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Hot Spots Treatment

Dogs and cats of any breed or age can develop hot spots, inflamed and infected patches of skin that are also known as ‘moist dermatitis’. Although hot spots are not life-threatening, they can cause your pet considerable pain and discomfort, and if left untreated can result in damage to the skin. Hot spots can develop very quickly – even within a few hours – so treating them without delay will prevent prolonged infection and skin trauma.

Treating the hot spot

It is important to remember that the hot spot itself is caused by your pet continually licking, biting or scratching a particular area of skin. Relieving discomfort for your dog or cat will mean preventing them from touching the area, then healing the traumatized skin.

Clean the skin

By cleaning the skin and the area around the hot spot you will be able to get a good idea of the scope of the damage, but you will also be promoting healing. Hot spots are worse in humid areas, or on dogs with heavy undercoats, so letting air get to the wound can be beneficial. It is recommended you cut or shave the hair around the problem area, then clean the skin carefully with an antibacterial spray or shampoo.

Stop the itch

If the skin is still itchy, your pet will want to scratch it, preventing the hot spot from healing. Ideally you will want to determine the underlying cause of the itching, but initially, you can use an anti-itch spray or cortisone ointment to provide some relief. Alternatively, you can use a ‘cone of shame’ to prevent your pet from being able to lick or bite the hot spot.

Treat the damaged skin

Once the skin has been disinfected and the itching stopped, it’s time to work on healing the traumatized skin. Daily cleaning and application of antibacterial products will allow the skin to heal naturally. Depending on the severity of the damage, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to help clear infection.

Keep your pet healthy

The healthier your dog or cat, the more rapidly they will be able to fight off infection and recover from any damage to their skin. A good diet and sufficient exercise are a good start to all-round health, but you can provide additional boosts with supplements that promote digestive health or liver function.

Identifying the cause

Although the steps above will help to heal a particular hot spot, without identifying the underlying cause, you are putting your pet at risk of recurring skin problems.

Some of the most common triggers for hot spots are:

Your vet will help you to pin down the exact trigger of your pet’s skin problems and can help you to prevent them from returning. Where parasites or bacteria are the cause, your vet may prescribe a medicated antiparasitic or antibiotics.

Hot Spots Treatment

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