Hot Spots (Acute Moist Dermatitis)

One of the common conditions seen in veterinary practice is something known as a "hot spot" or to us in the profession "Acute Moist Dermatitis"

So what are they?

Hot spots are the result of a bacterial infection. Your dog's skin becomes irritated and the dog starts itching, licking, or both, eventually causing a red, ugly, oozing sore.

hot spot image.jpg


The sore can only be treated by focusing on the underlying infection.   Hot spots are red, moist, irritated patches of skin often caused by an initial irritation and then exacerbated by bacterial infection. The irritated patch can double in size within hours and can become very painful. Common sites of lesions are the head, neck, hips and limbs. Matting of fur, hair loss, scabbing and oozing are often seen. Hot spots seem to be common in long-haired dog breeds and are more prevalent during summer months in times of high temperature and humidity.

So what are the symptoms of hot spots?

  • Itchy, painful patch of skin
  • Continual chewing or licking at site
  • Abnormal aggression (associated with painfulness of site)
  • Possible depression (associated with painfulness of site)
  • Inflammation, redness, and swelling in a localized patch of skin
  • Crusted scabs or oozing sores
  • Dry scaly skin
  • Hair loss Moist,
  • Matted fur
  • Foul odour 

So what causes hot spots?

  • Cuts or abrasions
  • Ear infection/anal gland infection
  • Foreign objects (splinters/thorns)
  • Food allergies
  • Matted fur
  • Insect bites
  • Chewing or licking due to stress or boredom
  • Flea allergies 

So how are hot spots treated?

  • Bacterial infection must be treated via medication
  •  The matted area will need to be clipped and cleaned
  • Antihistamines may be given to reduce inflammation and pain killers given due to the intense irritation
  • Dietary supplments may be given

Hot spots are very painful and can cause distress to the dog, and it can take time for the area to heal. 

Laser therapy can be used alongside medications to encourage healing and to speed up recovery.  

The following link is a useful read regarding laser and hot spots


leg hot spot.jpg