Shengo's very sore hotspot

Shengo, a very handsome 6 month old Chow Chow, came to see us after his family discovered a moist and very sore area on his neck that appeared a couple of days after having a bath. Shengo had also seemed a bit down and was off his food. He was admitted to the hospital for sedation as he was very sore and our veterinarian wanted to have a good look at the sensitive area.

The area was clipped and our veterinarian identified the moist sore area on his neck as a "hotspot" (acute moist dermatitis). These are warm, painful, swollen patches of skin that exude pus and can give off a smelly odour. Shengo had quite a large hotspot, the size only becoming evident once the hair was clipped away. The hair is clipped to allow air to reach the area so that it can be cleaned (antibacterial wash) and dried out to prevent the lesion getting larger.

Hotspots can occur anywhere on the body, and can appear suddenly and grow rapidly. They tend to be more common in heavy coated breeds like Golden Retrievers, Samoyeds, Huskies and Chow Chows. They usually appear before shedding and when moist, dead hair is trapped next to the skin, however hot, humid weather, fleas, mites, or other external parasites, an insect sting or bite, allergies, or injury (skin wound, scrape) and bathing (not being dried thoroughly) can all lead to this condition developing. Redness, pain, pus, itchiness and hair loss are all signs of a hotspot.

Shengo recovered well from his sedation and he was discharged from the hospital with some antibiotics to treat the infection and a course of corticosteroids to help with the severe itching. He came in to see us again after seven days and the weeping wound had healed and he was once again a very happy little man.