Hot spots


What is a hot spot?

A hot spot is an itchy, moist skin rash that can occur on any part of the body and usually pops up very quickly. Any breed of dog can develop a hotspot, but certain breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Rottweilers and Huskies are predisposed to developing hotspots.

What causes a hot spot?

A hot spot occurs when the bacteria that usually live on the skin overgrow to cause an infection. Usually this is because this area of skin has become warm and moist. This commonly occurs when your pet has been bathed or gone swimming, when moisture gets trapped in skin folds or when your pet has been chewing at its skin (perhaps because of underlying allergies). A hot spot starts as a small itchy area, and as your dog frantically chews at it to relieve the itch, the skin is damaged and starts to ooze – this makes the skin an even better environment for bacterial growth, and the cycle continues until medical treatment is started.

How is a hot spot diagnosed?

Hot spots are usually easily diagnosed by their distinctive appearance and sudden onset.

How is a hot spot treated?

Treatment will usually involve clipping the matted hair over the hotspot and cleaning the area with an antiseptic. This will remove surface discharge and bacteria, and allow the area to be kept cool and dry. If the area is very painful, this may require sedation. We will usually prescribe a topical anti-inflammatory cream to soothe irritation, as well as a course of oral antibiotics to fight the infection itself. If the itch is particularly bad, we may also use oral anti-itch medication. Your pet may need to wear an E collar at first to prevent him or her from chewing at the hot spot and stopping it from healing. It is also important that any underlying cause, such as flea allergy dermatitis, is addressed.