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Bacterial Infection (Pyoderma) of the Skin in Dogs

Pyoderma in Dogs

When a dog's skin is cut or wounded, there is an increased risk of infection. Pyoderma refers to a bacterial infection of the skin that is very common in dogs. 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 cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

  • Itchiness
  • Pustules
  • Crusted skin
  • Small, raised lesions
  • Loss of hair (alopecia)
  • Dried discharge in affected area

The infection can occur on the superficial layers of the dog'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 breed, there are a few types that are predisposed to developing pyoderma, including:

Dogs 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 dog'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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