Hot spots are also known as acute moist dermatitis, and they re usually found in dogs that have longer coats or in those that have a more dense undercoat, though this isn’t always the case. This is a disease that is typically caused by an allergic reaction to something, such as insect bites, grass, or flea bites that then turn into a larger problem. Hot spots can actually be caused by a lot of different things such as allergies, mites, ear infections, poor grooming practices, burs or plant awns, hip dysplasia, or anal glad disease.
Hot spots generally occur as circular lesions and they are typically found on the head, over the hip, and along the side of the chest. Usually these lesions are very moist, red, inflamed, raw looking, hairless, and often are quite painful for the dog to deal with. What usually starts as a minor irritation will become a bigger issue because the dog will continue to lick, scratch, bite, or rub the spot until it becomes even more inflamed. Many times owners will notice just an incessant licking or scratching and that is when they will notice the hot spot. Hot spots can appear very small an unremarkable one day and large and swollen in the matter of just six or eight hours!
Breeds with long hair or dense undercoats are those that are most at risk of developing hot spots, as are those that live in hot or humid climates. To prevent hot spots owners will find that it is helpful to keep hair short during the hot months and give plenty of medicated baths. Also, getting the dog started on a flea control medication will help, as will regular grooming and cleaning. Many dogs deal with hot spots throughout their life and taking preventative steps such as these will really help the dog and the owner to enjoy one another and their life together more.
Treatment is based not only on treating the hot spot, but also treating the underlying cause for the hot spot. You need to stop the growth of the hot spot, but you also need to make sure that at the same time you are treating the problem with fleas, grooming problems, infected anal glands, or ear infections.
To get started treating the hot spot you will want to clip the hair around it so that the air can get to the tissue, helping to dry it out. You will want to cleanse the area with a cleansing solution, such as Nolvasan. Then, you will want to apply some desiccating powders to the area. If the problem in serious the dog may need to be put under sedation to have these things done. In more severe cases oral antibiotics may be needed to clear any infection and buffered aspirin may be given for pain.
If the dog will not leave the area alone, an owner will need to purchase an Elizabethan collar. If scratching is an issue, trim the nails as short as possible and place socks on the feet. These steps are not something that any owner likes to have to do, but it will give the hot spot time to heal and will reduce the occurrence of more secondary damage.