What are hot spots?

Hot spots are patches of moist dermatitis on the surface of the skin. They are often very red and angry and have a purulent coating. They grow very quickly often starting about the size of a 20 c piece and spreading to the size of your palm or bigger within 24 to 48 hours. They are most common during the warmer more humid weather.

Who gets them?

Both dogs and cats can get hot spots but it is normally dogs that are affected. Some breeds, such as Golden Retrievers, Labradors and Rottweilers are more prone to getting them.

What causes them?

Allergies such as flea bite, atopy (inhaled allergies) and food allergies can be responsible and in some cases hot spots are thought to be stress related. In some animals there is no obvious cause of the condition.

How are they treated?

Usually the hair needs to be clipped from the affected area and it is cleaned with antiseptic solution. Sometimes if it is very sore we need to sedate the animal in order to clip the area. A course of antibiotics is prescribed and an antibiotic/ anti-inflammatory cream for the skin. In severe cases cortisone may be prescribed to relieve the itching that may be associated with the hot spot.

How can they be prevented?

Long haired breeds can sometimes benefit from clipping their coats during summer. Bathing in a medicated antibacterial shampoo such as Pyohex may also help. Patients who get recurring hot spots may benefit from a specially formulated diet called Skin Support by Royal Canin.

Some animals seem to get hot spots no matter what we do and in these cases early treatment is the best key to management.