Honestly, we are still learning about the precise cause(s) of hotspots, also known as moist dermatitis. Research suggests there are several drivers of this annoying skin condition, which can come and go seasonally, or can persist in some dogs.

Influences including food allergy, environmental allergens, contact irritants, stress and neurotic licking/scratching have been implicated in this often acute condition. Did you know that hot spots are actually caused by gram positive bacteria that live in the pores of the skin and when there is a physical breach, they gain access to the tissue to cause more inflammation and a localized infection?

Often times, hot spots are self-limiting, but sometimes will require topical or oral antibiotics and steroids treatment to resolve the infection and inflammation. Keeping your dog’s wound clean through the use of antiseptic wipes or, our favorite, good ‘ol soap and water is required to facilitate faster healing.

What if your dog’s hot spot treatment isn’t working? We are detecting more and more antibiotic resistant bacteria in and on dogs. If your pup is on antibiotics and the wound isn’t responding after 1 week, you should visit your vet to assess susceptibility. Many of the common culprits in the Staphylococcus spp. familyhave gained resistance genes through their sharing mechanisms and they are becoming resistant to the commonly used topical antibiotics for hot spots.

Recommendations: use soap and water, keep dogs away from allergic triggers, stop dogs from excessive licking/scratching through behavioral modification.