Dog Hotspots

What is a hotspot?

Living on Vancouver Island we tend to see a lot of hotspots here at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital. Hotspots are an acute, moist dermatitis (bacterial infection of the skin). A hotspot is typically a moist, red, smelly area of skin under the coat and will often have a crust.

How do dogs get hotspots?

Dogs can start a hotspot by licking or scratching at an irritated area. Unfortunately, flea bites are still the most common cause but anything can start and itch such as a bug bite, scrape or allergy which causes licking/ scratching, leading to a hotspot.

Which dogs can get hotspots?

Any breed of dog can suffer from a hotspot, but breeds with thick or long coats which hold moisture next to the skin for long periods of time tend to be more susceptible.

What do hotspots do?

The hotspot area is generally inflamed and oozing from the infection and is EXTREMELY painful. Hotspots grow very fast! A hotspot can be the size of a quarter in the morning, and then it can be the size of a baseball by dinner time. Most veterinary hospitals will treat a hotspot case as an emergency due to the pain associated with the condition as well as the speed in which the infection can spread.

How can I treat hotspots?

Hotspots almost always need treatment from a veterinarian. Your pet will need the area properly clipped and cleaned. As this is quite painful, your veterinarian will often recommend sedation. In some cases, when the pain is so severe, pets require a general anesthetic for treatment. Your veterinarian may prescribe topical treatment as well as oral antibiotics and in many cases, pain control. A cone is often sent home to prevent further licking. Hotspots can be tricky to treat as often times owners have no idea just how large they are or how far the infection has actually spread until you clip away the fur to reveal the full extent of the infection.

Can I treat hotspots at home?

If you catch the hotspot before it gets too big and before the infection has spread, it is possible to treat at home. However, be very aware of controlling the hotspot from growing. This happens very fast.  The area should be clipped and gently cleaned. In some cases, you can apply raw aloe or a thin layer of manuka honey but NEVER apply vinegar or Tea Tree Oil! These products are astringents and will cause pain. You should always contact your veterinarian prior to treating with any products from home.

Submitted by Sherry Duncan, RVT



Get a Cupcake and Support BC Animals in Need During Treat Week (Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2020)

Van Isle Veterinary Hospital is super excited to be hosting our 4th annual cupcake day fundraiser! BCSPCA celebrates “Treat Week” across the Province from Feb 24th – March 1st 2020 where business, pet owners and animal lovers can bake up a storm and sell treats with the proceeds going to BC animals in need.

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Last updated: December 17, 2020

Dear Clients,

With recent changes to restrictions on businesses, we are pleased to advise that effective May 25, 2020 the restrictions on veterinary practices have been lifted. Based on these changes, below are some important updates to our operating policies.


This includes vaccines, wellness exams, blood work, spays and neuters, dental services, and more!

As you can imagine, we have a significant backlog of surgeries and wellness/vaccine exams to catch up on and we will be working hard over the next several weeks to do just that. We want to thank everyone in advance for your patience while we work through this. Although restrictions have been lifted, our health and safety protocols have not. It is important we continue to follow the guidelines set out by Worksafe BC and social distance our large team as much as possible. This means although we can offer these elective services, we are doing much fewer during the day then we were pre-COVID.


We are very excited to welcome you back into our lobby! We have put some important safety measures in place to help keep our clients and our team safe.


The use of our online store for easy ordering, payment and delivery of our pet's food, flea and tick medications. Orders over $100 can be delivered to your home for free! CLICK HERE


During the first 8 weeks of COVID, we were operating as a 24-hour facility to better serve our community and to maintain social distancing within our team. However, as the COVID-19 situation changes, so do we!

Our team of doctors felt it was important to get back to performing your pet's much needed regular services. In order to do so safely, we had to once again change the way we do business. 

As such, effective October 6, 2020, we will no longer be available for after-hours, on call services between midnight and 7:00 am. After-hours emergency care will be referred to Central Island Veterinary Emergency Hospital between the hours of midnight - 7:00 am. They can be reached at 250-933-0913.

We will continue to be available until midnight for your call-in, after hours needs.

Our regular hours of operation remain the same:

Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 8:00 pm

Saturday & Sunday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

- Your dedicated team at Van Isle Veterinary Hospital