Spotting, Treating, and Preventing Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet experiences intense itching that makes their skin feel like it’s on fire, they may scratch, lick, and chew excessively, leading to the formation of hot spots. Help your beloved companion find relief from the itch by gaining a better understanding of 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 develop on a pet’s skin. These spots can seemingly appear overnight and quickly turn into painful, oozing lesions that cause considerable discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are typically triggered by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that compels your pet to lick, chew, or scratch an area excessively until the skin becomes raw can be a contributing factor.

Hot spots can be caused 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 put an Elizabethan collar (commonly known as an 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 extremely painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully clip away matted fur to promote airflow to the affected area. Moist, tangled fur provides an ideal environment for infection, so its removal is crucial for the healing of the hot spot.

We will gently cleanse the area using an antiseptic rinse to flush out any fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications 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, anal gland expression, ear medication, regular grooming, or other appropriate therapies.

If you observe an irritated and inflamed area on your pet’s skin, it is important not to delay. Please contact our team to schedule an appointment before a minor irritation escalates into a large, painful hot spot.