How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet experiences intense itching and their skin feels like it’s on fire, they may resort to scratching, licking, and chewing, ultimately leading to the formation of hot spots. To help your furry companion find relief from this uncomfortable condition, it’s crucial to understand more about these painful 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 become a painful, oozing mess, causing significant discomfort to your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are typically caused by skin inflammation triggered by environmental factors, flea bites, or food allergies. However, any behavior that leads your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area to the point of raw skin 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 essential to prevent deep skin infections when treating your pet’s hot spots. Once you notice a small area of inflammation, it’s important to place an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) on your pet to prevent further irritation.

When you bring your pet to our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may administer sedation along with a potent pain-relieving medication, as hot spots can be highly sensitive. Once your pet is comfortable, we will remove matted fur to allow the affected area to breathe. Wet and matted fur can foster infection, so it must be eliminated for the hot spot to heal.

We will carefully clean the area using an antiseptic rinse to remove fur and debris. Subsequently, we will apply topical medications to soothe itching and treat the infection on clean and 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 therapies.

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