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Hot spot (wet eczema) in dogs

Hot spot is a moist eczema that causes a superficial skin inflammation. Here you can read about the symptoms, cause and treatment of moisture eczema, also known as hotspot.

What is wet eczema (hot spots) in dogs?

Hot spot is a moist eczema that causes a superficial skin inflammation. It develops quickly and can lead to deeper infections if treatment is not started early. 

Hotspot is red and often painful. Fluid from the eczema can matt eh fur, making the hotspot tricky to spot. Spots are usually on the cheek, neck or head, but can develop anywhere on the dog's body.

Symptoms of hot spots in dogs

  • Matter fur in one spot
  • Sticky and/or bloody coat
  • Very red, irritated skin
  • Hot spots gradually grow in size and it can also form as small pimples around them
  • Some dogs are very sore when touched.

Moisture eczema can spread very quickly, so it is important to keep an eye on it.

Why do dogs get hot spots?

Underlying causes are usually itching caused by, for example, parasites, allergies, moisture, insect bites and ear infections. Hotspots can also be caused by allergies or pain.

Are some dog breeds more affected than others?

All dog breeds can suffer from hot spots, but some have a greater risk. Dog breeds with long and dense fur that like to bathe a lot are more often affected, for example retrievers, newfoundlands and rottweilers.

Moisture eczema is more common in summer, but the eczema can also flare up during other parts of the year.

How do you treat hot spots in dogs?

Moist eczema can spread very quickly, so prompt treatment is important. If the dog allows, and is not in too much pain, you can shave the fur around the eczema, so you have a strip of healthy skin around it. The skin is usually very red and irritated in an area at least twice the size of the wet spot when the fur is removed. It is very important to try to ventilate the area. Wash the wound carefully and  bathe with antibacterial agent daily. A mild cortisone ointment can be applied to reduce the inflammation. If you do not see a rapid improvement with the treatment, you should contact your veterinarian.

Some dogs can be in so much pain that they need treatment under anaesthesia for shaving, washing and treatment. If you see so-called satellites (look like small pimples) around the eczema, it is a sign that the eczema has led to a deeper bacterial infection and treatment must be done by a veterinarian.

The dog must not scratch or lick the wound as this prevents healing, so use a cone on the dog while the wound heals.

How to prevent hot spots

If you have a dog that loves to bathe, make sure you rinse their coat with clean water and dry them afterwards. If the dog has already has repeated hotspot problems, consider restricting the time they have in water.

If your dog has long hair, you could consider trimming it through the summer. This facilitates the their heat regulation and helps the fur dry faster after bathing.

Check your dog daily and keep an eye on skin changes.

When do I need to see a vet?

Contact a veterinarian if you don't see a rapid improvement in the inflammation, or if your dog is in a lot of pain.

If you have an Agria Pet insurance policy, you can get veterinary advice for free 24/7 through the Agria Vet Guide app.

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