Hot spots or Acute Moist Dermatitis, tends to be quite common this time of year. They typically present as itchy, inflamed, painful, raw areas on your dog’s skin that he or she won’t leave alone. Hot spots can spread rapidly because dogs tend to lick, chew and scratch the affected areas.
Hot spots are caused by anything that irritates the skin. The most common causes are insect bites (think fleas) and allergies, though some dogs have been known to start a hot spot out of boredom or stress-related problems.
Once the skin is raw, the moist area is a perfect “petri” dish for an infection to set-in and grow.
To prevent the spread of the affected area and treat the infection, your veterinary professionals may do the following:
- shave the hair around the wound
- thoroughly clean the affected area
- prescribe antibiotics
- prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to stop the itch
Dogs with long hair or dense undercoats are predisposed to hot spots. To try and prevent hot spots, make sure your dog’s coat is not dirty or matted, follow a strict flea control program, and make play and exercise part of your dog’s daily regime.
Years ago we had a German Shepherd come in because he wasn’t feeling well and he was running a pretty high fever. His rump area was very matted and pretty dirty, I happened to pet him and run my hand over that area, and it actually sounded like liquid sloshing around. The doctor got the clippers out and we peeled back a large matt of fur, to discover a huge hot spot infested with maggots. So, a note to the wise, hot spots can lead to pretty significant illness if undiscovered and untreated.
P.S. The German Shepherd was treated and recovered beautifully!
Robyn King is our Hopsital Manager here at Pet Street Station Animal Hospital. She enjoys the diversity of her job and being able to problem solve. Check out Robyn's full bio here!