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

When your pet experiences intense itching that causes their skin to feel like it’s burning, they may scratch, lick, and chew excessively, leading to the formation of a hot spot. Help your beloved companion overcome the itchiness by learning more about these highly uncomfortable sores.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, also referred to as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are inflamed sores that develop on a pet’s skin. These sores often appear suddenly and can rapidly progress into oozing, painful wounds that cause significant discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are typically caused by skin inflammation resulting from environmental factors, flea allergies, or food allergies. However, anything that prompts your pet to lick, chew, or scratch an area to the point of raw skin can be a contributing factor.

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?

Taking swift action is essential in treating your pet’s hot spots to prevent deep skin infections. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, it is crucial to place an Elizabethan collar (also known as an 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 analgesic medication, as hot spots can be extremely painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully trim away any matted fur to allow proper airflow to the affected area. Wet and tangled fur creates an ideal environment for infection and must be removed to facilitate the healing of the hot spot.

We will delicately cleanse the area using an antiseptic rinse to flush out fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications to soothe the itchiness and address 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 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 and painful hot spot.