Pet of the Month: Seamus
Seamus is a ~7 year old male neutered puggle dog who presented to the Hickory Veterinary Hospital Emergency Department on 03/19/19 for evaluation of a neck wound. Seamus has a history of allergies (atopic dermatitis or “AD”) as well as ear infections and anal sac issues. Prior to presentation it was believed that Seamus had been uncontrollably scratching his neck which became so severe that it began to bleed and swell.
On presentation, Seamus had a very red, slightly eroded, swollen and painful neck with a moderate amount of subcutaneous edema (fluid beneath the skin). The history and appearance of Seamus’ neck is very classical of a “hot spot” or a pyotraumatic (acute-moist) dermatitis. Specifically, this is a trauma-induced skin infection often secondary to an underlying skin disease. There were also draining tracts suggestive of a deep skin infection.
Seamus was first given injectable medications for swelling/inflammation. The area was then clipped and cleaned with a dilute antiseptic solution and rinsed with sterile saline. A topical powdered medication with anesthetic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties was then applied. In Seamus’ case, a neck wrap was applied for protection for the first 24 hours although this is not always necessary for “hot spots”. Seamus was discharged wearing an e-collar (head cone) and sent with oral medications for inflammation and infection.
The following day Seamus returned to have the neck wrap removed. The redness and swelling had already significantly improved (not imaged here). He then had a follow up appointment a week later which showed significant improvement with some scabbing. As you can see above, the skin is not far from being completely healed.
Seamus was already being managed with a novel protein diet and Apoquel (an anti-itch medication). His owner’s are now considering starting him on cytopoint injections. (Cytopoint is an injectable medication given every 4-8 weeks at the vet office that targets an itch-inducing cytokine for treatment in dogs with allergic or atopic dermatitis. Management may vary for each case.)
- Any dog/breed can get Atopic Dermatitis (AD) and signs typically start around 1-3 years of age
- AD is a lifelong disease with no cure but the disease can be controlled with appropriate therapy and management
- Patients with AD are commonly prone to secondary problems such as pyodermas/hot spots (skin infection) and otitis (ear infections) which can exacerbate the underlying disease
- AD is also the most common cause of persistent or recurring ear infections