Okaw Veterinary Clinic LLC

140 West Sale Street
Tuscola, IL 61953



The Hot Spot - Red Irritated Skin


dog with a ballWhen the weather gets hot and humid, it is fairly common to see dogs erupt with a large, red, weeping sore that is very itchy and painful. These sores are called "Hot Spots."  I am not exactly sure how they got that name, but I suspect it is because they are very fast to erupt (Hot) and they are a spot. 

In more medical terms, these eruptions are usually caused by an insect bite, small abrasion or local allergic reaction. This reaction is very intense, causing the scratching, redness and clear drainage.  If they are not treated, they will continue to grow causing intense pain and discomfort. Bacteria from the skin will invade, creating a deeper wound and infection. When your dog has a Hot Spot you will be alarmed at how a small red area can become a large, draining, intensely painful area on the side of the face, neck or base of the back.

Luckily treatment is easy. An injection of cortisone to quickly relieve the inflammation and drainage coupled often with antibiotic and a tapering dose of cortisone. These spots will dry up and be much better in a matter of days. For some pets a topical antibiotic spray or cream may also be used.

Some dogs may be aggressive and even attempt to bite when you try to examine the hot spot. These are very painful, causing the dog to guard themselves from any touch or handling around the sore. It is important to have a veterinarian examine and treat these as soon as possible. Often, clients have been bitten when trying to clip matted hair away from these sores, or apply treatment. Giving the appropriate medication by mouth and injection is a fast way to relieve the pain and inflammation, speeding up healing. Please do not think that because your pet knows and trusts you they will not possibly be upset by you tending to these Hot Spots. Leave the sore alone and get attention as soon as possible.

- written by Dr. Sally Foote

Okaw Veterinary Clinic
140 W. Sale
Tuscola, IL 61953
(217) 253-3221


Mon & Fri 8 am - 6 pm
Tues & Wed 8 am - 5 pm
Sat 8 am - noon
Closed Thurs & Sun

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