May 17, 2017
While your family’s dog is likely to go through life with minimal health issues, the unexpected will happen. For instance, when dogs receive a cut or a wound, they have an increased risk for developing an infection. One infection to look out for in particular, pyoderma, is a bacterial skin infection that is fairly common in dogs and cats. Skin pustules (pus-filled, inflamed swelling) and lesions, as well as limited hair loss in a few cases, are characteristics of the infection. While it may sound like a scary condition, pyoderma does have a good prognosis. Treatment largely involves topical medication, and the same can be said for cats that develop pyoderma as well.
Pyoderma can take root on the outer layers of the skin or even in the lower folds if a laceration is deep enough. The deeper infection is subsequently termed “deep pyoderma.” In addition to lesions, pustules, and potential hair loss, symptoms include itchiness, crusted skin, and dried discharge from the affected area.
This infection can affect any dog breed, but there are some breeds more predisposed to pyoderma. This includes short-haired German Shepherds, breeds that have pressure calluses, breeds that have skin folds, and dogs that have developed staphylococcus intermedius. Dogs are also more vulnerable to developing pyoderma if they have an endocrine disease like hyperthyroidism, a fungal infection, or allergies to food ingredients, fleas, or parasites like the demodex mite.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Most pyoderma cases are inspected superficially and then treated accordingly. If the infection seems to be deeper into the skin, veterinarians may perform skin biopsies, skin scrapings, and an inspection of bacterial cells (a smear) to check if the infection resulted from a more concerning medical condition.
Typically, pyoderma responds well to treatment. Often, it is done outpatient and involves antibiotics and topical medications, which Manuka honey can be used in addition to. Antibiotic treatment is often prescribed for over one month to guarantee the whole infection is removed. This should reduce the likelihood of a recurrence of the infection.
Management and Prevention
In some cases, there are complications where bacteria spreads into the bloodstream. So, it’s crucial that pet owners observe their dog's recovery and notify their vet if any other symptoms progress or the dog’s condition worsens. Also, routinely bathing the dog’s wounds in benzoyl peroxide or similar medicated shampoos could reduce the initial infection and even help to later prevent recurrence.
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