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Bacterial Infection (Pyoderma) of the Skin in Cats

Pyoderma in Cats

When a cat's skin is cut or wounded, there is an increased risk of infection. Pyoderma refers to a bacterial infection of the skin that is generally uncommon in cats. Lesions and pustules (inflamed pus-filled swelling) on the skin, and in some cases partial hair loss, often characterize the infection. Treatment is typically given on an outpatient basis and prognosis is good.

The condition described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn how pyoderma affects dogs, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

  • Alopecia
  • Itchiness
  • Small, raised lesions
  • Pustule(s)
  • Crusted skin
  • Dried discharge in affected area

The infection can occur on the superficial layers of the cat's skin, or if there is a deep laceration, in the inner folds of the skin. The latter infection is referred to as deep pyoderma.

Causes

While this bacterial infection can occur in any cat breed, there are a few types that are predisposed to developing pyoderma, including those with:

  • Short coats
  • Skin folds
  • Pressure calluses
  • Pasturella multocida

Cats have a higher risk of developing an infection when they have a fungal infection or an endocrine disease such as hyperthyroidism, or have allergies to fleas, food ingredients, or parasites such as Demodex.

Diagnosis

In most cases, the condition will be examined on a superficial basis and treated accordingly. In the event that the pyoderma appears to be deeper in the cat's skin, skin scrapings, skin biopsies and an examination of bacterial cells (smear) may be performed to see if the condition is a result of a more serious underlying medical condition.

 
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