The immediate cause of a hot spot is a bacterial infection of the skin. The inflammation is itchy and painful for the dog, so he licks or chews at the site for relief… and further irritates the sore. Saliva is filled with bacteria and not a very good salve for wounds. As the dog becomes more frantic to relieve the irritation, he may become more aggressive with his chewing. Some dogs will bite to the point of self-mutilation. The most common sites for hot spots are those accessible by mouth – the flank, legs and paws, and the rump – but itchy dogs will get wounds anywhere they can scratch. A hot spot is painful as well as itchy. Some dogs might become protective of their sore and nip or growl to keep you away from it. To distract them for periods at a time, it might be a good idea to give him a dog treat, like bully sticks. This is sure to keep him busy for a while.
The ultimate cause of a hot spotcan be more difficult to determine, but is especially important with multiple, chronic, or recurring sores. The occasional incident might be caused by a simple irritant such as a thistle or bug bite. Most hot spots occur in the summer months during hot, humid weather. Some breeds, such as Labrador and Golden retrievers, are known to be predisposed. In general dogs with thick or long hair coats are at risk. Dogs prone to ear and anal sac infections are also more susceptible to hot spots.
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