Hot spots can affect both cats and dogs, but generally, we see them on dogs with more dense undercoats.
A hot spot starts when your pet licks or scratches an area obsessively. The reason for the licking/biting/scratching can vary, flea/insect bites, allergic reactions, wounds/scrapes, matted hair and excessive moisture are some examples. The area becomes irritated and moist and becomes a breeding ground for infection. Pus can be present and cause a sticky matted mess on the area. If you notice a hot spot developing on your pet, the best course of action is to get them into your veterinarian quickly to get treatment. The earlier a spot is caught, the less chance it has in becoming a bigger problem.
Once your pet has been examined and is diagnosed with Pyotraumatic Dermatitis, treatment is started immediately in-clinic. This usually involves shaving the area and cleaning it well with antibacterial soap. This will help the veterinarian determine how large the area affected is. It also helps to allow topical treatment to be applied, as well as allowing air to get to the skin, which aids in the healing process. Topical treatment is usually prescribed and is sometimes accompanied by oral or injectable medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory/pain medications and corticosteroids. Depending on the location of the spot, you may need to get an e-collar or look into other ways to keep your pet from getting at the site. Talk to your veterinary team about how to prevent your dog from getting at the area, they should have some good tips/creative ideas for you.
Written by Jakki Papp, Clinic Manager