Pyoderma in Dogs : Has your dog been scratching all round? Does their skin look red? Does their skin have pimples or odors?
They may have a condition in puppies called Dog Pyoderma or Puppy Pyoderma – a common skin condition that afflicts dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages.
Pyoderma means “pus in the skin”. It is caused by infection, inflammation or cancer and is common in dogs.
Most cases of pyoderma are caused by bacterial infections. Most of these are superficial and secondary to many other conditions, such as allergies or parasites. Pyoderma that occurs in healthy animals is usually completely cured with appropriate antibiotics.
Warm, moist areas on the skin, lip folds, facial folds, armpits, feet and neck folds often have higher bacterial counts than other areas and are at higher risk for infection. Pressure points such as the elbows are prone to recurrent infections due to stress.
Any skin disease that normally converts a dry, desert-like environment into a more humid environment can cause excessive colonization of the skin with bacteria.
The most common sign of bacterial pyoderma is high scaling. The scales are often pierced with hair. In dogs, superficial pyderma usually appears as bald patches, welts around the hair and scabbing.
Shorthaird breeds often have multiple valves that look like rashes, causing the follicles and surrounding inflamed hair to stand up more erect.
These hairs are often easily removed, which separates the pyoderma from the rash. Hair loss can lead to small bald patches on the affected areas. At the edges of the hair fall, there may be redness and welts but these signs are often not present in shorthair strains.
Early Signs of Pyoderma in Dogs
Signs of deep pyoderma in dogs include pain, crusting, odor and secretions of blood and pus. Redness, swelling, ulceration, scabs and blisters can also be seen.
Muscle bridge, chin, elbows, hawks, spaces between knees and toes are more prone to deep infections, but any area can be involved.
The diagnosis depends on the signs. The diagnosis of pyoderma should also include steps to identify any underlying causes.
These include flies, allergies, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease and poor dressing. Multiple deep skin scraping is required to exclude parasitic infections. Bacterial and fungal cultures can also be taken.
The most common causes of recurrent bacterial pyoderma are failure to treat the underlying causes, use of glucocorticoid drugs and improper treatment with prescribed antibiotics.
You can contribute to recurrence of pyoderma in your dog if you do not follow your veterinarian’s treatment instructions carefully.
Even if your dog only feels better after a few days or a week, it is still important for you to continue the prescribed treatment program for the full time.
The bacteria that cause pyoderma are still present and ready to multiply again if not given a full course of medication.
Antibiotic treatment should last for at least 3 weeks and 4 weeks. All signs (except hair regrowth and resolution of increased pigmentation) should be drained for at least 7 days before antibiotics are stopped.
Chronic, recurrent or deep pyodermas usually take 8 to 12 weeks or more to fully heal. Topical antibiotics may also be used in some cases.
Attention to attire is very important. The hair coat should be clipped on dogs with deep pyoderma and professional dressing is recommended for medium to longhaird dogs like german shepherds with superficial pyoderma. It removes excess hair that can trap debris and bacteria and helps with dressing.
Dogs with superficial pyoderma should be bathed with a shampoo recommended by its veterinarian. Baths should be given 2 to 3 times a week for the first 2 weeks of treatment and then 1 to 2 times a week until the infection is cleared.
Daily baths for dogs with deep pyoderma can be diluted with shampoo one and a half or a quarter of the strength. Shampooing removes bacteria, crusts and scales and reduces itching, odor and oil.
After at least 14 to 21 days the development may not be obvious and recovery may not be as fast as expected.
Your veterinarian can recommend a bathing program that is appropriate for your pet’s condition. Medicinal shampoos usually need to be on the coat for 10 minutes to be effective.
What are the clinical signs of pyoderma?
The most common clinical signs associated with pyoderma are papules or rashes on the skin. These lesions often look similar to pimples in humans. They are most often red and raised, with a white pus-filled center.
Other signs include circular crusts, dry or flaky patches on the skin, and hair loss. In short-haired species, the coat may appear protruding or sticky in places, mimicking the rash, or moth-eaten by hair fall.
How did my dog get pyoderma?
When the surface of the skin breaks down, prolonged exposure to moisture can injure the skin, change or alter normal skin bacteria, weaken blood flow to the skin, or cause a bacterial skin infection when the immune system is weakened.
Pyoderma is often secondary to allergic dermatitis and develops on the surface of the skin as a result of scratching. Puppies often develop puppy pyoderma in thinning fur areas such as the groin and underarms.
Flies, ticks, yeast, or fungal skin diseases, thyroid disease or hormonal imbalances, heredity and certain medications (immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine, cyclosporine and high doses of steroids) can increase your pet’s risk of developing pyoderma.
Best Dog Food for Pyoderma
The best diet for deep pyoderma is to support and boost the immune system.
As pyoderma progresses to the third and final stage, dietary considerations should focus on supporting and boosting the immune system.
Treatment of the 2nd and consecutive stages of pyoderma usually involves at least 1 round of antibiotics. Antibiotics can cause diarrhea and stomach upset in dogs, but they can long-term damage to digestion by killing your dog’s gut lining good bacteria.
These good bacteria are crucial for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. Dog food containing probiotics is recommended for advanced cases of pyderma to restore natural flora and improve digestion.
Vitamins and minerals are also critically important. Zinc is an important trace mineral associated with healthy immune function. Vitamin C is considered to be most essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
While your immune system can be compromised due to deep pyoderma, ensuring a balanced diet high in vitamins is crucial in protecting your dog.
Also Read: How To Stop Your Dog From Eating Dirt
Choosing the best dog food for your dog when dealing with pyoderma means assessing how deep the problem has spread.
Food alone does not wipe out the bacterial infection that causes pyoderma, but the antibiotics needed to do that work will degrade your dog’s body if you do not give his dog the best food.
We have highlighted two options to ensure that you are providing food that promotes skin health and strengthens a healthy immune system to help your dog recover quickly.