Pyoderma in dogs is a skin infection in dogs caused by bacteria. It’s most often the result of other disorders that weaken the skin. The skin’s barrier function becomes compromised, diminishing protection against pathogens and the capacity to defend against aggressions.
This occurs because bacteria multiply on the animal’s skin, triggering different symptoms in the animal. These bacteria generally belong to the Staphylococcus genus (Staphylococcus pseudintermedius).
Canine pyoderma is classified according to factors such as the depth of involvement of the stratum corneum in pseudopyoderma, superficial pyoderma and deep pyoderma.
- Pseudopyoderma is caused by an increase in the bacterial colonisation of the stratum corneum of the epidermis, but doesn’t involve episodes of pus; this class includes pyotraumatic dermatitis, skin fold dermatitis and mucocutaneous pyoderma.
- Superficial pyoderma is the most common type in dogs. The infection is located on the epidermis and its appendages and bacterial growth occurs within the epidermal strata or in the hair follicle. The most frequent symptoms are pustules, areas of alopecia or epidermal collarettes.
- Deep pyoderma is a penetrating skin infection, affecting the deeper areas reaching the dermis and at times the hypodermis. Common clinical symptoms are a high temperature, pustules larger than superficial pyodermas, purulent fistulas, nodules, extensive alopecia and haemorrhagic bullae.
In all three types the disease causes itching in the animal, leading to constant skin scratching and alopecia, i.e. hair loss, which can vary in extension. Alopecia is caused by the animal scratching and follicular disorders. Also common are scabs and a bad smell coming from the animal’s skin.
PREDISPOSING CAUSES OF PYODERMA
- Allergies: allergies weaken the skin of the animal, making it more likely to suffer diseases. Thus, environmental allergy, also known as atopy, is often accompanied by pyoderma.
- Parasites: parasites such as demodex, a mite that lodges in the hair follicles and damages the skin, can also promote the process.
- Low defences: this can have several causes, such as glucocorticoid therapy.
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
The disease is diagnosed by a vet through a study of the dog’s skin cells (CYTOLOGY), although sometimes a biopsy and laboratory analysis may be required.
Once the disease has been diagnosed, the vet will prescribe an oral antibiotic treatment.
The duration of the treatment is key to curing pyoderma. Depending on the type of infection, the treatment duration will vary – a month for superficial cases and a month and a half for deep pyoderma. Furthermore, in the case of deep pyoderma, the treatment must be continued for two weeks after the symptoms disappear.
This must also be complemented with a pyoderma shampoo for dogs, i.e. a specific shampoo. This will boost the results.
HYGIENE AND NUTRITION TIPS
Including fatty acids in the diet can aid skin recovery and help to control symptoms; however, the best remedy is following suitable hygiene habits. Worming, feeding, bathing and grooming are recommended.
These steps will ensure the dog is well protected against this disease.