Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

(Acute Moist Dermatitis, Hot Spots)

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.

Clinical Signs:

  • 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 Doc Roy’s Medicated Shampoo or Hexadene Shampoo is important.
  • Apply topical medications to lesions twice daily. 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.

Reminders:

  • 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 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.

Return to Articles


Need Help?
Call us at 1-800-786-4751
Sign up to receive Revival Animal Health's Emails Request a catalog from Revival Animal Health Enter Revival Animal Heatlh's Calendar Contest
Here with Answers For You

For over twenty years, Revival Animal Health has been caring for people who care for pets by delivering quality, reliable products, along with customer service that's committed to your needs. Owners, breeders and shelters count on us because we too love pets, and provide the knowledge, understanding and genuine care it takes to keep them happy and healthy. We feel this is truly what it means to serve you with Pet Care from the Heart®.

Customer Service:
Monday - Friday    7 am - 7 pm CST
Saturday    8 am - 4 pm CST
Connect With Us:
Like us on Facebook  Facebook       Follow us on Pinterest  Pinterest       Find us on Google Plus  Google+
© 2014 Revival Animal Health