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Acute Moist Dermatitis:

aka:  Hot Spot

Acute Moist Dermatitis in Dogs. Otherwise known as "hot spots". A hot spot is a warm, painful, swollen patch of skin that exudes pus & gives a foul odor. Hair in the area is lost rapidly. A hot spot starts because something irritates the dog's skin & the infection progresses when the dog licks & chews the site. These circular patches appear suddenly & enlarge quickly, often within a matter of hours. A quarter size area can spread to be 8" in diameter in just a matter of six hours. 
Hot spots can occur anywhere on a dogs body & in any breed. The most typical location for a hot spot to appear is under the ear flap and on the side of the face in large breeds with heavy, hairy ears. Other common areas include under the tail, & feet.
Hot spots appear most often during hot Summer months and right before shedding periods (Spring & Fall). Dogs with matted, dirty coats are at greater risk of developing them. 
Once a hot spot has developed it can be treated with topical and/or oral antibiotics from your vet. The hair should be clipped around the area to expose to air and accelerate healing. The area should be cleaned with antiseptic solution before applying any topical treatment. 
PREVENTION of hot spots in dogs with a history: frequent grooming/bathing, keeping long haired dogs shaved during Summer months is extremely beneficial. Flea control, flea bites can cause excessive irritation on the skin. Rule out any food or pollen allergies that may have caused the skin irritation to begin.

The photo, below, is an example of an advanced case & would require a vet visit for medication.  If caught in the early stages, a hot spot can be treated, at home, with OTC meds, antibiotic ointment and cleansing with antiseptics.  A trip to the groomer would be beneficial as well.  Your groomer can shave the hair around the area and keep your dog's fur clean to prevent further infection and more spots forming.

Below is an image of a hot spot caught in the early stages.  This can be treated at home by, first, shaving the area, cleansing with warm water & antiseptic solution, and applying a topical antibiotic.  You can also use a bitter apple spray for pets, which helps to keep your dog from continually licking the area & making it worse.  

Information from Web MD, Vetinfo, Home and Family/Pets, & Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

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