Hot Spots (Pyotraumatic Dermatitis/Acute Moist Dermatitis)
Pyotraumatic dermatitis is an acute, rapidly developing surface bacterial skin infection that occurs as a result of self-inflicted trauma. These lesions are created when the animal licks, chews, scratches and rubs a focal area of skin in response to an itchy (pruritic), painful stimulus. Because the lesions are warm to the touch, they are often called “hot spots.” It is usually a seasonal problem that becomes more common when the weather is hot and humid, and fleas are the most common irritating stimulus. Hot spots are common in dogs, especially in thick-coated, long-haired breeds. They are rarely seen in cats.
- The lesions appear as hot, red and moist areas. They occur most frequently on the trunk, tail base, lateral thigh, neck and face.
- Some hair loss over the area may be noticed.
- Intense itching (pruritus), which quickly makes the lesions worse and very painful.
Treatment and Outcome:
- The underlying cause should be identified and treated.
- Carefully clip the hair from the lesions to expose the “normal” edges of the lesion. If lesions are large, consider using sedation.
- The lesion will be sore, so gentle cleansing with a medicated shampoo such as VET BASICS™ ChlorConazole Shampoo, VET BASICS™ Pramoxine HCl Anti Itch Shampoo, VET BASICS™ Sebo 3 2 2 Shampoo, or KetoChlor® is important.
- Apply topical medications, such as VET BASICS™ ChlorConazole Spray or VET BASICS™ Pramoxine HCl Anti Itch Spray to lesions twice daily. Use VET BASICS™ ChlorConazole Wipes for skin folds or hard-to-spray areas. Avoid medications that will dry or sting, because this will draw attention to the site and increase self-trauma from licking or rubbing. Alcohol-containing products should also be avoided.
- If pruritus is mild, a topical analgesic such as ResiCORT® Leave-On Lotion, Oatmeal & Baking Soda Shampoo & Conditioner, Allercaine Spray or a cream or solution that contains corticosteroids should also be applied.
- Treat the original disease that induced the self-trauma to the skin (fleas, allergy). The outcome is much better if the underlying cause can be corrected or controlled.
- If the cause of the hot spots is fleas, aggressive flea control should be initiated.
- Lesions may be slow to heal, but gentle cleansing of the area on a daily basis will speed recovery.
- Owners should wash their hands after treating an infected animal to prevent contamination with Staphylococcus. Although human infections are rare, the microorganism could present a danger to owners who are immunosuppressed.
- If the lesion is around the neck, you can use a collar to prevent further damage from licking. Collars include the Recova Clear Collar, Ejay Bite Free Collar or the Ejay Check Collar.
- Keeping long coats well groomed also helps prevent hot spots.
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of a qualified veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.
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