Pyoderma in Cats (Bacterial Skin Infection, Pus in the Skin)

Overview of Bacterial Skin Infection in Cats

Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the skin. Pyoderma can be divided into surface pyodermas (infection on the skin surface), superficial pyoderma (infection within the skin) or deep pyoderma (infection under the skin).

The health impact from pyoderma can range from mild with superficial pyoderma to severe with deep pyoderma. Superficial and surface pyodermas can cause intense itching leading to discomfort. The underlying cause of the pyoderma may also have a negative health impact on the cat, depending on the disease.

Pyoderma can be caused by underlying allergies to food, fleas or other things in the environment, and/or immune-medicated diseases.

The most common bacteria causing pyoderma is Stapylococcus pseudointermedius.

Deep bacterial infections are more common in outdoor cats. Cats are predisposed to pyoderma in warm humid environments.

What to Watch For with Pyoderma

Any of these should trigger a visit to your veterinarian:

Diagnosis of Feline Pyoderma

Diagnostic tests may include:

Treatment for Feline Pyoderma

Treatment may include:

Home Care and Prevention for Pyoderma

Give all medications as instructed. Even if lesions clear up early, antibiotics should be given until all medications are finished. Observe your cat for draining lesions.

Some causes of pyoderma are not preventable, but the presence of fleas can worsen pyoderma. The best prevention is to follow a complete flea control program as recommended by your veterinarian. In addition, keep your cat clean and brushed free of mats.

In-depth Information on Feline Bacterial Skin Infections

Surface Pyoderma

Superficial Pyoderma

Deep Pyoderma

Diagnosis In-depth for Skin Infection in Cats

Your veterinarian will take a thorough medical history and examine all body systems. Other medical tests will be necessary to establish the diagnosis.

If itching is suspected, the following tests may be done to determine the source of the problem:

In cases where superficial pyoderma is suspected to be caused by immune suppression and in all cases of deep pyoderma, tests are needed to look for the cause of the immune deficiency. Examples include:

Treatment In-depth for Skin Infection in Cats

Treatment for pyoderma involves treatment of the underlying cause and elimination of the resulting infection.

Home Care for Skin Infection in Cats

Optimal treatment for your cat requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your cat does not improve rapidly.

Most cases of surface and superficial pyoderma respond well to the therapy outlined above and therefore require little follow–up, unless the case is recurrent or never resolves. Deep pyoderma requires regular recheck exams to monitor for progress.

Be sure to administer all prescribed medication as directed, and alert your veterinarian if you are experiencing problems treating your cat. Antibiotics can have side effects that may require the antibiotic to be stopped temporarily or to be changed to a different medication. The most common side effects are related to irritation of the stomach and intestines. Thus, vomiting or diarrhea may occur. More severe drug reactions may occur but are uncommon. Be sure to let your veterinarian know if any new symptoms occur with antibiotic therapy.

Prognosis for Pyoderma in Cats

The prognosis for pyoderma is good with appropriate therapy. Identification and treatment of the underlying factors causing the pyoderma is essential.