What are hot spots?

They look like open, oozing sores about the size of a quarter or larger on the dog. Treatment involves keeping the sore clean and dry until it heals. Shaving the area promotes air circulation; both Sulfodene and witch hazel have been recommended as astringent cleaners. You should avoid ointments and other topical applications which would keep the area moist.
Hot spots are often caused by allergies. This can be allergies to fleas (most common), allergies to food, or hormonal (including thyroid, adrenal, and even testosterone levels) imbalances. Goldens, especially those with allergies, seem to be subsceptible to hot spots. A book that is often recommended in helping to deal with allergies is Dr. Plechner's Pet Allergies.

(Cindy Moore, tittle@netcom.com)