Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis)

Hot spots, also known as summer sores, acute moist pyoderma and moist eczema, are extremely common in dogs and uncommon in cats. A hot spot occurs when a pet licks, bites or scratches at an area until a wet sore is formed and becomes infected. These sores are most common during shedding season when dead hair and moisture become trapped against the skin. They often seem to appear suddenly and worsen rapidly. 

Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis)

How it Affects your pet

Pets begin to lick, bite or scratch certain areas due to fleas, skin allergies, parasites or other sources of skin irritation. This causes sores to form. The most common sites for these sores are the front legs and feet of your pet, but they can occur anywhere on the body. Since moist damaged skin attracts bacteria, these sores quickly become infected. Because bacterial infection is very itchy and painful, affected animals spend increasing amounts of time licking and scratching hot spots. This causes the sores to worsen. Hot spots enlarge rapidly, sometimes over a period of hours, and they may smell foul and ooze pus. 

Common symptoms

Symptoms of hot spots in dogs and cats include the following: Red moist sores, Swelling, a foul smell, Excessive scratching, biting or licking at the skin and Hair loss.

Treatments

The first step in treating a hot spot is to clip or shave the area around the sore. This allows the sore to dry and aids in keeping the infected area clean and free of irritating hair. The area is then cleaned with an antiseptic and allowed to dry. Because these sores are very painful, the attending veterinarian may have to sedate the animal before he or she can clip and clean the area. Topical medications, including steroids and antibiotics, are usually prescribed to treat the infection and control itching. In many cases, pet animals are also given oral antibiotics for 10 to 14 days to treat the infection. In cases of severe itching, veterinarians may also use steroid injections or oral steroids. While they are healing, hot spots must be kept clean, dry and undisturbed. For treatment to be effective, pet owners must prevent their pets from licking, scratching or biting the hot spots. Affected dogs and cats may need to be fitted with Elizabethan collars to prevent them from further damaging the sores. 

Breeds Affected

Members of all canine and feline breeds can develop hot spots, but large dogs tend to develop the condition more often than other pets. Some dog at-risk breeds in which this pet health condition is particularly common include the following: Golden retriever, Newfoundland, Great Dane, Labrador retriever, Irish setter, Doberman pinscher and German shepherd.

Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis) Affects

  • Pets begin to lick, bite or scratch certain areas due to fleas, skin allergies, parasites or other sources of skin irritation. This causes sores to form. The most common sites for these sores are the front legs and feet of your pet, but they can occur anywhere on the body. Since moist damaged skin attracts bacteria, these sores quickly become infected. Because bacterial infection is very itchy and painful, affected animals spend increasing amounts of time licking and scratching hot spots. This causes the sores to worsen. Hot spots enlarge rapidly, sometimes over a period of hours, and they may smell foul and ooze pus. 

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