Spotting, Treating, and Preventing Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet’s skin feels intensely itchy, they may scratch, lick, and chew at it, leading to the development of hot spots. Help your beloved companion find relief from this discomfort by understanding more about these highly unpleasant sores.

What are hot spots in pets?

Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are inflamed sores that form on a pet’s skin. These sores can seemingly appear overnight and quickly become painful, oozing wounds that cause significant discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are primarily caused by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that prompts 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 crucial to prevent deep skin infections when treating hot spots in your pet. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, it’s important to place an Elizabethan collar (e-collar) on your pet 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 analgesic medication since hot spots can be extremely painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully clip away matted fur to allow proper air circulation. Wet and matted fur serves as an ideal breeding ground for infection and must be eliminated to promote healing of the hot spot.

Next, we will gently cleanse the affected area using an antiseptic rinse to remove fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications to soothe the itchiness and treat 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 therapies as necessary.

If you observe an irritated and inflamed area on your pet’s skin, don’t hesitate. Contact our team to schedule an appointment before a minor irritation escalates into a large, painful hot spot.