How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent 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. To help your furry companion find relief, it’s important to understand 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 seem to appear suddenly and can rapidly become oozing, painful wounds that cause extreme discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are typically triggered by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that leads your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area until the skin becomes raw can be a contributing factor.

Hot spots can be caused by:

  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Matted fur
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Anal gland issues

How are hot spots in pets treated?

Swift action is necessary to prevent deep skin infections when treating your pet’s hot spots. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, it’s crucial to use an Elizabethan collar (also known as an e-collar) to prevent further irritation of the skin.

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 extremely painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully clip away matted fur to allow proper airflow to the affected area. Wet, matted fur provides an environment for infection to thrive and must be removed to facilitate healing.

We will gently cleanse the area with an antiseptic rinse to flush out 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 therapies.

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