Hot Spots (Acral Lick Dermatitis)

Hot Spots

Definition of Hot Spots

Hot spots are firm, thickened, circular, raised, warm, hairless and often ulcerated skin lesions that usually are caused by repetitive licking and chewing. Also called lick granulomas, acral lick dermatitis or acute moist dermatitis, these sores are painful and can become infected and smelly. They most commonly develop on the top of a dog’s wrist joint or on top of one of its front paws. Hot spots can also occur on the lower hind legs, paws and under the ear flaps, especially in large breeds with floppy ears. Affected dogs typically have some sort of allergic or other underlying skin condition that starts the itch-lick-chew cycle. They become fixated on the itchy area and bother it compulsively until a wound develops. Hot spots can show up suddenly and worsen rapidly.