Hot Spots on Cats

Hot spots on cats are actually a medical condition called acute moist dermatitis. This is essentially a mild skin infection that leaves parts of your pet's skin feeling warm and moist. It can be uncomfortable or painful for your pet, and left untreated these infections can spread. In some cases, hot spots can also be caused by fleas or mites as well. It's essential that you react quickly when your pet has a hot spot, as he is likely to begin to chew, bite, or paw at it, which will only make the situation worse and the hot spot more painful for him.

Symptoms of Cat Hot Spots

Hot spots on cats are characterized by a few easily recognizable symptoms. They most often occur in cats with longer hair and thick, dense coats. However, they may come about on any type of cat and at any age. The symptoms of a hot spot that you should look out for include:

  • Open lesions on the skin
  • Bleeding or pus discharge from the skin
  • Moist skin
  • Inflammation or redness
  • Loss of hair
  • Changes of behavior including increased biting, chewing, or picking at the area

Because of the great potential for your cat to make his hot spots more serious and painful than they are, you should report any of these symptoms to your vet as soon as possible. This will help you to treat the condition as quickly as you can.

Diagnosing and Treating Hot Spots on Cats

Depending upon where your pet's hot spot is, it will likely be caused by different things. Your vet will first need to determine that the hot spot is not related to another type of skin infection or disease. He can usually do this by taking a small blood sample or a tissue sample from the area and having it tested in the lab. Hot spots can otherwise usually be identified by sight alone.

The treatment of your pet's hot spot involves multiple steps. The primary goal of treatment is to heal your pet's open sores so that he doesn't continue to exacerbate the problem. A variety of skin ointments and other topical medications can help to do this. You'll likely need to shave off any remaining hair surrounding the hot spot in order to do this.

Additional treatment programs will depend upon the cause of the hot spot. For instance, a hot spot in the ear that is caused by an ear infection will require that you address the ear infection directly. Oftentimes, antibiotics are used to help either address an underlying infection or to prevent infection from occurring. Finally, if the hot spot is caused by fleas or mites, you'll need to discuss potential ways of removing these parasites from your pet's body and from your home with your vet.

Hot spots, while not serious or life threatening conditions, are nonetheless painful and uncomfortable, and they can leave your pet susceptible to more severe infection. Treat them promptly to avoid any complications.