How to Identify, Treat, and Prevent Hot Spots in Pets

When your pet experiences intense itching that makes their skin feel like it’s on fire, they may scratch, lick, and chew excessively, leading to the formation of hot spots. Help your furry companion overcome the itchiness by learning 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 sores can seemingly appear overnight and quickly transform into oozing, painful wounds that cause extreme discomfort for your pet.

What causes hot spots in pets?

Hot spots are typically caused by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that prompts your pet to 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 necessary to prevent deep skin infections when treating your pet’s hot spots. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, it is 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, as hot spots can be incredibly painful to the touch. Once your pet is comfortable, we will carefully clip away matted fur to facilitate airflow to the affected area. Wet and matted fur creates an environment conducive to infection and must be removed to promote healing.

We will gently cleanse the area with an antiseptic rinse to eliminate fur and debris, followed by the application of topical medications on clean and 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, expression of anal glands, ear medication, regular grooming, or other therapies.

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