Hot Spots - What are they?

Recently at Goodna Vet, we have seen multiple cases of animals with hot spots. While they are more prevalent during the summer, they can occur year-round and cause your pet tremendous discomfort.

So what is a hot spot?

Hotspots are areas of red, moist or inflamed skin that can be found on your pet where ever they can reach with their mouth or feet — including the head, neck, back, legs and feet. Hotspots, also known as acute dermatitis, can also be represented by lesions, scabs and localised loss of hair. Most importantly, hotspots are enormously sensitive and irritating to your pet so they tend to lick, chew and scratch in an attempt to acquire momentary relief. Unfortunately, this activity tends to make the hotspots even more discomforting for your pet.

What causes hotspots? Hotspots can result from virtually anything that irritates your pet’s skin. Some examples of underlying causes include:

  • Flea bites or flea allergies

  • Parasites such as mites and scabies

  • Allergic reactions to contact irritants

  • Ear or skin infections

  • Poor grooming or excessive hair matting (mostly in longer-haired pets)

  • Food allergies

  • Inflamed anal sacs

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Post-grooming/bathing irritations

  • Stress or even boredom

Healthy skin is the key to preventing hot spots! If your animal has a thick, heavy coat, groom them regularly to prevent their coat from matting.

Of course, you should ensure that you’re adhering to your pet’s flea/pest treatment regimen. During the hot months, you may also consider trimming or clipping your pet’s hair. And be sure to fully dry your pet after a bath, swimming or being caught in a rainstorm.

Perhaps the best way to avoid hotspots is to observe your pet. If they scratch or bite regularly, you should pay particular attention to the target area — looking for insects, bites or potential sources of skin irritation from the environment. The objective is to understand and treat the issue before it becomes a painful hotspot.

If you notice any of the above signs or if your pet develops a hot spot make an appointment with your vet. They will be able to help out.

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