Health - Hot Spots

Hot Spots
A “Hot Spot” is an area of bacterial skin infection that increases through self-mutilation by the dog. Irritations could be caused by:

  • Flea bites
  • Allergy
  • Other forms of irritants

The dog scratches or chews the area enlarging the opening, the area becomes infected, thus begins the cycle.


Hot spots are:

  • Warm
  • Swollen
  • Painful patches of skin

These patches often exude pus and serum, and tend to give off a foul odor. These areas can appear suddenly, they tend to enlarge rapidly (especially in hot humid weather) and can reach a size of several inches in diameter. Hair loss is rapid. Between the dog chewing or clawing the coat out and bacterial spread the progress can be significant within a matter of hours.


Hot spots most often appear on the neck, ears, chest, rump, flanks, and back (areas of access to clawing or chewing).


Treat by clipping all remaining hair away from the infected area. This will allow air to dry the area and promote healing. Gently cleanse the area with a surgical soap (pHisoHex, Oxydex, or Betadine). Apply topical antibiotic-steroid cream such as Panalog to aid in reducing irritation and promote healing.


Dependent upon the extent of the hot spot the dog may need oral antibiotics and steroids as well. The dog must be restrained from doing further damage to this area which may necessitate the use of an Elizabethan collar. To end the cycle the underlying cause must be determined. In the event of fleas – the fleas must be removed. In the event of allergies the irritant must be

determined and eliminated to prevent hot spots from occurring elsewhere.


A word of warning – do NOT treat hot spots with tea tree oil! Tea Tree oil has been known to cause neurological damage in canines and humans when applied in the undiluted form.

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