Hot Spots

Information on the causes of hot spots (acute moist dermatitis) in cats and dogs.

Select a Topic

  1. What are Hot Spots?
  2. What Causes Hot Spots?
  3. Diagnosing Hot Spots
  4. Help for Hot Spots
  5. More Information on Hot Spots

What are Hot Spots?

Hot spots (also referred to as acute moist dermatitis) are a common skin condition found in dogs and cats with long hair or thick, dense undercoats. Hot spots are characterized by moist, raw, circular-shaped lesions which are inflamed. They are painful and usually found on the head, along the chest and over the hip area.

Your pet will bite, lick and scratch the lesion causing further inflammation and irritation of the skin. The lesions usually appear suddenly and increase dramatically in size. Dog breeds such as St. Bernards, Golden retrievers and younger dogs are predisposed to acute moist dermatitis.

The common symptoms and signs include:
  • Itchiness
  • Scratching
  • Biting
  • Redness
  • Scabs or lesions
  • Licking the affected area

What Causes Hot Spots?

Dog and cat hot spots are often caused by allergies, flea bites, mosquito bites, ear infections, poor grooming, injury, cut or wound as well as degenerative joint and anal gland disease. Sometimes, boredom, loneliness, stress and anxiety may also cause animals to scratch and bite themselves resulting in hot spots. If left untreated these lesions can become infected and spread to other areas of the skin.

Diagnosing Hot Spots

The diagnosis of hot spots is based on the symptoms presented, thorough physical examination and a review of your pet’s medical history. Certain diagnostic tests such as a microscopic examination of deep skin scrapings will be taken to rule out other disorders and confirm the diagnosis.

Help for Hot Spots

Treatment involves treating the underlying cause and drying the area of the hot spot. Your vet will clip the hair around the lesion to allow air to flow through and then clean the affected area with a non-irritating solution followed with an application of cream or ointment to promote healing.

Depending on your pet’s levels of sensitivity, this procedure may have to be done under sedation. More severe episodes of hot spots will be treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or painkillers. To prevent your pet from scratching the affected area an Elizabethan collar may be placed around his neck or socks put on the hind feet.

More Information on Hot Spots

Tips to prevent hot spots

There are a number of ways to prevent episodes of hot spots on dogs and cats and these include:

  • Feed your pet an all natural diet without preservatives, additives or colorants
  • Keep your pet well groomed by ensuring that his hair is clipped or shaved short, especially during summer
  • Brush dogs with thick coats daily
  • Bathe your pet regularly with a medicated shampoo
  • Apply a flea repellent regularly on your pet to ward off fleas and ticks
  • Avoid exposing your pet to irritants such as pollen, smoke, household detergents, fertilizer or pesticides
  • Clean your home thoroughly by vacuuming carpets and dusting furniture to ease both you and your pet’s respiratory allergies
  • Keep your pet’s living area clean by disinfecting regularly
  • If your pet is prone to hot spots around the ears, clean the ears regularly and if near the anal glands , express anal glands
  • Always provide fresh, clean water to cleanse the body’s system and avoid dehydration
  • Detox your pet regularly to get rid of unwanted toxins
.tinymce-seo h1, .tinymce-seo h2, .tinymce-seo h3, .tinymce-seo h4, .tinymce-seo h5, .tinymce-seo h6 { font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; color: inherit; padding: 10px 0; } .well h4 { color: white; margin-bottom: 1em; } .well a { font-weight: bold; color: white; text-decoration: underline; } .well p{ margin-bottom: .5em; } .well__content { text-align: left; } .category.text-center{ width: 100% }