Hot spots (fancy name: acute moist dermatitis) are circular lesions varying in size that appear on various parts of a dog’s body. They tend to be most often found where a dog can reach such as the legs, paws, belly, and sanitary area. Hot spots are moist, raw, inflamed and hairless, and can be quite painful. Dogs will most often lick, bite or scratch the area, irritating the inflamed skin and growing the spot even more. Depending on how obsessive your dog is over the spots, they can change dramatically in size over a short period of time.
Hot spots are often caused by an allergic reaction such as insect bites (including fleas and mites), food allergies or inhalant allergies, but can also be caused by ear infections, burs, or mild burns that can occur from poor grooming. Hot spots tend to occur more with long haired dogs and dogs with dense undercoats.
Prevention of course is the best treatment. Many dogs that have repeated problems with hot spots can have the incidence greatly reduced by keeping their hair clipped short during summer, giving them frequent medicated baths and following a strict flea control program. Depending on the location of the hot spot, cleaning the ears regularly and expressing the anal glands as needed may also be beneficial.
The good news is this is not a long term disease and can be treated and be gone in less than a week. Another lesion may suddenly appear later the same summer, the next year or never be seen again on that dog. Treatment should be directed at stopping the growth of the hot spot as well as trying to eliminate the cause. The first step in treating hot spots is to clip the hair over and surrounding the lesion which allows air to get into the inflamed tissue and makes it easier to treat and heal. The surface of the lesion should then be cleaned with a non-irritating solution followed by a desiccating powders such as Burows solution (Domeboro powder and water). The next step is to prevent your dog from traumatizing the area even more by blocking his/her access to the spots. An elizabethan collar works very well for this. Nails should also be clipped or sanded and socks can be put on the hind feet to reduce trauma from possible scratching.
I use Eqyss MicroTek medicated shampoo and spray/gel for prevention and treatment of hot spots…the link to Eqyss can be found on the right. I have found that all three products really help cut down the dogs’ desire to itch which helps to prevent hot spots from occuring and helps in the healing process of already existing hot spots. The spray can be used in between baths or for cleaning ears by spraying a cotton pad and gently wiping the inside of the ear. The gel can be used directly on an existing hot spot as long as your dog doesn’t like the taste of the gel or can’t get to the spot!