A hot spot is an itchy, red, and often ulcerated skin lesion that develops very rapidly (hence the name ‘Hot Spot’) caused by a series of events that begins with very itchy skin. This itch could be due to fleas or other insect bites, allergies, or even an ear infection. In response to the itch, dogs scratch so severely that the skin becomes damaged. Bacteria living on the skin around this damaged skin then find a great environment to set up an infection. So the end-result is itch + self-trauma + bacterial infection resulting in a very inflamed and sore skin lesion.
The most helpful way to prevent hot spots is to work out what ‘triggers’ them. Your vet can help to identify the cause and provide treatment to relieve the itch. If your dog is suffering from hot spots, it is advisable to seek veterinary attention as they can worsen very quickly, and many dogs will be prone to having more develop over time.
5 Tips to help prevent hot spots
- Regularly administer a good quality flea product. Fleas are the most common trigger for hot spots. You might not see fleas on the skin, but they frequently start the itch and reaction.
- Keep your animal’s fur short during summer/humid months.
- Dry them completely after getting wet. This means all fur layers up to their skin, especially in problem areas. If using a hairdryer, keep the temperature on the cool setting.
- Use a medicated shampoo or conditioners like Mediderm, Pyohex, or Resichlor; this helps to keep the numbers of bacteria low on the skin surface
- Weekly grooming will help release loose hairs and dead skin cells.