Effects of “Hot Spots” – From the Dog’s Point of View
Hot spots are very painful for the dogs that are suffering from them. They usually start with some sort of allergic or hypersensitivity reaction or joint disorder that is irritating and itchy. This, in turn, causes the dog to lick and chew incessantly at the affected area, which most typically is on the top side of the lower legs and/or on the paws; the front legs and feet are the most common sites of hot spots. As the dog keeps licking in an unsuccessful attempt to relieve its discomfort, the sores will become deeper and pain will replace the itchiness.
Symptoms of “Hot Spots” – What the Owner Sees
Owners of dogs with hot spots know that their dog has something abnormal going on in the affected area. The dog’s chronic licking, chewing and bothering at the site of the hot spot cannot go unnoticed, unless of course the dog is kept outdoors and doesn’t spend a lot of time with its owner. Attentive owners of dogs suffering from hot spots may notice one or more of the following signs:
- Compulsive licking and chewing at a particular area of skin, typically on the top of a lower front leg or paw (but can be on a hind leg or elsewhere on the dog’s body)
- Raised, rough, reddened, plaque-like lesion, typically on the top of a lower front leg or paw (but can be on a hind leg or elsewhere on the dog’s body)
- Signs of pain, possibly from a joint injury or disease in the affected area
- Reddish-brown saliva staining around the hot spot site
- Oozing, ulcerated, pus-filled drainage tracts coming from the hot spot site
- Foul smell coming from the hot spot site
- Swelling around the hot spot site
Dog’s at Increased Risk
Large breed dogs seem to be predisposed to developing hot spots. These include the Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Newfoundland, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Irish Setter and German Shepherd Dog.