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What are Staph Infections?

Staph infections come in many types and cause damage to many parts of the body. Most common is an infection of the skin where a cut, wound or scratch has allowed bacteria from the environment to enter the body. Signs of a Staph infection often include pus at the wound site, redness and sensitivity of the surrounding skin, and crusting of the wound and surrounding skin. If left untreated, serious Staph infections may progress to septicemia (blood poisoning) and death.

Other sites of Staph infections include the lining of the heart, the brain and spinal cord, the kidneys and urinary system, and reproductive organs. These diseases usually present with fever and weakness as the primary symptom. Schedule a visit with the veterinarian if your dog is running a fever, seems unusually weak or lethargic, or has received a cut or scrape.

Bacteria in the staphylococcus genus are widespread and most are harmless. However, a select few such as S. aureus may cause infection of nearly any part of the body, called a “Staph infection” Sometimes, these infections can be resistant to antibiotics and depending on the location of the infection can pose a serious threat to the health of your pet.

Staph Infections Average Cost

From 110 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$450

Symptoms of Staph Infections in Dogs

  • Pus in and around wound site
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Fever
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Atypical behavior
  • Severe pain at wound site
  • Abnormal crusting/scaling of wound site
Types
  • Skin

    : pyoderma, dermatitis

  • Organs

    : metritis, discospondylitis, encephalitis, osteomyelitis, cystitis

  • Fascia

    : necrotizing fasciitis

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Causes of Staph Infections in Dogs

  • Infected cut, scrape or wound
  • Contaminated material entering nose, mouth or eyes
  • Ingestion of contaminated material
  • Improperly sterilized medical equipment
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Diagnosis of Staph Infections in Dogs

If an owner notices their pet experiencing a fever and exhibiting weakness and confusion, they should immediately contact a veterinarian. Once a wound is infected, it is not always possible for it to heal on its own.

A veterinarian will suspect a Staph infection if your pet has an infected wound or abscess producing pus, with redness of the surrounding area and pain disproportionate to the size of the injury. Swabs of the wound can be sent to the lab for culturing to definitively identify the cause, but most often this is not necessary, as the treatment for nearly every skin infection is antibiotic ointment sometimes given in conjunction with oral antibiotics.

The Staph genus can also be responsible for infections of almost every major organ. Urinary tract infections are commonly caused by Staph, and present with pain on urination, bloody urine (hematuria) and cloudy, discolored or foul-smelling urine. A veterinarian may request a urine sample for culture, microscopic examination, or perform additional testing as needed. In rare cases, Staph can infect the disks between vertebra in the spinal column, and/or the bone itself. This causes significant pain along with fever, swelling and weight loss. If the inflammation is great enough to compress the spinal cord, tremors and lack of coordination may also appear. The veterinarian may order X-rays, a spinal tap, or blood cultures to definitively diagnose the illness.

The rarest, and most serious form of internal infection is necrotizing fasciitis. Occasionally caused by Staph pseudintermedius, this is a disease of the fascial tissue holding muscles and organs in their place, and quickly becomes systemic. Necrotizing fasciitis progresses rapidly and may require surgical debridement or amputation of affected limbs, and is often fatal. However, this disease is incredibly rare and unlikely to affect most dogs with Staph infections.

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Treatment of Staph Infections in Dogs

The primary treatment for Staph infections is antibiotics. In the case of skin infection, an antibiotic cream will most likely be prescribed, and possibly oral antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading internally. Topical cream should be applied until the wound has healed, and a course of oral antibiotics should be taken in its entirety to avoid the possibility of re-infection.

In the case of an internal infection, a variety of treatments in conjunction with antibiotics are possible, and will depend on the specific case. Insertion of stents to drain excess fluid, surgical intervention, and removal of necrotic tissue may be warranted at the discretion of a veterinarian.

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Recovery of Staph Infections in Dogs

As long as the owner administers the medication as directed and the pet is kept in adequately warm, sanitary conditions, Staph infections of the skin usually heal completely in a matter of days or weeks. Rarely, an infection may be resistant to the given antibiotic, and so a course of multiple antibiotics will be prescribed.

The outlook for internal infections tends to be less positive- antibiotics alone cannot curb the damage infection can cause to organ structures and surrounding tissue. With the appropriate therapy as prescribed by a veterinarian, there is a significant chance of recovery in most cases.

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Cost of Staph Infections in Dogs

Staph infections can most commonly be a skin infection or an internal infection. For most staph infections classified as skin infections, the veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic cream (Mupirocin $15 on average) to help combat the infection. The veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics ($10-$30) as well. If the staph infection is caused by an internal infection then there could be more extensive treatments done. In addition to oral antibiotics ($10-$30), the veterinarian may combat the internal infection with stents ($100-$130) to drain any fluid buildup. Surgery ($1,000-$2,500) may also be an option in order to remove any necrotic tissue.

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Staph Infections Average Cost

From 110 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$450

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Staph Infections Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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peyton

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Pitt Mix

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Staph Infection
Staph Infection Post Op

My dog got a staph infection after her broken leg was fixed with a plate and screws. now the vet is saying the plates and screws have to come out even though there is no more signs of an infection. Do I have to take the plate and screws out? would she be ok leaving them in?

Aug. 13, 2018

peyton's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

There are many reasons that the plate and screws may need to come out, but those are often left in. It may be related to the infection and concern that there is a nidus there that will cause ongoing problems. If you aren't sure of the advice you are being given, it might be a good idea to seek a second opinion, as I cannot look at Peyton or xrays.

Aug. 13, 2018

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PeggySue

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

17 Months

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

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Red Bumps

My dog had pimple like bumps on her chin under her mouth . they have become larger and red. she seems to be eating ok, and has energy but i am still concerned. i put neosporin on it and she rubs it off? should she have an antibiotic?

June 19, 2018

PeggySue's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

There are more glands in the chin than other parts of the body, and those glands can get infected. Since it isn't getting better, she may need oral antibiotics, as you are right, ointments and dogs don't always work very well!

June 19, 2018

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Cookie

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spitz

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Panting,
Scratching Floor, Panting, Hiding

My dog(small breed) is 7 years old and she gave birth 5 days ago. On the 3rd day I noticed a red bald patch on the outside of her left thigh. My Vet prescribed ointment for staph infection. But now its become swollen, red and inflamed. She pants and leaves her babies after every feeding and then go to corners of the house or under the bed and start scratching the floor. Will this affect her's or her puppies' health? What should I do to help her recovery fast?

March 28, 2018

Cookie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Without seeing the lesion or being able to examine Cookie, I'm unfortunately not able to provide much insight into what that wound might be caused by. If it is not improving with the therapy that your veterinarian prescribed, it would be a good idea to have a recheck for her, and see whether she needs any more medication. I hope that all goes well for her!

March 28, 2018

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Fred

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Golden Retriever

dog-age-icon

9 Months

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

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Redness
Bleeding
Itching
Loss Of Appetite
Puss
Scratching Til He Bleeds

Should I be washing and treating with topical antibiotic ointment? I took Fred to the vet and was given a corticosteroid shot and a round of antibiotics (keflex). It started when Fred had a pea sized scab on his head. He'd had it for quite a while and I assumed he may have bumped his head coming out of his kennel. Then one day we go to the park, and it rained on us real good--we were probably out in it for about 30 minutes. I bring him home and towel dry him. Then we lounge, and he air dries a while. After that I give him a good brushing to make sure he doesnt have any knots or matting. I let the brush pass over the scab to see if it works loose (probably a big mistake), but I am not aggressive about it. Anyway, a couple of days later he starts to eat more slowly. He had scratched at the scab and caused it to bleed. Then he scratches the skin near it to bleeding. The next day he causes his head to bleed in a two inch round area. I start getting onto him when he tries to scratch thinking I cannot break the habit. On the third day of Fred scratching til he bleeds, in the evening, I notice that he has scabbing and/or scaling from brow to the back of his head and from ear to ear. It wasn’t noticeable under all of fur and wasn’t there’s before. I knew that whatever it was, it wasn’t spreading fast. The following morning I take him to the vet first to thing. The vet visually inspects the area, then takes glass for a microscope and presses it I to the blood and puss. He goes to look at it beneath a microscope. When he returns, he says that Fred is going through puppy puberty. He got the dog equivalent to a pimple. Then, when Fred scratched and opened the area, staph entered.

Feb. 23, 2018

Fred's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

Thank you for your email. Superficial pyoderma can be common in dogs with thick hair coats, ans excessive moisture. If Fred isn't improving on the Keflex, he may need a recheck to have the wound reassessed. These infections typically resolve fairly quickly with antibiotic therapy, and shouldn't need any topical medication. I hope that his infection clears up quickly.

Feb. 23, 2018

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Chrissy

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Sitzpoo

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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

Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I’m in hospital I have gotten Staph pseudintermedius From my dog What is the best way to treat her It seems my vet is not sure how or even to treat her or for me to more preventative A culture was done on me and after 4 days of IV antibiotics they are letting me go home any help would be appreciated

Oct. 30, 2017

Chrissy's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a common pathogen found in dogs and is usually treated with garden variety antibiotics; however, if Chrissy has MRSP (meticillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius) the a culture and sensitivity test should be done to look for a suitable antibiotic for treatment. I would suggest calling your nearest Veterinary School to speak with their Microbiology Department. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/managing-mrsa-mrsp-and-mrss-dermatologic-infections-pets

Oct. 30, 2017

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Harley & Maggie

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Wire Fox Terrier

dog-age-icon

4 Years

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

Moderate severity

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

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

I just got back from the vet with 1 of my dogs. He said my 2 dogs have staph infection. He has them on baytril, a strong antibiotic for stubborn infections and a antibiotic cream. I also have been soaking their feet in Epsom salts twice a day. I just read where apple cider vinegar could also help, so will try that for a while now

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Blaze & Seven

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American Staffordshire Terrier & Golden retriver

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Itching, Licking, Scabs, Redness,

I have two dogs Blaze & Seven they are 7 years old and they are brothers. They were my partners dogs she had them since the day they born. My partner passed away April 2018. They were both constantly itching, redness, scabs, and flakes he has dandruff like white particles all over. Seven has big and small scabs all over. The veterinarian diagnosed them both with skin staph infection. I was given Simplicef 200mg 21 capsules for each dog and 10 Prednisone 20mg. I was informed that it could take 3 weeks for it to clear. The medicine alone cost $73.50 for antibiotics each and $9.00 for the Prednisone each. Am not sure if i should been prescribed any ointment to apply especially with Seven and his scabs. Hoping I can find the medication cheaper

Staph Infections Average Cost

From 110 quotes ranging from $300 - $3,000

Average Cost

$450

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