Description: A hot spot is an inflamed infection of the skin which can spontaneously appear anywhere on the animal's body and can spread in a matter of hours. Allergens (including food, contact, or inhalant), parasites, fleas, wound, stress, or bacteria can all cause hot spots. Often times hot spots are itchy and are usually further irritated by the animal scratching or biting at the affected area.
Hot spots are common and can occur in any dog breed, but dogs with thicker coats are more susceptible to them. Cats can also develop hot spots but it is less common than it is for dogs.
Symptoms: Symptoms include scratching, biting, licking, and irritation of specific area on the body. Hot spots can be recognized by hair loss, red and irritated area (possibly bloody), and sometimes scabs will form. Hot spots are painful and can cause the pet discomfort.
Treatment: If the hot spot is noticed early enough, the infection may be treated at home. Consult with your veterinarian to determine if the animal needs to be seen for treatment. Veterinarians will often shave and clean the affected area to prevent further infection. Hot spots are usually treated with oral antibiotics or topical medications. Sometimes the veterinarian will send the pet home with a cone to prevent it from further irritating the area.
Prevention: It is important to try and solve the underlying reason for the development of the hot spot. Veterinarians can help determine the cause of the infection for specific cases. For example, long-haired dogs need to be brushed, groomed, and bathed often to keep their coats in good condition. Sometimes allergies or skin conditions are the reason for hot spot development.