What are Hot Spots?
Acute moist dermatitis (Hot Spots) is a common skin disorder in dogs, which can appear within hours and become larger, hairless, inflamed and bleeding lesions. The area becomes moist and painful and can begin spreading.
What is the cause?
Hot Spots are most commonly the result of intense chewing and licking caused by a reaction to insect bites such as fleas, ticks, sandflies, biting flies and even mosquitoes.
A higher incidence of hot spots is seen in dogs with thick, dense coats due to the high humidity trapped at the skin surface. Other causes include:
- Atopy (generalised allergy)
- Food allergy
- Demodex (mites)
- Impacted anal glands
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal (Malassezia)
What does treatment involve?
Therapy is based on the individual patient, severity of skin changes and results of a Diff-Quick smear. Treatment involves removing the underlying cause. Flea and ticket preventives should be applied. Anti-inflammatory medications and antibiotics may be required to relieve itching and treat secondary skin infections. Injectable drugs, oral tablets and capsules or tropical preparations are available. Clipping of the affected area will enable cleaning and facilitate the application of tropical medication.
Is the condition likely to recur?
With the appropriate treatment the condition usually resolves as rapidly as it develops. Dogs that have hot spots are more likely to experience recurrences. Humidity coincides with primary conditions for flea infestations to occur. Flea control and proper bathing and grooming are the best defences against future hot spots. Identification and elimination of the factors that contribute to hot spot formation are essential for prevention.