Bacterial Skin Diseases That Could Affect Your Dog or Cat

Bacterial skin diseases in dogs and cats fall under the pyodermas category. The infections can be in one spot or they can be located at numerous locations on the body; they can also be primary or secondary in nature. Pyodermas are further classified based on the depth of the tissue being affected, and can include surface pyoderma, superficial pyoderma, and deep pyoderma.

Pyodermas are usually caused by staphylococci, which is a type of bacteria that lives harmlessly on the surface of the skin. The skin only gets infected when frequent itching causes the skin to become compromised.

bacterial skin disease in pets

Signs and Symptoms of Surface Bacterial Skin Diseases

True to its name, surface pyoderma affects the surface of the skin. The most common types of surface pyoderma are acute moist dermatitis, also known as hotspots, and fold dermatitis. Surface pyoderma is most commonly diagnosed through clinical signs like pustules, papules, and erythema on the skin. Alopecia can also be a sign of surface pyoderma.

Acute moist dermatitis most commonly affects a pet’s tail base, rump, flanks, and dorsum. Fleas are usually responsible for this type of bacterial skin disease. Fold dermatitis, on the other hand, can develop in any body fold on the pet’s body. Commonly affected area includes the lips and face, as well as the tail, vulva fold, and between the interdigital spaces on the paws.

When the skin of the folds rub together, inflammation occurs that encourages the colonization of bacteria. Fold dermatitis signs include swelling, inflammation, pruritis, and an infection of the skin in the fold.

Signs and Symptoms of Superficial Bacterial Skin Diseases

Superficial pyoderma is a disease in which the bacteria affects all layers of the epidermis. In these cases, it is not uncommon for the hair follicle and the hair shaft to become brittle and fracture, thus causing alopecia. Types of superficial pyodermas include mucocutaneous pyoderma, impetigo, and superficial folliculitis.

Mucocutaneous pyoderma is most commonly found in the oral mucocutaneous junction, but it can also occur in and around the pet’s anus as well. Signs of this pyoderma include crust-covered pustules. Ulceration of the pustules can also occur, which increases the risk of deeper infections.

Impetigo is a type of pyoderma that affects dogs that have not yet reached puberty and older dogs with suppressed immune systems. It is diagnosed by the appearance of pustules in the dog’s ventrum. Poor nutrition can be a cause of impetigo, as can certain systemic diseases and verminosis.

Superficial folliculitis is an infection that is restricted to the hair follicle. The clinical sign of this disease is a pustule with a hair growing from the center of it. In most cases, this is a secondary disease that is being prompted by another one, such as hypothyroidism, demodicosis, or an allergic skin reaction. Poor hygiene can also play a role.

Signs and Symptoms of Deep Bacterial Skin Diseases

Deep bacterial skin diseases are those in which the infection extends into the dermis and subcutis layers of the skin. This is the most severe type of pyoderma, and treatment usually requires lengthy systemic therapy. Types of deep bacterial diseases include folliculitis, feline acne, and pododermatitis.

Folliculitis is most commonly seen in short-haired dogs approaching maturity and it usually affects the dog’s muzzle (muzzle folliculitis). Most cases will resolve themselves once the dog reaches puberty, but some cases require topical treatments like benzyl peroxide shampoo or gel.

Feline acne is a type of folliculitis that typically affects areas on the cat where the sebaceous glands are located. The chin is one of the top areas where feline acne develops, and it can be caused by a wide variety of bacterial organisms, including dermatophytes, streptococcus, Pasteurella, and malassezia. Treatment usually involves both antibiotics and antifungal medications.

How Are Bacterial Skin Diseases in Pets Treated?

Bacterial skin infections tend to respond well to antibiotic and topical treatments. Popular drugs used to treat pets with bacterial skin infections include cephalexin, enrofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, amoxicillin/clavulenic acid, orbifloxacin, and clindamycin. Topical applications include topical corticosteroids, topical tacrolimus, and topical clobetasol propionate.

If your dog or cat is diagnosed with pyoderma and your veterinarian prescribes her oral antibiotics or topical medications, then you can get your pet’s medications for less at Diamondback Drugs. We can custom-formulate your pet’s medications into easy-to-administer formulations that take the stress and worry out of dosing your pet.

Get a free quote for your medications today. Diamondback Drugs can help you get your pet the medicine she needs to recover from a bacterial skin infection!

Author: Giano Panzarella