Recently, it seems like my dog is at the doctor more then I am. As a dog owner, you not only learn all about behavior, but you learn about dog health conditions. Unfortunately, I had to learn about dog "hot spots."
Dog hot spots are a result of a skin condition officially called pyotraumatic dermatitis. It is a bacterial infection that develops and rapidly spreads in the skin. Hot spots are painful to the dog, can emit pus and smell badly. Hair loss from around the infected area is common. Because dog hot spots are so painful and irritating many dogs will bite and scratch the area causing the infection to spread.
Although hot spots are most common in dogs with thick coats, they can occur in any breed. A common cause for hot spots is moisture getting caught next to the dog's skin, making an ideal spot for an infection to start. Moisture can become trapped by matted fur, a dog collar, or simply thick fur. Many times chronic dog hot spots stem from an allergic condition (which is most likely the case in my pup). Though some dogs are simply more prone to hot spots than others.
It is best to treat hot spots quickly to prevent further spreading of the infection, and for the relief of your dog. Also, some dogs will scratch at a hot spot to the point of breaking the skin. This makes the condition even more painful, and provides the opportunity for a more serious infection to occur.
As for the source of Rocco's condition? We know he has seasonal allergies. Plus, recently, someone bought our dog some generic "commercial" dog treats as a gift. Since we normally feed him so-called premium treats, it's possible that he has food allergies and the generic dog treats caused him to break out with the hot spot. That, combined with having thick fur, could be the cause. Hopefully, this will be the last time we have to worry about hot spots.