Pyoderma is an extremely uncomfortable and potentially painful problem that, in some cases, requires pets to be sedated while treatments are administered. It can also lead to serious complications if the infection is not treated appropriately early on. One of the best ways to reduce your pet’s discomfort is to know the signs and facts about pyoderma. Here are five important things to keep in mind.
1. Something Else Led to Your Pet’s Pyoderma
Pets usually cause pyoderma themselves by scratching and rubbing at areas of their skin that are itchy or irritated – and they do this because something else is wrong. The most common underlying causes of pyoderma include flea bites, allergies to food or airborne materials, hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism, or grooming that was too harsh or not done often enough. While you will need to treat your pet’s infection, you will also need to resolve the initial problem that led to the excessive scratching and discomfort.
2. Diagnosing Pyoderma Can Be Tricky
The early signs of pyoderma in dogs and cats are often very similar to other inflammatory skin conditions, including yeast infections. Like yeast infections, bacterial infections of the skin occur when a pet’s defense system is damaged and normal bacteria (or yeast in the case of yeast infections) that live on your pet are able to infect the skin. In both cases, dogs and cats will often scratch excessively at itchy patches of skin. This results in lesions, irritated skin, hair loss, and scabs. Because the treatment for yeast infections and pyoderma are different, it’s important to watch for other telltale signs of a pus-forming bacterial infection and to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible so that your pet can be tested and properly diagnosed.
3. Pyoderma Can Be Minor or Severe
There are three grades of infection: surface pyoderma is the least serious, superficial pyoderma indicates an infection that has invaded the hair follicle and is more serious, and deep pyoderma refers to a condition in which pus-filled boils, other abscesses, or cellulitis have developed deep in the layers of the skin. Deep infections can cause systemic illnesses if they are not resolved. But you can avoid these painful pyodermas and compilations by caring for minor wounds as soon as they appear.
4. Treating Pyoderma Requires a Comprehensive Approach
Your veterinarian will need to diagnose and treat the underlying problem at the same time that treatment is given to resolve the pus-forming bacterial infection. Oral antibiotics or antibiotic creams may be administered for the infection. In some cases, boils or other abscesses will need to be professionally lanced and drained to help the infection heal. At-home care for pyoderma includes careful grooming and washing of the infected area.
5. Be Aware of How to Avoid Pyoderma
Pyoderma is most likely to develop in warm, moist areas on your pet’s skin. If you own a dog with deep skin folds and wrinkles, you should take care to wash and dry those areas inside the folds. For instance, facial folds on a Pekingese, tail folds on a Bulldog, and vulvar folds on overweight female dogs may need to be checked regularly for irritation and infection.
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.