Recognize, Handle, and Avoid Hot Spots in Pets

Your pet may scratch, lick, and chew themselves into a hot spot when their skin feels like it is on fire from scratching. By learning more about these incredibly uncomfortable sores, you can help your pet beat the itch.

What causes hot spots in animals?
Acute moist dermatitis, also known as hot spots or pyotraumatic dermatitis, is a skin condition that causes inflamed sores to appear on a pet’s skin. These blotches frequently appear overnight and can develop quickly into an excruciating mess for your pet.

Why do pets develop hot spots?
Hot spots are typically brought on by skin inflammation brought on by flea, food, or environmental allergies. Anything, though, that prompts your pet to lick, chew, or scratch an area until the skin is exposed can be the problem.

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?

To avoid a severe skin infection, you must act quickly to treat your pet’s hot spots. Your pet needs to wear an Elizabethan collar (also known as an e-collar) as soon as you notice a small area of inflammation in order to prevent further skin irritation.

As hot spots can be excruciatingly painful to the touch, when your pet comes to our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may sedate them and give them a potent analgesic. We will clip away matted fur to make the area more airy once your pet is at ease. To help the hot spot heal, the wet, matted fur that acts as a breeding ground for infection must be cut out.

To remove fur and other debris, we will gently clean the area with an antiseptic rinse. Next, we will apply topical medications to the clean, dry skin to relieve the itch and treat the infection. Depending on what caused the hot spot in the first place, we may advise allergy medication, anal gland expression, ear medication, routine grooming, or other therapies.

Don’t wait to act if you see an inflamed or irritated area on your pet’s skin. Call our staff to make an appointment before a small annoyance develops into a significant, uncomfortable hot spot.

Some issues cannot be prevented! In this situation, please call/make an appointment and we'll do our best to help.

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