Hot spots

Also known as Summer Sores or Moist Eczema. It can appear spontaneously anywhere

on a dog’s body and the area involved can rapidly spread. This moist, raw skin disorder

has a variety of causes but the most consistent factor is bacteria. There are a number of

kinds of bacteria that can be cultured from a “hot spot” and fortunately most respond

to oral and topical antibiotics. Anything that irritates or breaks the skin can create the

environment for bacterial contamination if the skin surface has just a bit of moisture on

it. That moisture can be present from a recently given bath, from swimming or being

out in the rain, from rolling in wet grass or even from a slightly oozing sore that

provides nutrients for bacteria. The most common locations for hot spots are the legs

and feet, flanks, and rump – areas that can be reached by licking or biting – but these

localized infections can also appear on ears, neck, and chest if the dog is continually


Two approaches are necessary for dealing with hot spots: treat the sore and remove

the underlying cause to prevent recurrences. Treatment includes clipping the hair from

 the area to allow it to dry. Not all hot spots have to be shaved, but the larger infected

 ones heal faster if clipped. The area of dermatitis is then cleaned with an antiseptic.

The next step in the treatment plan, involves keeping the dog from continuing to

scratch or chew the hot spot and to treat the infection. Most dogs are given a short

course of corticosteroids to relieve the itchiness and decrease the inflammation of the

 area. Antibiotics are recommended also to treat the infection present in the skin.


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