Maurillo: Identifying and Treating Canine “Hot Spots” | Lifestyles

Robin Maurillo special for the citizen

Occurring most often during the hot summer months, canine acute wet pyoderma is also called wet eczema, or better known as canine hot spots. It is any area or areas of skin that are red, irritated, warm to the touch, moist, matted, bloody, releasing pus or crusting. “Hot spot” is more of a general description than a diagnosis. Usually starting with a flea allergy, atopy, parasitic problem (tick, mange), anal gland problem, food allergy, burr, skin infection, or razor burn from grooming, hot spots develop quickly (within hours) into an irritating bacterial infection for the dog. skin. The animal’s response to the itch causes crushing rubbing, scratching, licking and biting, which creates an inflammatory reaction, often leading the animal to self-harm, thickening of the skin and scarring. Hot spots usually appear around the base of the tail, under the ears, between the toes of the legs, or near the rectum.

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Treatment is usually a three-part plan. Unless the wound is open, revealing muscle or fat under the skin, you should be able to treat the wound yourself.

1. Shave the hair above and around the hot spot, allowing air to circulate so the lesion scabs over and begins to heal.

2. Gently cleanse the area with peroxide and a non-irritating shampoo (Septi-Sooth, Itch Stop, Allergroom, etc.) and dry thoroughly.

3. Medicate the area with a topical antibiotic (neosporin, sulfodene, terramycin, etc.), making sure the medication is not licked off. This could mean using an Elizabethan collar to prevent licking and biting. Put socks on the animal’s feet to avoid scratching at the hot spot. Oral medications should be dispensed by a veterinarian.

It is important to find the underlying cause of the hot spot in order to prevent future damage from occurring. Many pet owners who have repeated hot spot problems can significantly reduce the number of incidences through management of the underlying issues (flea control, allergy prevention, nutritional supplements, ear cleaning, expression anal glands), keeping the hair cut short in the hot summer, and giving frequent baths and medicated baths.






Robin Maurillo


Severe cases of hot spots should be evaluated and treated by your veterinarian. Antibiotics to help heal from the inside can only be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian. Do not use over-the-counter remedies without first contacting your veterinarian. This avoids an emergency visit to the animal hospital due to adverse effects and the costs associated with that visit. Hot spots can spread quickly, so immediate attention is needed for your pet’s comfort and well-being.

Robin Maurillo, of Auburn, worked as a veterinary technician and animal cruelty investigator for several years in central New York.


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