Hot Spots: What are they and how did my dog get them?

By: Michelle Caldwell Dr. Caldwell

 

What are hot spots?

“Hot spots,” or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are areas of skin that are weepy, wet, red, and sometimes bloody.  They are caused by over-zealous self-licking and chewing and they can arise quickly.  These areas can be solitary or there may be multiple patches of affected skin.  These lesions hot spotalmost always look worse than they really are.

 

How did my dog get them?

The most common underlying cause for “hot spots” is an underlying allergy (food or environmental). However, contact with an irritating substance, trauma (i.e. clippers from grooming), or pain in the area from underlying tissues can cause the dog to lick and chew, resulting in a “hot spot.”

 

What should I do if I think my dog has a hot spot?

Prompt veterinary attention is recommended as these lesions can get larger and are painful if not treated. Your veterinarian will most likely clip and clean the area to allow the wound to dry or “air out.” Sometimes the wound is 101_3579small enough for topical treatment, however in many instances, systemic antibiotics and even corticosteroids are needed to clear up secondary bacterial infection and decrease inflammation. An Elizabethan collar will most likely be recommended as well to prevent further licking/chewing.