Hot spot(s) occur usually in the dog, and are characterized
by red, inflamed patches of skin which can ooze a clear
or yellowish discharge.
These areas are extremely sensitive to the dog, and
actually are a result of the dog constantly licking,
biting, or scratching an area of skin until raw and
inflamed. The cause of a hot spot can be a number
of things, but usually anything which can result in
the release of histamine or other "mediators of
inflammation" as in cases of allergies,
can start the process.
Stings from insects, scratches, small scrapes or wounds,
all can be enough to cause the release of these inflammatory
mediators, which start the itch-scratch cycle.
What makes a hot spot different from another self-induced
skin lesion known as an acral
lick granuloma, is that the hot spot is usually
created within hours. The acral lick granuloma
takes days to months to form.
Also, the hot spot can occur anywhere on the body,
and is less likely to occur on the limbs, where acral
lick granuloma tends to form mainly on the limbs.
Both of these conditions however, can be started from
the release of inflammatory mediators in the area on
the skin affected.
Treatment of the hot spot usually involves clipping
the hair around the area of skin affected. This
region is then cleansed with mild soap and water, and
topical cortisone products, or anti-histamine products
are applied. The main emphasis of treatment is
geared towards keeping the dog from scratching at the
area, as this is what started the hot spot in the first
Sometimes covering the area if possible, or putting
a sock over the dog's foot to prevent scratching is
advised. Clipping the nails helps as well.
If an underlying cause is found such as an allergic
condition, treatment with oral medication is then advised.
Usually this is associated with multiple hot spot lesions.
Single small lesions tend to respond well to topical