A Guide to Understanding and Managing Heat-Related Skin Issues

When your pet’s skin becomes intensely itchy, they may resort to scratching, licking, and chewing, ultimately creating what is known as a hot spot. These uncomfortable sores can cause significant distress for your furry companion. To help your pet find relief from the itch, it’s important to learn more about these bothersome skin issues.

What exactly are hot spots in pets? Hot spots, also referred to as acute moist dermatitis or pyotraumatic dermatitis, are inflamed sores that develop on your pet’s skin. These sores seem to appear suddenly and can quickly worsen, becoming oozing, painful lesions that cause immense discomfort.

What causes hot spots in pets? Hot spots are typically triggered by skin inflammation resulting from environmental, flea, or food allergies. However, anything that prompts your pet to excessively lick, chew, or scratch an area can contribute to the development of hot spots. Some common triggers include ear infections, skin infections, matted fur, urinary tract infections, and anal gland issues.

How are hot spots in pets treated? Prompt action is crucial to prevent deep skin infections when dealing with hot spots. As soon as you notice a small area of inflammation, it’s important to put an Elizabethan collar (also known as an e-collar) on your pet to prevent further irritation.

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 and matted fur can foster infection and must be removed for the hot spot to heal.

We will gently clean the area using an antiseptic rinse to flush away fur and debris. Then, we will apply topical medications to soothe the itch and treat the infection on the 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 appropriate therapies.

If you notice any irritated or inflamed areas on your pet’s skin, it’s crucial not to delay. Give our team a call and schedule an appointment before a minor irritation escalates into a large, painful hot spot.

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