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Identifying, Treating, and Preventing 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. Help your beloved companion overcome the discomfort by familiarizing yourself with these highly bothersome 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 sores can seemingly appear overnight and rapidly transform into painful, oozing wounds that cause extreme discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are commonly triggered by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that compels your pet to excessively 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?

Prompt 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’s important to use an Elizabethan collar (i.e., e-collar) on your pet to prevent further irritation of the skin.

Upon your pet’s arrival at 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 trim away matted fur to promote air circulation in the affected area. Wet, tangled fur provides an ideal environment for infection and must be removed to facilitate healing.

We will delicately cleanse the area with an antiseptic rinse to eliminate fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications on the clean and dry skin to alleviate itching and address the infection. Further treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the hot spot. We might recommend allergy treatment, expression of anal glands, ear medication, regular grooming, or other therapies as necessary.

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

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