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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

"Hot spots" - what are they ????

The term "hot spots" is used to describe a wide number of skin problems by different authors - and therein lies a problem, because one persons "hot spot" might be another persons "pyotraumatic dermatitis" or "moist dermatitis" .Really the term refers to an area of red raw skin , with hair loss - usually associated with self-trauma. The skin is often moist appearance due to seepage of fluid from the skin surface. 

There is no single cause, and the problem can be associated with any of the following :

  • Allergies - flea hypersensitivity, contact allergies, atopy
  • Trauma
  • Foreign objects in the coat
  • Irritants coming into contact with the skin
  • "Clipper rash"
  • Surface skin infection
  • Self-trauma due to "internal irritation " such as that caused by impacted scent glands.

The most common sites affected are :

  • Near the tail base
  • Lumbosacral region (around the hind quarters and back)
  • Around the base of the ear

The lesions are itchy and signs include scratching, licking and rubbing

Treatment usually requires :

  1. Treating the underlying cause eg fleas, impacted scent glands
  2. Clipping away hair around the sore. 
  3. Bathing and washing with antiseptic solutions (eg chlorhexidine), and 
  4. The use of a variety of medications including : antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory drugs eg steroids

Some breeds of dog are predisposed to develop "hot spots" including :

  • Labrador Retrievers
  • St Bernards


Updated October 2013