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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

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Average Cost

$450

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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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Pit Bull

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Red Bumps

My dog has a severe rash and hair loss. She itches all over constantly.

Jan. 17, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for the photos. I'm sorry to hear this. There are several possibilities including a deep pyoderma (skin infection), folliculitis, parasitic infection, allergy etc. A vet visit is best so they can assess the dog and perform any required tests such as a skin scrape or swab. They will likely prescribe some strong anti itch medicine to break the itch scratch cycle and perhaps some antibiotics and a medicated wash. Do ensure you dog is up to date with a good quality parasite prevention.

Jan. 17, 2021

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Staffy Bull Pit

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lame

My dog had a lateral suture surgery 5yrs ago for a torn ACL. About a month ago I noticed she woke up not putting weight on her leg and upon closer look she had discharge from her old suture as well. We found out her suture had slipped and her discharge was due to a resistant staph infections. We put her on antibiotics 9/12. Her 2wk check up went well and Dr was happy with progress, sent us home with 2 more weeks of antibiotics. Today he called to schedule TTA surgery for 10/04. She will have only been on antibiotics for 3 weeks at that point, is it safe for her to have surgery so soon?

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I think if your veterinarian was happy with the progression that she had, and was comfortable with her surgery at this point, I would not think that she needs to be on antibiotics longer before the surgery. That is a good question, and one that you may want to ask your veterinarian just to make sure that everybody's on the same page as far as what's going on. I hope that everything goes well for her.

Oct. 3, 2020

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Bichon Frise

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Scabs On Hot Spots And In Ears

My dog recently went through three major things which may have caused him to get sick but I am not sure which one. He got a haircut, got a vaccine and tried a new food which made him sick. He has gotten over the sick and is now pooping regularly but he is still lethargic and has a hot spot on his back thigh that he won’t let heal. I looked into his ears and he has has scabs in there as well. He is very quiet recently and doesn’t bark when I come home like usual. There are times when he is excitable but he is huddled away for most of the day

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. He sounds like he does not feel good at all. If the wound on his leg and ears won't heal, he may need medications for those, and that might be why he isn't feeling good. I think that it would be a good idea to have him seen by your veterinarian, as they can give him a thorough check up and see what might be wrong. Once they know more, they will be able to help him. I hope that he feels better soon!

Oct. 5, 2020

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peyton

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Pitt Mix

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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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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1 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

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17 Months

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Fair severity

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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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0 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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Harley & Maggie

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Wire Fox Terrier

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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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

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7 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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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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