A couple of weeks ago, I noticed Marley licking at her right thigh frequently. When I took a look, she had developed a hotspot. A hotspot is a moist bacterial infection of the skin. If a dog has long hair (Marley’s is medium length) a hotspot may be difficult for an owner to see unless they part the hair. If you notice your dog licking or scratching at one area continually, be sure to look closely at the skin.
The cause of the hotspot is generally anything that causes a dog to go after an area repeatedly. This could be allergies, an insect bite, a scrape or wound. Sometimes they seem to happen spontaneously. As the skin gets irritated the bacteria on the surface of the skin penetrate the protective barrier of the outer skin and cause the moist infection.
A hotspot will be red and rather slick in appearance. The first treatment is to clip the hair away from the area. It then needs to be cleaned thoroughly. Most dogs will receive some cortisone either by pill or injection. This relieves the inflammation and makes it more comfortable. In addition to this, a topical spray is used to treat the bacteria, inflammation and dry the area. Oral antibiotics will be prescribed for 14 days or longer if needed. Be prepared, your dog may need an Elizabethan collar to prevent further licking initially.
I did all of the above for Marley and she has healed up fine. Treatment should be started as early as possible because in a very short time they can become much larger and more uncomfortable.
Marley is happy to be back to normal health. She is lounging in my office as I write this.