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 creating a hot spot. Help alleviate your furry companion’s discomfort by learning more about 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 often appear suddenly and can rapidly turn into painful, oozing lesions that cause significant distress to your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are typically caused by skin inflammation due to environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, any behavior that leads to excessive licking, chewing, or scratching, resulting in raw skin, can contribute to hot spot development.

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’s crucial to place an Elizabethan collar (i.e., e-collar) on your pet to prevent further irritation of the skin.

Upon arriving at our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may administer sedation along with a potent analgesic medication, as hot spots can be highly painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully clip away matted fur to promote airflow to the affected area. Wet and tangled fur serves as a breeding ground for infection and must be removed to facilitate healing.

We will gently cleanse the area with an antiseptic rinse to remove fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications on clean, dry skin to alleviate itching and address the infection. 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 an irritated and inflamed area on your pet’s skin, it’s important not to delay. Contact our team promptly to schedule an appointment before a minor irritation escalates into a large and painful hot spot.