Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs

Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Hair Loss / Hairloss / Itching / Odor / Pustules / Scale

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Rated as serious conditon

52 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Hair Loss / Hairloss / Itching / Odor / Pustules / Scale

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Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Bacterial Infection of the Skin?

Many species of bacteria normally reside on the skin of dogs without causing any symptoms. Infection develops when conditions create an environment where bacteria can proliferate. This could be a flea infestation, an allergic reaction, a wound, or an underlying disease that depletes the immune system. Many different types of bacteria may be involved, but the most common species associated with pyoderma in dogs is staphylococcus pseudintermedius. The name pyoderma comes from the Greek words for “pus” and “skin,” so this term refers to any bacterial skin infection that exudes pus. Dogs often have red itchy patches of pustules that seep blood and purulent discharge when they break. Severe infections may develop into painful ulcerations and boils. Bacteria flourish in moist conditions, so many pyoderma infections are caused by another condition that adds oil and moisture to the skin. Symptoms are often found in the skin folds, or around areas of broken irritated skin. One-time infections are usually treatable with antibiotics, but some dogs may have recurrent symptoms due to an allergy or an endocrine imbalance like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. In this case, the underlying condition will also need to be treated. Recurrent infections can be more problematic, especially if they lead to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Dogs can develop an infection when normal bacteria in the skin proliferate excessively. Infected dogs can have areas of redness, rash-like pustules, and hair loss.

Symptoms of Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs

Symptoms can range from mild irritation to severe and painful infection. See your veterinarian if you notice any of the following signs.

  • Pimple-like pustules on the skin
  • Dry patches of flaking skin
  • Itching
  • Crusted skin
  • Infected hair follicles
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Hair standing on end
  • Seeping of blood or pus
  • Swelling or ulcerated skin
  • Odor

Types

Veterinarians use several different terms to define types of pyoderma.

  • Simple – a one-time response
  • Complex – infections that are recurrent or associated with an underlying disease
  • Focal – infection developing in a specific area
  • Generalized – covering the entire body
  • Superficial – infection of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) and hair follicles
  • Deep – more severe infection involving the dermis (deeper layer of the skin)

Causes of Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs

Pyoderma can be associated with many different conditions and veterinarians often struggle to find the exact cause. The following conditions are often related.

  • Flea infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Any chronic form of dermatitis
  • Fungal or yeast infection (Malassezia)
  • Wound
  • Broken skin from scratching
  • Poor grooming
  • Endocrine imbalance that reduces lymphocyte counts like Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism), and hypothyroidism
  • Hereditary (some dogs are more prone to developing infection)

Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs

The veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination. Symptoms of skin infection will suggest pyoderma. Blood and urine tests will help to determine the underlying cause. Cell cultures will be taken of the infected area and examined microscopically to determine what organisms are present. Malassezia fungal infections are commonly found concurrent with bacterial pyoderma. The veterinarian will also check for the presence other parasites. In some cases, the culture may be sent to a lab to analyze the bacteria’s resistance to antibiotics and determine the best treatment.

The veterinarian will need to know your dog’s medical history and current medications. If your dog is taking a steroid, or another medication that suppresses the immune system this is important since it will limit the effectiveness of an antibiotic. Any prior skin infections or treatment with antibiotics is also relevant.

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Treatment of Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs

Most dogs with pyoderma will be treated with an oral antibiotic as well as topical sprays and shampoos. Many different antibiotics may be prescribed. The veterinarian will choose the one that best fits your dog’s infection. Antibiotic treatment will last from 3 to 6 weeks. Your dog will need to continue taking the medication at least a week after the symptoms of infection have been resolved in order to ensure that bacteria don’t survive and develop resistance.

Your will need to bathe your dog with a medicated shampoo several times a week during treatment. Dogs with severe, deep, pyoderma may need to be shampooed daily. Your veterinarian may prescribe a shampoo containing benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine, or another antiseptic agent. A topical antibacterial ointment or spray will likely be prescribed also.

To avoid recurrence, treatment will also need to focus on the underlying cause. The veterinarian will prescribe medication to treat hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. Different treatment could be needed depending on the cause of these conditions. If a food allergy is suspected, the veterinarian may recommend a diet change or suggest eliminating different foods to find the cause of the allergy. Treatment may also be needed for fungal infection, parasites, or fleas.

Recovery of Bacterial Infection of the Skin in Dogs

Pyoderma is not a life-threatening problem, but it can cause your dog a lot of pain and discomfort. Fortunately, most infections are treatable, and it is likely your dog will make a full recovery. Chronic and recurrent infections without a known cause can pose more of a problem. Regular bathing and grooming can help, as well as washing your dog’s bedding frequently. Some dogs may need to follow a strict diet to avoid an allergic reaction. Others may need lifelong medication to treat an endocrine imbalance. If this is the case, frequent check-ups will be necessary so the veterinarian can monitor your dog’s condition and adjust the dosage.

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Bacterial Infection of the Skin Average Cost

From 74 quotes ranging from $250 - $2,500

Average Cost

$350

Bacterial Infection of the Skin Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Eve

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Golden Lab Mix

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Redness
Sores
Red Bumps
Pimples

My dog eve has been fighting pyoderma for almost 6 months. it started as redness of the skin then progressed to bumps, then pimples, and eventually forming sores as soon as the sores came about i thought this isn't a rash and took her to the vet. where i had a skin scraping done that came back negative, and a skin impression that came back negative as well. I was told to use Douxo Chlorohexidine Mousse and apply it everywhere the bumps/sores where every other day for 2 weeks. It only seemed to irritate it more. So we went back after 2 weeks ,and where prescribed cephalexin 500mg 2 caps every 12 hrs as well as predisone 10mg 1 tablet every 24 hrs. It seemed to start working and after 3 weeks it was gone. About a week after that the bumps appeared again ,and the process started over i took her to a different vet gave them all records they performed the tests again and without saying if they found anything or not Prescribed a very strong antibiotic, zeniquin 100mg 1 tab every 24 hrs for two weeks.It began to clear up and stayed clear for 2 weeks this time and i was giving her a bath today (With HexaChlor-K Shampoo) and saw that they were back again. Do you have any advice on what i can do? Anything at this point will help. Thank-you.

Sept. 23, 2018

Eve's Owner

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Lotus

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Jack Russell Terrier

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1 Year

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Itching, Biting,Shivering

My dogs has been on 3 different antibiotics now and her paws are just not getting any better she's also on a special flea medicine she's been on the same food for months now and has never had a reaction so I'm confused if it is a food allergy I'm going to buy medicated shampoo today iv tried an epsom salt bath iv tried essential oil peppermint I just can't find the root cause or understand why it's not going away they said it was bacteria sometimes at night when she sleeps she shivers I'm not sure if that's from her trying not to itch I'm just worried and stressed out about her she is a chiuhuah jack russel dashhound

Sept. 17, 2018

Lotus' Owner

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Kellen

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Scottish Terrier

dog-age-icon

10 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Itchy
Itchy Scabs
Itchy Scabs- Pimble/Pus?
Itchy- Scabs- Pimble/Pus?
Itchy Scabs Pimple Pus Missing Hair

We have a Scottie that was supposed to have skin issues due to allergies. We have 3 other dogs and recently the others have shown up with itchy skin. (the dogs have been together for 18 months) The Scootie at times has hair missing and scabs related to being itchy. Today I noticed bumps, so with scabs on 2 of the other dogs

Aug. 26, 2018

Kellen's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Without examining Kellen or your other dogs I cannot determine or confirm whether any skin lesions are due to allergies, infections or another cause; if some of your other dogs are presenting with symptoms I would suggest visiting your Veterinarian with them sooner rather than later before the symptoms get more severe. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 26, 2018

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Sydney

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Min Pin

dog-age-icon

16 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Scale Loss
Loss Of Fur
Scab

My dog has had skin infections in the past and has been treated with convenia injections along with shampoo. Is there a pill that can be used in place of the injection?

July 11, 2018

Sydney's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There are many alternatives to a Convenia (cefovecin) injection, your Veterinarian will be able to prescribe a course of oral antibiotics instead of the injection. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 12, 2018

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Vincent

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Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

9 Months

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Dark Patches Of Skin,
Dark Patches Of Skin, Sore On Nose,
Dark Paws,
Bites On Genitals
Face Is Turning Dark

I have never had a chihuahua before. He was bright white when we got him. Over the past few months he has gotten small black spots on his groin and it has now covered most of his body. He bites on his penis and balls all the time now. He is loosing TONS of fur. He is a smooth hair chihuahua. He has a small rised pink bump just above his nose. His skin is pink and really warm. His face skin is starting to turn black. He looks skinny compared to a couple months ago. He likes to spend time outside in our garden.

July 11, 2018

Vincent's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

A darkening of the skin like this may be a normal process or in some cases may be due to some different conditions including allergies, especially since there are many possible potential allergens in the garden; also fungal infections may also cause the skin colour to change. If Vincent is having a lot of irritation you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination and to review management options. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 11, 2018

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Izzy

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Wirehaired Vizsla

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Redness
Bleeding
Blackened Skin
Weaping Soars

I noticed that Izzy wasn't quite herself and had started hiding her tail weirdly and licking it a lot. Checked it out and there was a soar patch so we cleaned it but overnight it got a lot worse. Got her to the vets the following morning and the vet said it was cellulitis, a bacterial infection in her tail probably caused by a very small cut that had got bacteria in it. She's now on antibiotics, pain relief and wash for her tail twice a day, She has also got a cone to stop the licking. Its not bleeding like it was, that seems to have calmed right down it is just darkening and still weapy in areas. I am just concerned as the skin is going black in some areas and I don't know if it's starting the healing process or if it's worsening.If it worsens they said there's a good chance she will have to have her tail amputated. So I really want to know what signs I need to look out for to tell if it is getting worse and if the darkened skin is a bad sign?

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Teddy

dog-breed-icon

Shorkie Tzu

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Serious condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Scabby Bleeding Pussy Painful

My Shortie Teddy had two spot on between his shoulders scabby dry patches . Took him to the vet they treated him went away week later two more spots came but these were weepy and red and flaky. We asked for a refill thinking it was the same issue but 8 more came and the meds didn't work any more . now he has 10 spots big and small of these patches that now bleed and have puss. We have given him baths 2 twice a week and now are changing his food. Currently waiting for the culture to come back for the results and he has to wear PJs now to protect form licking... Has anything like this happen to anyone and Can any Dr. on here advise the best shampoo or foods to help??

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Rupert

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French Bulldog

dog-age-icon

5 Months

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Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Running Nose
Rash On Belly And Under Arms
Occasional Pimple Like Bump
Sweaty Under Arms

Rupert is only 5months old he has been experiencing some rashes on his belly and underarms for awhile now. He will itch them a lot in the day and at night. We have took him to the vet they gave us allergy medicine for a week and it kinda did go away I also thought it was maybe allergic to plants so I have been pulling a lot up in my patio for him but now it’s spreading again. He sometimes gets red eyes that water and nose that runs as well he from time to time gets little pimple like dot near his lower tummy and will have some kinda ya puss like liquid coming out of his area but I don’t know if that’s just because he’s not fixed till next month. I’m very concerned.

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Zoey

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Siberian Husky

dog-age-icon

14 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Strong, Bad Odor, Dull Hair & Loss

Several months ago, I noticed a horrible odor from my 14 yr old Siberian Huskie. Taking her to a vet for a bath two days in a row made no difference in smell. A week later, she was sprayed by a skunk, so back for another bath...Two months later, she still smells terrible, her coat is dull and she is losing hair on her tail. Taking her back to vet tomorrow for blood work testing for thyroid problem and for skin infection. If it is a skin infection, they plan to shave her (with a #7) about 1/2" all over. Everything I read recommends NOT to shave a Huskie...what do I do.

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Sammy

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Skin Lesion
Itching
Hairloss

I took my 80 lb lab mix to the groomer. He went in for a bath and nail trim. They added a de-shedding service. Initially he seemed fine, but 24 hours later he wouldn’t eat or drink anything, became lethargic and felt very hot to the touch. I brought him into the vet and the did a complete work up. The found his WBC count elevated and he had a fever over 105. The gave him medication and injected about 600 ml of fluid under his skin to help hydrate him and lower his temp. He obviously had an infection but they could locate the source, so he was put on a broad spectrum antibiotic. The next day his fevers started to improve, but he was still not quite himself and seemed to be in more pain. He would move or wimpier if you tried to touch his back or sides. It has now been a week and behavior wise he is back to normal, pain has improved, but he now seems to be more itchy... he also has irritated spots and healing sores/scabs all over his body and is loosing a lot more of his hair. I am assuming he got a skin infection at the groomers, hopefully he is on an appropriate antibiotic.

Bacterial Infection of the Skin Average Cost

From 74 quotes ranging from $250 - $2,500

Average Cost

$350

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