Identifying, Treating, and Avoiding Hot Spots in Pets

Your pet may create a hot spot by excessively scratching, licking, and chewing when their itchy skin causes their skin to feel like it is on fire. Learn more about these excruciatingly uncomfortable sores in order to aid your furry friend in overcoming the irritation.

What are hot spots on an animal?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis and pyotraumatic dermatitis, are sores that develop on the epidermis of an animal. These spots often appear overnight and can quickly become a painful, oozing disaster that causes your pet extreme discomfort.

What causes pets’ hot spots?

Inflammation of the skin is commonly induced by environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that causes your companion to lick, chew, or scratch an area until the skin becomes raw may be the cause.

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 prevent a severe skin infection, you must act swiftly when treating your pet’s hot spots. As soon as you detect a small area of inflammation, you must place an Elizabethan collar (also known as an e-collar) on your pet to prevent them from further irritating the skin.

As hot spots can be extremely painful to the contact, we may administer sedation in conjunction with a potent analgesic when your pet arrives at our hospital for treatment. Once your companion is comfortable, we will trim away matted fur to allow air to reach the area. Wet, matted fur functions as a breeding ground for infection and must be removed to allow the sore to heal.

We will delicately clean the area with an antiseptic rinse to remove fur and debris, and then apply topical medications to the clean, dry skin to alleviate the itching and treat the infection. We may recommend allergy treatment, anal gland expression, ear medication, regular hygiene, or other therapies, depending on the underlying cause of the hot spot.

If you observe an irritated, inflamed area on your pet’s epidermis, you should act immediately. Call our office to schedule an appointment before a small irritation develops into a large, excruciating sore.