When Dogs and Cats Get Pyoderma
Pyoderma is a bacterial infection in which cats and dogs may develop lesions, pus-filled pimples, pustules, rashes, or swollen bumps. Pyoderma, which is significantly more common in dogs than cats, is known as a secondary condition because it usually only develops after another health problem has caused skin problem for your pet. To avoid cases of recurrent pyoderma, it’s important to have your veterinarian diagnose and treat the underlying condition in addition to clearing up the bacterial infection before it progresses and leads to further health complications.
Pyoderma is most often self-inflicted by pets that incessantly scratch, chew, or rub at areas of the skin that are already irritated, itchy, or painful. By damaging the skin with these actions, pets allow bacteria to get under the skin and cause an infection. Among the common problems that cause the initial discomfort are insect infestations, allergies, and immune imbalances. Age and genetics may also play a role in pyoderma. For instance, dogs under one year of age are more likely to develop impetigo or acne, forms of pyoderma. Meanwhile, Pekingese, St. Bernards, Bulldogs, and other breeds of dogs that naturally have deep skin folds and wrinkles are more likely to develop infections in those moist folds.
Itchiness or pain may compel pets to repeatedly scratch or rub an area of their skin. This creates inflamed red patches. As pyoderma gets worse, lesions appear and your dog or cat may lose hair in the affected area. If minor pyodermas are not treated properly, they can turn into abscesses or cellulitis that can be extremely painful for pets and which can lead to more serious problems.
Treatment of pyoderma depends on how advanced the infection has become and the nature of the underlying cause (if applicable). Home care includes cleaning the skin several times a week with a high-quality shampoo and carefully drying areas of the skin where moisture builds up such as skin folds and creases. Veterinarians usually prescribe antibiotics for cats and dogs with pyoderma. You might need to use an antibiotic cream or give your pet an oral antibiotic. Be sure to complete the full cycle of antibiotics to ensure the infection is properly treated and to limit the risk that the bacterial infection will come back
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.