"Hot spots" are localized bacterial skin infections usually caused by Staphylococcus spp. Typically, the skin becomes inflamed and the bacteria that are normally found on the skin invade and cause an infection. You will notice an area of matted fur or a lesion that is oozing pus. The skin will be very red and inflamed. Often the lesion appears very suddenly and progresses quickly.
There are 3 common causes of the initial inflammation of the skin:
1) Moist skin- The skin becomes moist due to a bath, swim, or heat. If the dog has dense fur, then this area doesn't dry properly and the moist skin becomes inflamed allowing the bacterial invasion.
2) Fleas- The skin becomes inflamed from either the flea bites or the dog scratching.
3) Ear infections- Often times a hot spot will develop under the ear due to either the dog digging at his ear or from the discharge coming out of the ear.
The main treatment for “hot spots” is to allow the skin to dry. First, shave the fur from around the lesion. Once the fur is removed, then the air can circulated over the skin and dry it out. The next step is to thoroughly clean the area. Most of the time the dog will also need oral antibiotics in order to heal the infection.
"Hot spots" can spread very rapidly. They are extremely painful and can cause nasty looking lesions. It is important that you get the "hot spot" treated as soon as you notice it.