Identifying, Treating, and Preventing Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet’s skin becomes intensely itchy, they may scratch, lick, and chew, leading to the formation of hot spots. Help your furry companion find relief by understanding 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 oozing, painful lesions that cause significant discomfort to your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are commonly triggered by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, any behavior that leads your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area 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 hot spots in your pet. As soon as you notice even a small area of inflammation, it’s crucial to put an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) on your pet to prevent further irritation.

Upon visiting our hospital for hot spot treatment, we may administer sedation along with a potent analgesic medication, as hot spots can be excruciatingly painful. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully remove matted fur to allow proper airflow to the affected area. Wet and tangled fur creates an ideal environment for infection and must be eliminated to facilitate healing.

The area will be gently cleansed 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. Additional 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 therapeutic measures.

If you notice an irritated and inflamed area on your pet’s skin, don’t hesitate to contact our team and schedule an appointment. Timely intervention can prevent a minor irritation from escalating into a large, painful hot spot.