Animals: Hot spots

‘Hot spots’ frequently affect dogs.

These areas of itchy dermatitis (see example in the photo) can drive an animal (and its owner) crazy from the scratching they cause. Our dog, a Shetland collie, developed a number of them on his back and abdomen (like the lesions in the photo) and abdomen, so I Googled for an answer to the problem.

One dog owner suggested the following: 

  • Trim the area around the hot spot.
  • Clean the area and pat dry.
  • Apply hydrocortisone spray or hydrocortisone cream (not good for a licking dog).
  • Prevent the dog from biting, licking or scratching the area by putting a plastic cone around its neck.
  • When all else fails take the animal to the vet. (Expensive).

This photograph is of another dog with hot spots.

The dog-carer's approach seemed a little complicated, so I sprayed a little wheatgrass extract over Ollie's hot spots instead. Initially, he resisted, but in a few minutes he was lying comfortably on his back, legs splayed, fast asleep. The scratching ceased almost immediately and after a couple of days the “spots” were no longer.

Dr. Chris Reynolds.