Pyoderma in Dogs: Diagnosis and Treatment

What is It?

Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles and surrounding skin.

What Causes It?

Pyoderma is very common in dogs. Skin patches that are left damp are breeding grounds for bacteria. The leading types of bacteria causing the condition include staphylococcus pseudintermedius (commonly known as staph infections), coagulase-negative staphylococci, streptococci, micrococcus species, and Acinetobacter.

The three types of pyoderma are classified by the depth of the infection-surface, superficial and deep. Parasites, yeast infections, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, allergies, diabetes, and cancer can all lead to pyoderma. 

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What Are The Symptoms?

Surface pyoderma affects the outermost skin only and not the hair follicles. This may appear as hot spots, red patches on skin, and redness in skin folds, discharge in folds, smelly and skin.

Superficial pyoderma affects the outermost part of the hair follicles and the surrounding skin. This may appear as red boils, pustules, bald spots, and skin discoloration.

Deep pyoderma affects deeper layers of skin. It may appear as painful spots, bad odor, oozing pus, and leaking or crusty blood.

Is it Life Threatening?

Deep pyoderma bacteria can enter the bloodstream and organs. Without treatment it can be fatal.

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How is It Diagnosed?

Between a medical history questionnaire and looking at the affected areas, a vet will likely be able to diagnose this condition. Additional tests may be performed to ascertain the root cause. These tests may include a skin culture, antibiotic sensitivity tests, fungal cultures, skin cytology, allergy testing, and blood tests. 

What Are The Treatments?

Antibiotics are prescribed for all types of pyoderma. The medication will depend on the exact infection and bacteria. Topical treatments are available for surface and superficial pyoderma. Deep pyoderma will need a course of oral medication to penetrate the bloodstream. Medication will be necessary for 7-20 days depending on severity.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pup’s condition, please make an appointment with your veterinarian. Or, consult a virtual vet here.

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