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Doggie Hot Spots

What is a “hot spot”?

A hot spot is a localized area of skin inflammation and infection. The infection can be superficial or deep. Other common names for this condition include: moist dermatitis, and acute moist dermatitis.

What is the medical name for this condition?
Also known as “pyotraumatic dermatitis“, these common skin lesions are usually caused (and made worse) by biting, licking, or scratching. Broken down, “pyo-” refers to “pus”, “-traumatic” refers to self-inflicted trauma of biting, licking, scratching, and so on, and “dermatitis” means inflammation of the skin.

What are the signs of a hot spot?
Redness, oozing, pain, and itchiness are hallmark signs. Hair loss is commonly present. Sometimes hair can mat over the lesion, obscuring the size and degree of the problem. These lesions can appear suddenly, and grow rapidly. It is common for an owner to notice a small area of inflamed skin in the morning (perhaps an inch or couple centimeters in diameter) and come home from work to be met with a large area the size of the palm of a hand. The dog is usually highly agitated, and will not leave the area alone. Some dogs will even growl or snap if the area is touched.

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