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Spotting, Treating, and Preventing Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet’s skin becomes intensely itchy, they may scratch, lick, and chew to the point of developing a hot spot. Help your beloved companion find relief from the itchiness by familiarizing yourself with these highly uncomfortable 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 quickly turn into painful, oozing wounds that cause extreme discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots typically result from skin inflammation caused by environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, any behavior that leads your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area 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?

Prompt action is necessary to prevent deep skin infections when treating hot spots in your pet. As soon as you notice even a small area of inflammation, it is crucial to place an Elizabethan collar (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, as hot spots can be highly painful. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully trim away matted fur to allow proper airflow to the affected area. Wet and matted fur creates an environment conducive to infection, so its removal is vital for the hot spot to heal.

Next, we will gently cleanse the area with an antiseptic rinse to remove fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications to soothe itching 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, anal gland expression, ear medication, regular grooming, or other appropriate therapies.

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