Pyoderma in Dogs and Cats
What Is Pyoderma?
Pyoderma is a skin infection caused by bacteria, fungi, or parasites. Most commonly, it is a bacterial infection of the skin. Pyoderma, which literally means “pus in the skin,” is a common issue in dogs and less common in cats. The infection can occur on the superficial layers of the skin, while deep wounds may lead to infections in the inner folds of the skin (deep pyoderma).
Symptoms of Pyoderma in Dogs & Cats
There are a variety of symptoms of pyoderma in dogs and cats, including:
- • Red skin
- • Crusted skin
- • Itchiness
- • Small, raised lesions
- • Excessive scaling
- • Welts
- • Scabbing
- • Alopecia (loss of hair)
- • Odor
- • Pustules (pus-filled blister/pimple)
Causes of Pyoderma in Dogs & Cats
Skin fold pyoderma in dogs and cats develops in skin folds, such as facial folds, lip folds, armpits, and neck folds. These warm, moist areas on the skin cause normal bacteria on the skin to multiply, increasing the risk for infection. Face fold pyoderma and lip fold pyoderma are both common infections in pets.
Pyoderma can also occur when the skin is disrupted, which can happen through a cut or wound, flea bite, or other irritation. When the skin becomes irritated, pets often scratch or chew at the area. This causes further damage and irritation, which disrupts the natural balance of healthy skin bacteria, allowing yeast and bacteria to grow. The constant itching and irritation eventually lead to an infection called pyoderma.
Pets with endocrine disorders (Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism), cancer, or allergies have a higher risk of developing a skin infection. Dog breeds that are predisposed to developing pyoderma include breeds with skin folds (French Bulldogs, Bulldogs, Shar-Peis, and Boston Terriers), American Cocker Spaniels, and Pit Bulls. Cats with skin folds, short coats, pressure calluses, and Pasteurella multocida are also predisposed to developing pyoderma.
How to Treat Pyoderma in Dogs & Cats
If you suspect that your dog or cat might have pyoderma, it’s best to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The veterinarian will be able to select the right treatment and check to see if there is a more serious underlying medication condition. An effective treatment plan will include addressing and treating the underlying cause.
Many treatment plans include cleaning the infected area, applying a topical medication, administering oral antibiotics, and using an antifungal medication if yeast is present. Bathing your pet with a medicated or antibacterial shampoo will help remove bacteria and scales while also reducing itching and oiliness. A medicated shampoo like MicoChlor Plus Shampoo will help soothe irritated, itchy skin as well as descale and degrease the skin.
Preventing Pyoderma in Dogs & Cats
For some pets, pyoderma will be a recurrent issue throughout their lives. For this reason, it’s important to take steps to prevent future infections. One key to prevention is managing the underlying cause, which will vary from pet to pet. For example, if your pet has allergies, managing those allergies will help reduce the likelihood of a skin infection. Changing your pet’s diet, following a flea and tick prevention plan, and using medicated shampoos may be helpful, as well.
Proper hygiene is essential for preventing pyoderma. Skin folds should be cleaned out on a daily basis with a damp cloth or medicated wipe. Using an antibacterial skin flush like MicoChlor Plus Flush can help maintain healthy skin by preventing the growth of microorganisms on your pet’s skin. Keeping your pet well-groomed and bathing your pet on a regular basis will also help prevent skin infections.
Pyoderma may be a common skin condition in pets, but taking the right steps to prevent an infection can go a long way!
The materials and information provided on this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your veterinarian or other pet healthcare professional. Consult your own veterinarian if you have medical questions concerning diagnosis, treatment, therapy, or medical attention.