What are "hot spots" in dogs?

Hot spots in dogs are very common here in Orange County. Part of the reason for this is our wonderful climate. This leads to frequent allergies and flea problems that can contribute to these moist infections.

The following information will help you to understand what hot spots are.

What are "hot spots"?

Acute moist dermatitis or "hot spots" are a common skin disorder in dogs. "Hot spots" can appear suddenly and become large red, irritated lesions in a short time.

What is the cause?

"Hot spots" are the result of intense chewing and licking. The inciting cause is often an insect bite. Fleas, ticks, biting flies and even mosquitoes have been known to cause acute moist dermatitis. Allergic skin disease can also cause or contribute to the formation of "hot spots", and is often an underlying cause if a pet develops recurrent hot spots.

What does a "hot spot" look like?

It is usually a large, raw, inflamed and bleeding area of skin. The area becomes moist and painful and begins spreading due to continued licking and chewing.

What does treatment involve?

The underlying cause should be identified and treated, if possible. Flea and tick preventives should be applied at the time of treatment. Anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics, as injectable, oral, or topical preparations, are often used to relieve the intense itching and to combat secondary skin infection. The area is usually clipped and cleaned to facilitate applying any sprays or ointments on the affected area. Protective collars (Elizabethan- or E-collars) are often used to prevent the dog from further licking and injuring the site while healing occurs.

What is the prognosis?

Good with treatment. The condition usually resolves as rapidly as it developed.

Is the condition likely to recur?

Unfortunately, dogs that have "hot spots" are likely to experience recurrences. Flea control and proper bathing and grooming are your best defenses against future "hot spots". Dogs that experience chronic "hot spots" should be tested for hypothyroidism and skin and food allergies.

Our veterinary doctors here at Newport Harbor Animal Hospital have dealt with hot spots since 1947. Needless to say, hot spot treatment for your dog or puppy relies on the continued care you provide from home. We are in close contact and always available to help. Be sure to give us a call with all your pet hot spot concerns as we would be happy to assist with designing a treatment program specific to you and your pet family.

Our Pet Health Mission

Our mission at Newport Harbor Animal Hospital is: "To provide the highest quality veterinary care for our patients and the best service for our clients. Our goal in every case is a healthy pet and a happy client."

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