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

Overview of Canine Pyoderma

Pyoderma is a common bacterial infection of the skin in dogs. 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). Pyoderma is a common condition in dogs.

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 dog, depending on the disease.

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

The most common bacteria causing pyoderma is Stapylococcus pseudointermedius.

Dogs are predisposed to pyoderma in warm humid environments.

What to Watch For

Any of these should trigger a visit to your veterinarian:

Diagnosis of Pyoderma in Dogs

Diagnostic tests for pyoderma may include:

Treatment of Pyoderma in Dogs

Treatment may include topical therapy and antibiotic therapy:

Home Care and Prevention

Give all medications as instructed. Even if lesions clear up early, antibiotics should be given until all medications are finished. Observe your dog 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 dog clean and brushed free of mats.

In-depth Information on Pyoderma in Dogs

Pyoderma in dogs can be on the surface, superficial or deep. Below is information on all three types of canine pyoderma.

Surface Pyoderma

Superficial Pyoderma

Deep Pyoderma

Diagnosis In-depth for Pyoderma in Dogs

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:

Severe, chronic illnesses, such as cancer, can suppress the immune system.

Treatment In-depth for Pyoderma in Dogs

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

Follow-up Care for Dogs with Pyoderma

Optimal treatment for your dog requires a combination of home and professional veterinary care. Follow-up can be critical, especially if your dog 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 dog. 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 Dogs

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