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Vet Talks: Hot Spots On Cats

Vet Talks 3 min read
Grey cat laying on an orange blanket on a grey couch licking its paw

Is your kitty excessively scratching, licking, and/or biting a specific area of their body? These symptoms can have a couple of different underlying causes and it can lead to a condition called acute moist dermatitis, also known as hot spots.

What Is A Hot Spot?

Hot spots on cats are inflamed skin lesions that are exacerbated by scratching licking and chewing, giving a vivid red color with fluid oozing from the skin infection in many cases. This condition has this popular name because the area infected gets hot due to the localized inflammation and skin infection.

Hot spots can grow very fast and become an open wound easily because of the self-trauma caused by the nonstop licking and scratching. The lesions can be very itchy and uncomfortable, and in many cases, they cause localized hair loss. Sometimes, the pet parent can also see that the hair is matted to the skin.

hot spots on cat's head

Causes Of Hot Spots On Cats

The fact that the kitten is licking, biting, and/or scratching a specific area can also indicate that they are feeling uncomfortable in that spot.

There are a couple of factors that can cause hot spots on cats like food allergies, environmental allergies, parasites (i.e. fleas, mites, mosquitoes, flies) infections, and discomfort. Cats with longer hair coats seem to be more prone to this condition, especially during warmer months when the weather is more humid.

The fact that the kitten is licking, biting, and/or scratching a specific area can also indicate that they are feeling discomfort in that spot. This could indicate some conditions like arthritis, for instance, so this should also be investigated by your vet. In most cases, however, hot spots are a consequence of an allergic reaction. 

Treatment For Hot Spots On Cats

It is essential to find out the main cause for the hot spot for effective treatment and to prevent recurrences as well. A veterinarian can correctly diagnose the cause of the hot spot in your kitten and indicate the appropriate course of treatment which may be through antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, shampoos, ointments, natural remedies, or a combination of both.

Commonly, the first step to start treating the hot spots is to make the kitten stop with self-mutilation. Options like using a cone (Elizabethan collar) should be considered for that so there is a barrier to protect the wounds while they heal. It’s very important not to cover the area with a bandage in order to avoid the proliferation of bacteria.

Clipping the hair away from the affected area is also recommended. After clipping, the lesion should be disinfected as well as the surrounding areas.

Preventing fleas, treating ear infections, and making sure your kitten is in a stress-free environment is very important as well.

orange cat scratching themselves

Natural Support For Cats With Hot Spots

Here at NHV, we recommend a natural supplement to support your kitten to fight this condition, depending on what is causing the hot spot.

If your vet identified the main cause as food allergies, changes in diet are essential. Tests with commercial hypoallergenic foods can be done, and if you want a natural approach with homemade food you can check our personalized veterinary nutrition plan. Our in-house vet, Dr. Amanda can create a nutrition plan taking into consideration your little one with food allergies.

Another suggestion would be Stimmune. It’s a herbal formula that helps support the immune system. It’s beneficial for autoimmune conditions, dermatitis (skin allergies), recurrent infections, and food allergies.

Petomega 3 is a great support as well. Studies have shown that pets given omega 3 fatty acids showed improvement in clinical signs of pruritus, self-trauma, coat character, and alopecia (loss of hair) mainly due to their natural anti-inflammatory effects.

You could also consider the Burns Healing Kit. This kit comes with Ouch Away that helps calm skin irritation and also promotes fur growth and All Clear Ointment that helps against bacterial infection and will help reduce redness and inflammation.

If you have any other questions about hot spots on cats, reach out to our pet experts by clicking the ‘chat with us’ button below. 

Dr. Aline Dias DVM

Dr. Aline Dias DVM

Dr. Aline Dias is a veterinary graduate from the Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil. She worked for five years with research in Bacteriology and Virology fields, but she found her true passion in feline medicine. As soon as Dr. Aline immigrated to Canada, she adopted two kittens: Chilli and Keke. Dr. Aline is now a full-time crazy cat lady and when she’s not working at NHV she spends her time spoiling her furbabies or going for walks at the beach.

Published: June 12, 2020

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