Since we moved to our Branson location in 2011, we have encountered hot spots on some of the tigers. The hot spots cause hair loss and itchy skin, which can be very bothersome to the affected animal. Interestingly, the hot spots have only affected one litter of tigers (Max, Paul, and Dee) and only appear in the spring. That has led us to believe that the siblings may be predisposed to have an allergic reaction to something in the environment that is prominent in spring time.
We were shocked this January when we discovered a hot spot about the size of a quarter on one of the siblings, Max. The winter in our area has been unseasonably warm, with January temperatures reaching nearly 70 degrees (usual high temps in the 40s). This has stimulated many plants to begin spring growth much earlier than normal, and we suspect that could be correlated with the early appearance of a hot spot.
In past years, we have treated the hot spots with oral antihistamines, antibiotics, and even steroids in some cases. The first year the spots appeared, they were very small and mild, but they have gotten worse every year since.
We always begin treatment immediately after a hot spot appears to prevent the condition from worsening.
This year, we wanted to take an even more aggressive treatment approach by trying a long-acting, injectable steroid (coupled with an oral antibiotic to prevent possible infection). Unfortunately, not a lot is known about hot spots in tigers so many treatment plans have to be developed through trial and error. Fortunately, the steroid injection provided Max with nearly immediate relief from the itching, and the redness quickly faded from the area. Before we knew it the spot was healed! Now we know the injectable steroid is a great resource to quickly resolve future hot spots.