What causes hot spots on dogs?


Quick Answer

Hot spots on dogs are commonly caused by fleas and allergies. Matted hair or any other skin irritation that causes itching, such as a bacterial or fungal infections, can also cause a hot spot to develop.

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Full Answer

Hot spots are formally known as acute moist dermatitis, which refers to a rash that appears as a moist, red and weeping area on the skin. Because the skin irritation is warm to touch, it is referred to as a hot spot. Dogs with long hair are most commonly affected by hot spots, although all breeds are susceptible. Dogs may lick the affected skin area profusely until a spot becomes raw. Bacteria can then invade and infect the damaged skin and make the skin irritation worse. Most hot spots are superficial and appear worse than they actually are. A veterinarian promotes drying and healing in the wound by clipping the surrounding hair and cleansing it with an antibacterial solution or soap. The veterinarian may prescribe topical medication, oral antibiotics or corticosteroids to treat the hot spot and make recommendations for cleaning the dog’s wound at home. The underlying cause of a hot spot must be treated to prevent it from worsening and to discourage it from reoccurring.

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