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Hot Spots in Dogs

Reviewed by Peter Kintzer DVM, DACVIM on Monday, April 7, 2014
Posted October 21, 2011 in Dog Diseases & Conditions A-Z

Overview of hot spots
Hot spots, technically called acute moist dermatitis or superficial canine pyoderma, usually appear as localized, moist, reddish sores. Hot spots are the result of a bacterial infection: something irritates your dog’s skin and the irritation becomes itchy, so your dog does the logical thing—scratch, lick, or both—eventually causing a red, ugly oozing sore.

Risk of hot spots
So what causes your dog to be itchy in the first place? Itchy skin can be caused by a variety of things, such as allergies to food or the surrounding environment and fleas. Factors such as mange, anal gland disease, poor grooming, tick or mosquito bites, and even warm weather can cause your best friend to start the dangerous cycle of repeatedly scratching and licking an itch. Dogs with long, dense coats tend to be more susceptible to this condition.

In some situations, licking can be a behavior issue, so make sure you discuss your dog’s behavior when you visit your veterinarian.

Symptoms of hot spots
If your dog is passionate about licking and/or scratching, or if you notice hair loss and irritated skin that is oozing, crusty or scabby on him, you should call your veterinarian immediately. Your pet needs some relief from the itching and most likely some medication to treat his irritated skin.

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