Hot spots, officially termed Acute Moist Dermatitis, can occur in any part of the body. It is a painful condition that presents in the form of a reddened patch of skin beneath the fur of a dog. It is itchy and the dog tries to soothe it by scratching, which might worsen the situation. Hot spots form as large wet patches of raised skin and if not treated accordingly, they do not usually go away on their own. Long-haired breeds are more susceptible to hot spots due to the high degree of moisture trapping in their coat, although hot spots can happen to any dog.
Causes of Hot Spots in Dogs
Hot spots tend to be more prevalent in summer, hence it’s also called summer sores. This is due to a high degree of humidity and moisture during summer. However, the classic cause of a hot spot is any act that causes the skin to get irritated in the presence of enough moisture to permit the breeding of bacteria. This sets a perfect stage for hot spots to develop, even suddenly. Allergies are a major cause of hot spots ranging from food to inhalant allergies. An insect bite can be a viable source of hot spots– examples include fleas, caterpillars, mites, bees, wasps, and, even, mosquitoes. Boredom in a dog can prompt licking and chewing which might open up an irritated portal of skin from which hot spots can emerge.
Other causes of hot spots include: ear and skin infections, grazes on surfaces, orthopedic problems, dirty or matted coat from poor grooming, anal sac infections, parasites, and excessive moisture in the skin.
Symptoms of Hot Spots in Dogs
The regions affected by hot spots are usually reddish in appearance and show raw skin and loss of hair. Such spots are swollen and often wet, even to the point of discharging pus or fluid in some cases. The fluid may crust over on wisps of fur which may peel off on abrasion to reveal more open skin. Hot spots are more frequent on the head, hip, and legs than anywhere else. These signs may seem similar to many other skin infections, so it is strongly advised that you book an appointment with the veterinarian before you take action on the inflamed area of the skin.
Treatment for Hot Spots in Dogs
Once you discover patches of inflamed skin on your dog, it is best to seek expert help as soon as possible. This is because there is a tendency to give time and watch if the spots eventually go away on their own. Such an attitude might be more threatening than the disease itself since hot spots begin to grow even further with time. The veterinarian would like to ascertain the underlying cause of the hot spots, which could involve scraping off the surface of exposed skin for lab samples. After this is determined, treatment may now take its full course. Treatment involves trimming the fur around the patch of the hot spot to preventing hair matting. A mild antiseptic is used to clean the area and oral antibiotics are administered to tackle bacterial infections arising from a hot spot. Medicated wipes can be used to clean the region, while the inflammation is taken care of using oral and topical steroids.
How to Prevent Hot Spots in Dogs
There is a wide range of factors that result in a hot spot on a dog. Hence, preventing the occurrence of hot spots should take a variety of measures. These include the prevention of parasites and timely treatment of skin infections to avoid sores on the body. You should manage your dog’s allergies properly to avoid their escalation into hot spots. Finding ways to keep your dog engaged is suggested for owners whose dogs lick themselves up due to boredom.