In simple terms hot spots are often started when the dog chews or scratches at a site repeatedly. The skin becomes moist, inflamed (red), pruritic (itchy), and infected.
Hot spots can enlarge rapidly, so early detection and diagnosis is key here.
Both dogs and cats can get hot spots, although dogs with dense undercoats are more likely to develop the problem than smooth-coated dogs or cats are.
This is more likely to happen during hot and humid weather though, it may occur at any other times as well depending on the cause so it is key as a pet parent you know how to identify an early onset and possible issues that may arise if it goes untreated to ensure pet’s suffering is the least, and vet intervention can be sought at the earliest.
Let’s understand the causes:
Although exact cause is not very clear, anything that creates irritation to the skin, causing the pet to chew or scratch at the site, can cause a hot spot. Insect (flea/fly/etc.) bites, allergies, excess skin-surface moisture, heavy/dense hair coats, matted hair, skin scrapes, etc.
When saliva accumulates under the hair coat as a result of the itchy pet chewing on himself, can result in hot spots.
Diagnosis and Treatment (best to consult your vet as can vary case to case):
The veterinarian will identify this condition relatively easily based on the history, symptom, and appearance of the skin.
The first step your vet will take is to clip or shave and clean the inflamed/infected area to allow the air to get to it. There could be moisture and pus trapped on the skin making the hot spot worse. Also it will allow the vet to clearly see the extent of the lesion (in some cases they are much bigger than it was suspected).
Hot spots can be painful in some cases, so sedation may be necessary in order to shave and clean the spot properly. Basis which the vet will guide you for the next steps – depending on the size of the hot spot and severity.
Is this condition transmitted to people and other pets in the same house?
No, the major causative organism of hot spot is a part of normal resident bacteria on humans, dog, and cats. We have them on our skin already therefore you pet will not be “contagious” to you and other individuals in your household.
Even if the hot spot is small, non-painful, recognized early, and is uncomplicated, we still advise you to contact your vet immediately because hot spots can rapidly increase in size and be very painful. Also some other serious diseases may look like hot spot, so in order to best manage, examine and treat we advise you to take the pet to the vet immediately.
In this case, first aid can be tricky as a do-it-yourself project. There are certain specific topical products made for this issue, may be you could do a telehealth with your vet and take some advice on first aid products like these while you plan to take the pet to the vet. If it doesn’t get better as it is expected, you should see a veterinarian as soon as possible.