A Moist Eczema, aka Hot Spots or Summer Sores, on a Golden Retriver's right shoulder just behind her green dog collar. This skin disorder which is oozing,   moist and raw, is more likely caused by bacteria. These Hot Spots can appear spontaneously anywhere on a dog's body out of nowhere.
Surface Pyoderma – Typical presentation


The “Hotspot” or surface dermatitis (as we vets know it), is a local skin infection that occur in any breed of dog. They occur due to multiple factors but its the combination of warm weather, moisture and typically, a long hair coat. It usually occurs due to trauma (self inflicted – scratching) and are usually found around the neck and head.


What will you expect to see:

Usually they present as a red, moist, hot, painful patch that is usually matted. There may also be hair loss within the region.

common Predisposing factors / causes:
  • Thick, long coat breeds (Golden retrievers, Labrador Retrievers)
  • Dogs who swim or frequently exposed to rain
  • Warm, humid weather
  • Skin allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Flea infestation



The visual presentation and an itchy dog, combined with breed and time of year is usually enough for diagnosis. 

A skin scraping for microscopic examination to determine type of infection is recommended (for a small fee) to ensure the appropriate treatment is provided. Pricing.


As the technical name suggests (pyo- pus, derma – skin), the hotspot is usually associated with an active infection. Typical bacteria identified are staphylococcus species (above – left) and fungus species Malassezia (above – right). The basic types of bacteria can be identified quick and easy by your vet and the use of a under a high power microscope. If bacteria is present, a course of antibiotics may be provided. Furthermore, in moderate to severe cases the use of steroids may be required to help reduce inflammation and your pet scratching the area.


What outcome should I expect with treatment?

Hot spots usually heal very well with the appropriate treatment, with an expected healing time within 3 to 7 days for most cases.



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Dr Ian