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Hot spots in Dogs


A hot spot is a warm, painful, swollen patch of skin 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10 cm) across that exudes pus and gives off a foul odour. Hair in the area is lost rapidly. The infection progresses when the dog licks and chews the site. These circular patches appear suddenly and enlarge quickly, often within a matter of hours.


Hot spots can occur anywhere on the body, often in more than one spot. One very typical location is under the ear flaps in large breeds with heavy, hairy ears, such as Newfoundland's. Hot spots occur most often in breeds with heavy coats, and tend to appear just before shedding, when moist, dead hair is trapped next to the skin. Fleas, mites, and other skin parasites, skin allergies, irritant skin diseases, ear and anal gland infections, and neglected grooming are other factors that can initiate the itch-scratch-itch cycle.


Treatment: Hot spots are extremely painful. The dog usually will need to be sedated or anesthetized for the initial treatment. Your veterinarian will clip away hair to expose the hot spot, then gently cleanse the skin with a dilute povidone-iodine shampoo or a chlorhexidine shampoo and allow the skin to dry. An antibiotic steroid cream or powder is then applied twice a day for 10 to 14 days. Oral antibiotics are usually prescribed. Predisposing skin problems must be treated as well.


Your veterinarian may also prescribe a short course of oral corticosteroids to control severe itching. Prevent the dog from traumatizing the area by using an Elizabethan collar or a BiteNot collar.


In hot, humid weather, always be sure to dry your heavy-coated dog thoroughly after bathing and after swims. Otherwise, the conditions are perfect for a hot spot to develop.


Some helpful remedies people have suggested:-


First of all you need to clear away some of  the fur in the infected area.

  • Use a water based cleanser or or antiseptic cream if you have it.

          Be sure that all the cleanser is rinsed away as it could cause further

          irritation if any were to remain.


  • Treat the hot spots by using Black Tea Bags, (but don't use herbal ones).  Black tea contains tannic acids, which will help to dry out and heal the sores quickly.  Soak the tea bag in hot water and once removed let it cool.  Apply the tea bag directly onto the hotspots for about five minutes.  Repeat this treatment three to six times every day until the spot is dry and healed.


  • You can also use some Witch Hazel, Tea tree or Hibiscrub on the spots, as it will provide a cooling and soothing sensation.


  • These are some suggestions to help minor hot spots for major sores you will need to ask for advice from your local Veterinarian Surgery.

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