile
3/4 cups dried plantain
1 Tbsp aloe vera juice
6 drops tea tree oil
2 cups water
8 ounce spray bottle

Method:

In a nonreactive small saucepan add the chamomile, plantain, and water and bring to a boil.  Turn down the heat and simmer herbs for a half an hour or until the water has reduced by about half.

Strain out the herbs and then pour the liquid into the spray bottle.  Add the aloe vera juice and the tea tree oil drops.  Shake well every time before use.

Store in the refrigerator.

To use:

Shake up the remedy and then spray it on the affected area liberally.  Rough the fur up around the hot spot to expose the skin and spray as you do it.

You should notice an improvement within the first few hours.  Be very careful to notice if the exposed skin of the hot spot reacts to the spray.  If it shows any signs of getting worse stop using the spray immediately.  Though all the ingredients in this remedy are mild and in normal circumstances shouldn't cause your dog's skin to react, there is always the possibility that your dog may be allergic to one of the ingredients so use common sense.

Apply the spray to the hot spot every couple of hours until your dog stops worrying the sore and lets it begin to dry out.  Stop using the spray when the hot spot scabs up and your dog is no longer paying any attention to it.


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