How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet experiences intense itching that feels like their skin is on fire, they may resort to scratching, licking, and chewing, leading to the formation of hot spots. Help your beloved companion overcome the discomfort by gaining more knowledge about these highly unpleasant sores.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, also referred to as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are inflamed sores that develop on a pet’s skin. These sores often appear suddenly and can rapidly turn into painful, oozing wounds that cause significant distress to your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots primarily result from skin inflammation triggered by environmental factors, flea infestations, or food allergies. However, anything that compels your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area until the skin becomes raw can contribute to hot spot formation. 

Hot spots can be triggered by:

– Ear infections
– Skin infections
– Matted fur
– Urinary tract infections
– Anal gland issues

How are hot spots in pets treated?

Prompt action is essential to treat your pet’s hot spots and prevent deep skin infections. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, it is crucial to place an Elizabethan collar (i.e., e-collar) on your pet to prevent further irritation of the skin. 

Upon arrival at our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may administer sedation along with potent analgesic medication, as hot spots can be highly painful to touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully remove matted fur to allow adequate airflow to reach the affected area. Wet and tangled fur creates a breeding ground for infection, and its removal is necessary for proper healing of the hot spot.

We will gently cleanse the area using an antiseptic rinse to flush away fur and debris. Subsequently, topical medications will be applied to soothe the itch and treat the infection on clean, dry skin. Further treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the hot spot, and we may recommend allergy treatment, expression of anal glands, administration of ear medication, regular grooming, or other appropriate therapies.

If you observe an irritated and inflamed area on your pet’s skin, do not hesitate to contact our team and schedule an appointment. Addressing a minor irritation promptly can prevent it from escalating into a large and painful hot spot.