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Hot Spots In Dogs 

February 15, 2023

Does your furry buddy seem itchy lately? Is Fido constantly scratching or biting himself, perhaps to the point that he’s getting sores? These are called hot spots, and are not uncommon in our canine pals. A Louisville, KY veterinarian offers some information on hot spots in this article.

What Is A Hot Spot?

Hot spots are technically called pyotraumatic dermatitis or acute moist dermatitis. They usually look like red sores or lesions, and are inflamed, sore, and itchy. Occasionally, they will ooze pus. Hot spots can develop anywhere on Fido’s body, but are usually found on the  head, legs, and hips.


Hot spots can be caused by many different things. Allergies are a common culprit. Your canine companion can have reactions to a wide variety of irritants, from bug bites to food. Poor grooming can also play a role. If Fido’s coat is dirty, greasy, and/or full of dead hair, his skin will begin to get moist, creating an environment that bacteria will thrive in. In some cases, boredom is the culprit: Fido may take to licking or biting himself obsessively if he has nothing to do. Another possibility is anal gland inflammation: afflicted pups may lick themselves to soothe the pain and irritation, causing hot spots. Orthopedic issues can also contribute, especially in pooches that always sleep in the same position.

Risk Factors

While any dog can get hot spots, some are more susceptible than others. Pups with thick fur, such as Golden Retrievers, Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers are often afflicted. Pooches that like swimming are also at higher risk. Also worth noting? Hot spots are more common in hot/humid weather. 


Fortunately, there are treatment options available that will make your canine friend more comfortable. Some options include clipping the area around the hot spot, cleaning it with an antiseptic shampoo, and/or giving Fido a medicated bath. Your vet may prescribe a topical cream or ointment, or oral medications, such as steroids or antibiotics. If allergies are to blame, allergy medications should help. Medicated wipes and Elizabethan collars may also be useful. The good news is that in many cases, hot spots resolve quickly—often within a week—with proper treatment. Your vet can offer specific options after your furry buddy has been diagnosed. 

Do you have questions about hot spots? Contact us, your Louisville, KY animal clinic, today!