Every summer, without fail, my basset Hound develops "hot spots" ( itchy, raw, escoriated plaques ) that he scratches to the point of exhaustion! He keeps me up at night with the incessant scratching of these lesions he develops. I know he's uncomfortable and I feel badly for him. It always requires a trip to the vet and a steroid taper. ( 200 bucks or more ) It is either the heat or some summer allergen I have yet to identify. It does't happen any other time of year. Is it harmful for him to be on a steroid taper every summer? Is there something I could be doing when i first see the lesions developing? Probably not... Do I just need to resign myself that every summer he will need a steroid taper for his hot spots? I can't handle seeing him scratch his skin right off his body. Is this a common problem? My vet hasn't been too helpful... other than to seem hesitant to put him on steroids once agin....I have no reason to believe this summer willbe any different. Any input would be helpful
Hi chrissy 2m,
Thanks for using JustAnswer.com, I'm Dr. Dan and I'll try to help.
Allergies are one of the most frustrating diseases to deal with for vet, owner, and patient. You are correct that it is likely this summer will be no different. An important thing is that you've noticed the seasonal pattern, that can help the diagnosis. There are a couple of options for you:
1. Resign yourself to treat the hot spots every summer
2. Talk to your vet about starting antihistamines (Claritin®, Benedryl®, Tavist® etc.) prior to the hot spot season and see if that prevents the hot spots or decreases the severity. (Doesn't always work)
3. Talk to your vet about topical steroids to try rather than the oral steroids (also may not be enough to work)
4. See a board certified dermatologist and talk to them about allergy testing. Allergy testing can sometimes find the specific allergy. If the test is successful (unfortunately no promises in medicine) and an allergy is pinpointed then proper treatment can be directed at the specific allergy (allergy injections, avoiding the allergen, etc.) If the specific allergy can be controlled then the ideal goal will be achieved and the hot spots will hopefully not return. No test or treatment is perfect but this may give you better results. I hope this helps, best wishes.