Hot spots, otherwise known as acute moist dermatitis, or pyotraumaticdermatitis, are a common occurrence in dogs prone to skin allergies. They area localised area of skin inflammation and can become itchy. The occur morefrequently under certain conditions, and in certain breeds of dogs, and while not immediately life threating, Hot Spots are quite uncomfortable forthe dog and can develop rapidly, going from something the size of 10 centpiece to the size of a small dinner plate in a matter of hours. Earlyintervention is the best way to help your dog if they ever have a Hot Spot, solet’s investigate the facts about Hot Spots in details.

**What are Hot Spots?

**** Hot spots are a common skin condition that affects thousands of dogs inAustralia every year. A hot spot is a localised area of skin infection, calledsuperficial pyoderma or pyotraumatic dermatitis. It is a superficial skininfection that results when the normal skin bacteria overruns the skinsdefenses as a result of damage to the skin surface.

Initially, the skin will become moist and inflamed, and pus often oozes fromthe damaged skin as bacterial infection sets in. The dried pus and damagedskin will crust over and the dog will often lose hair over the infection site.

They can appear very quickly (within a couple of hours) and can cause a greatdeal of irritation. Both dogs and cats can get them, although they are morecommon in dogs.

What does a Hot Spot look like?

Hot Spots are read, moist and usually roughly circular. They will be warm tothe touch, and very itchy for a dog. Hot spots can also ooze pus and have abad odour. Hair loss from around the infected area is common but doesn’t occurin all cases.

Because dog hot spots are so irritating many dogs will bite, lick or scratchthe area which causes the infection to spread and the wound will become largerin size.

Signs of a Hot Spot

  • Wet spots of hair
  • Matted hair that looks like it is slicked down in a ‘round’ shaped area
  • Red and moist skin
  • Your pet scratching and licking at one particular area constantly.

**What causes Hot Spots?

  • Moisture – A common cause for hot spots is moisture getting caught next to the dog’s skin, making an ideal spot for an infection to start. Moisture can become trapped by matted fur, a dog collar, or simply thick fur.
  • Irritation – Anything that causes irritation to the skin! Hot Spots can start from any other issue that cause the dog to scratch including ear infections, eye problems, skin parasites such as fleas, dental disease or allergies to food or environment. Once the itching starts, it becomes a self-reinforcing cycle so that even if the initial stimulus is removed, the skin irritation remains.
  • Weather conditions – They are more common during hot, humid weather (but can occur all year around)
  • Allergies – Many times chronic dog hot spots stem from an allergic condition.
  • Pre-disposition – Some dogs are simply more prone to hot spots than others due to their coats, their breed, their love of water, or a combination of all of those things. Whilst they are not breed specific, they are more common in thick-coated breeds such as Golden Retrievers, Germain Shepherds, and Rottweilers.

**Where are Hot Spots most likely to occur?

They generally occur around the head, neck, rump and occasionally around thetrunk of the body, but they can occur anywhere. The location of the hot spotwill often help your Vet identify if there is an obvious underlying cause, forexample a hot spot near their ear could mean that they have an ear infectionand are rubbing the general area to alleviate the irritation in their ear,causing localized skin issues where the rubbing occurs.

How do you treat a Hot Spot?

See your veterinarian as soon as you notice it, because the more that your doglicks and scratches at it, the bigger and bigger it will get! The importantthing is to stop the scratching so that the spot can heal. You vet will beable to look to see if there is an underlying cause, and often they will shavearound the area to help the area stay dry and assist in treatmentapplications.

Treatment may include medications such as a topical cream to apply to the HotSpot directly, anti-inflammatory to reduce itching, and antibiotics to treatany infection. It may be a good idea to invest in an Elizabethan collar(otherwise known as the head bucket ) to prevent your dog from licking orscratching the area and allow it to heal properly.

Can the Pet Resort prevent a Hot Spot from occurring?

Unfortunately, no! As we have seen, they occur due to any number of factorsthat are outside of the control of the boarding facility. The best that a goodpet boarding facility can do is be on the lookout for the early signs of a HotSpot starting, as they can spread very rapidly from the first onset

Summary of Points:

  • Hot Spots a common skin condition that cannot be prevents
  • Hot Spots can spread in size rapidly!
  • The best thing is early detection and intervention when a Hot Spot starts to develop.

_For more information, contact the Australian Pet Care Association anytime byemailing us [email protected] _

_Further Factsheets can be found by visiting usat _

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