Hot Spots: Not as cool as they sound

Although the name “hot spot” sounds like a great new restaurant in Oceanside or perhaps the new nightclub in downtown San Diego, unfortunately a hot spot is actually quite painful and unpleasant. Just like the trendy new nightclub, a hot spot on your pet can seemingly appear out of nowhere.

What is a hot spot?

A hot spot, or moist eczema, is essentially a sore on your pet. They can range in size, shape, and location. The cause of hot spots can vary, but basically anything that irritates or opens the skin, leaving it exposed to bacteria, can start a hot spot.

The initial irritant can then be exacerbated by:

A common spot for hot spots, under the ear, this pup knows first hand how uncomfortable a hot spot can be. This pup’s parents acted fast and the pup is receiving care from the PAH doctors and staff.

  • Licking
  • Biting
  • Scratching
  • Rubbing against something sharp or further irritating

Once the hot spot is started, the hair around the area will work to trap moisture and allow the infection to worsen. Hot spots can be extremely painful to your pet and do require treatment to help alleviate.


Treatment of hot spots:

The level of treatment needed will also vary pet to pet and hot spot to hot spot. In general, your veterinarian will take the following steps to help your pet’s hot spot heal.

  1. Shave away the hair in the area. Removing the excess hair will help to lessen the moisture in the area, and help keep the infection from worsening
  2. Clean the wound and surrounding area. To help stop and prevent further infection, an antiseptic will be used.
  3. If the hotspot may have been associated with something itchy, such as a fleabite, your veterinarian will give your pet medications to help stop the itching and kill the fleas.
  4. Using a cone may be necessary to help keep your pet from itching, biting, or scratching at the area.
  5. Monitor the area, give the medications and ensure that it is not worsening. If at any point the wound appears to be growing or worsening, see a doctor immediately. Remember, a wound of any type or size is painful, even if your pet appears to act normally.


Hot spots are very painful and can worsen quickly. If you think your pet has developed a hot spot, please call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Valentine’s Day With Your Favorite Furry Love

So we may be a day late in chatting about Valentine’s Day but St. Patrick and his clovers can wait a little longer!  If you haven’t already shared in the festivities with your furry love, now is your chance. Go grab your pet and cuddle up for some great holiday reading. We normally spend holidays warning you of the dangers holidays bring and the awful things that can happen to your pet, but this holiday is all about love and so are we!


How to show your pet how much you love them:

For the dopy dog this will be easy, wake up and acknowledge they exist. Not surprisingly, their undying love for you will continue on. If your pet is a bit more discerning you may have to do a little work.

  • Pet them in all the right places. Cats and dogs have special spots that they love to be petted. Although each pet will vary to some extent, you can generally assume the following applies:
  • Watch movies with animal noises. Spend your Valentine’s weekend curled up watching a rom-com starring a special furry actor or actress (Marly and Me  or the recent internet sensation The Notebark anyone?). The sounds of other pets will likely perk your own pet’s interest and you may even find that they watch the movie right along with you.
  • Take a romantic stroll along the beach.  San Diego is the perfect spot for seaside romance, and why not share some of that love with your pup. Although not recommend this for cats, your dog will surely love the chance to romp in the water while you enjoy the setting sun. You may even find human love while you stroll along…

Whatever you end up doing with your furry valentine, we hope it involves lots of love and we wish everyone a safe and happy Valentine’s Weekend!

If you are totally bummed that we did not go into lengthy details about how to keep your pet safe on Valentine’s Day, be sure to check out the ASPCA’s pet-friendly Valentine’s day guide.

Start Talking: Conversations to have when thinking about adopting a new pet

Dogs join families in all kinds of ways. Sierra is just one of many adult dogs who found a new home this year.

The joy of adding a new pet to be your family is one of life’s greatest experiences. In a crazy economy, mixed up politics and stressful family lives, pets can actually bring a cohesive and loving touch. So if you want to add a little unconditional love and lots

of fun at home, a new pet may just be what the doctor ordered.Millions of new pets find their ways into our hearts and homes each year. Studies show pets are a very positive addition to families or singles and even empty nesters! Pets relieve stress, add joy and give us love unconditionally.

Whether you are planning to or already have picked out your new friend at a breeder or you’ve rescued a pet in need of a great home, all pets have requirements that you must know before bringing them home.

  • Plan ahead
    • Your pet will have needs ranging from what food your pet will need to which vaccines are necessary. Preparing for the day to day needs, like food and playtime, plus the on-going needs, like vaccines and preventive care will save you lots of headache in the future. At your first visit to the doctor (which we recommend be within a day or two of coming home) talk with your doctor about food options, basic pet needs, and start asking the bigger questions (such as how to potty train your new baby).
  • Prepare for Preventative Care
    • Regardless of age, every pet will have preventative care needs. Whether new owners are trying to save money or they were told “all his shots are done”, inadequate preventive care dooms many young animals to suffer some terrible diseases. Feline distemper, canine parvovirus, heartworm disease and severe intestinal parasite infestations are just a few of the serious

      Dr. Picht with a recently found puppy that was wondering the street. The person who brought the puppy in was going to take him over to the Humane Society so he could find a forever home.

      medical problems seen routinely at our hospital and others.

  • Get your pet on the right diet
    • It’s easy to become confused by the many brands, flavors, and styles of pet food – all claiming they are best. When looking for a proper diet, please ask the advice of your PAH doctor. Also look for companies that make a real effort to help consumers understand our pets’ nutritional needs. A food company’s website is also a great source of information about what is in their food.
  • Seek Advice
    • We are here to help. If you have questions, concerns, or just flat out need help, we are here for you and no question is too small. Education is one of the best ways to save money and heartache. By getting advice about vaccines and preventive care you are becoming an empowered pet owner and are more readily able to help your pet live a healthy life. Although Internet sites and forums might seem like great places for education, many sites provide poor advice and even wrong information.

Cats also have special needs to be considered. If a cat may be your next family member also consider where they will be allowed to stretch and scratch, as this is often time done on furniture if no where else is provided.

  • Talk about behavior
    • Decide with your family what pet behaviors will be tolerated. Will your dog be allowed on the couch? Can the cat scratch anything it wants? Addressing these questions from day 0 will help prepare your whole family for the task ahead. At times it can feel like it takes a village to raise a pet. The more you talk about what is expected of the pet, the easier it will be to start training right away. There are also many options for training pets. The San Diego Humane Society, for instance offers dog obedience classes, as do several other local business (Whole Dog Sports, for instance).
    • Behavioral problems are a leading cause for relinquishment and even euthanasia of pets. By spending some time working with your new pet through obedience and socialization classes, you can help prevent life-long issues. Having the right toys and providing plenty of play time with the family is another great way to have a behaviorally healthy pet.

When considering to add a new member to your family be sure your family is ready. It can be a lot of work bringing a new pet into the house.

These are just a few tips to get you thinking about all that is involved with introducing a new pet into the family. Seeking the advice of your PAH doctor is an excellent first step to adopting a pet. If you have any questions about adopting a new family member orneed to schedule that very important first exam, please give us a call 760-757-2442, send us an email or contact us through our website, we are happy to answer any questions or set up a time for your family to come in.