What are “hot spots”?
Acute moist dermatitis or “hot spots” are a common skin disorder in dogs. “Hot spots” can appear suddenly and become large red, irritated lesions in a short time.
What is the cause?
“Hot spots” are the result of intense chewing and licking. The inciting cause is usually an insect bite reaction. Fleas, ticks, biting flies and even mosquitoes have been known to cause acute moist dermatitis.
Allergic skin disease can also cause or contribute to the formation of “hot spots”. Dogs who are not groomed regularly and have matted, dirty coat can be prone to developing hot spots, as can dogs who swim or who are exposed to rain.
Additionally, dogs with hip dysplasia or anal sac disease can start licking the skin on their hind end. Thick-coated, longhaired breeds are most commonly affected.
What does a “hot spot” look like?
It is usually a large, raw, inflamed and bleeding area of skin. The area becomes moist and painful and begins spreading due to continued licking and chewing.
What does treatment involve?
The underlying cause should be identified and treated, if possible. Flea and tick preventives should be applied at the time of treatment. Anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics are often used to relieve the intense inching and to combat secondary skin infection.
These may be injectable drugs, oral tablets and capsules or topical preparations. The area is usually clipped and cleaned to facilitate applying any sprays or ointments on the affected area.
What is the prognosis?
Good with treatment. The condition usually resolves as rapidly as it developed.
Is the condition likely to recur?
Unfortunately, dogs that have “hot spots” are more likely to experience recurrences. Flea control and proper bathing and grooming are your best defenses against future “hot spots”.
How Can I Help Prevent Hot Spots?
The following tips may aid in the prevention of hot spots:
Make sure your dog is groomed on a regular basis. You may also want to keep your pet’s hair clipped short, especially during warmer months. Follow a strict flea control program as recommended by your veterinarian.
Maintain as stress-free an environment for your pet as possible. To keep boredom and stress at bay, make sure your dog gets adequate exercise and opportunities for play