Could Your Dog or Cat Have Hot Spots?

Acute moist dermatitis is a skin condition in dogs and cats that develops in response to bacteria and moisture. It’s more commonly known as hot spots. If your dog has this common problem, you will probably notice him biting, licking, or scratching the area to make it feel better. This doesn’t work and can make the hot spot even more uncomfortable. Allergies to outdoor allergens, grooming products, fleas and less commonly food are common causes of hot spots, as are bites from a tick.
Hot Spots
Although your dog or cat can get hot spots any time of year, they’re more prevalent in the summer months. Animals get overheated too, but they don’t sweat like we do. This creates a moist and warm environment for bacteria to develop and grow. We encourage you to stick to a consistent grooming schedule for your pet as this can help you detect hot spots sooner or even prevent them in the first place. 
How to Know if Your Pet Has Hot Spots
In addition to intense biting, licking, or scratching mentioned above, dogs and cats with hot spots typically exhibit some of these symptoms:
  • Red, scaly, or raised scabs
  • Skin around the hot spot appears red or brown
  • Unexplained swelling
  • Unpleasant odor coming from a specific area on your pet’s body
  • Oozing or pus-filled sores
Please contact us for an immediate evaluation if you notice some or all of these symptoms. We also check for hot spots during your pet’s routine physical examination.

Hot Spot Treatment and Prevention
Regular grooming and practicing year-round parasite protection are both essential to prevent hot spots. Matted fur attracts moisture and parasites, so be sure to keep it combed and free of knots. Occasionally, a pet develops hot spots due to biting, licking, and scratching caused by a behavioral concern rather than having moisture and bacteria on the skin. We can help you whether the cause is a medical or behavioral one.

When the staff at Cedar Pet Clinic Lake Elmo notice a hot spot on your dog or cat, we trim the fur surrounding it and use a mild anesthetic to clean in. We may prescribe cortisone cream for pets who can’t seem to stop itching. We can also recommend parasite prevention and grooming products to help you keep your pet as comfortable as possible this summer. After all, it’s a short season and we want to see both of you enjoy it. 
Image Credit:  dimirek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

After-Hours Emergencies

After Hours Veterinary Care
1014 Dale Street North
St. Paul, MN 55117
(Inside Como Park Animal Hospital just north of downtown St. Paul)
24-hour care for multiple species

Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1163 Helmo Avenue N
Oakdale, MN 55128


Animal Emergency & Referral Center of MN
1542 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55012
(located 2 blocks east of 35E)