Spotting, Treating, and Preventing Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet’s skin becomes intensely itchy, they may scratch, lick, and chew the area excessively, leading to the development of a hot spot. Help your beloved companion find relief from this discomfort by learning more about these highly unpleasant sores.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are inflamed sores that form on a pet’s skin. These spots can seemingly appear overnight and rapidly evolve into painful, oozing wounds that cause significant discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are commonly caused by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, any behavior that prompts your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area to the point of rawness can contribute to the development of hot spots.

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?

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

When you bring your pet to our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may administer sedation along with a potent analgesic medication since hot spots can be highly painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully trim away any matted fur to facilitate airflow to the affected area. Damp and tangled fur creates an ideal environment for infection, so its removal is necessary for the hot spot to heal.

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

If you notice any irritated and inflamed areas on your pet’s skin, do not delay. Contact our team immediately to schedule an appointment before a minor irritation escalates into a large and painful hot spot.