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Pyoderma is a skin infection that can cause itching, redness, crusts, pustules, a rash, and/or hair loss at the site of the infection, among other, grosser symptoms. Dogs and cats both can get the condition, which occurs when something has happened to the skin that allows bacteria to grow unchecked. Pyoderma can be treated with oral or topical antibiotics and/or shampoos, but the underlying cause has to be addressed, too.
Pyoderma is a bacteria infection of the skin. It happens when the skin’s natural defenses break down, thereby allowing common skin bacteria to multiply. Opportunistic bacteria that don’t normally live on the skin can also colonize when the skin’s defenses have been broken down. Other organisms, such as yeast and fungal organisms, can also take advantage of the skin changes that occur with pyoderma and establish their own infections.
All pyodermas have an inciting cause. In general, any disruption in the immune system’s ability to keep bacteria from overgrowing on the skin can lead to pyoderma, including:
Dogs and cats of any age can be affected by pyoderma.
The clinical signs of pyoderma may include:
Diagnostic testing to confirm a bacterial infection and determine the primary cause may include several of the following:
Dogs and cats of any breed can suffer with pyoderma.
The infection itself can usually be taken care of with a course of antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian. Antibiotics can be administered by mouth, by injection, or applied topically in a variety of formulations (gels, foams, creams, shampoos, leave-in conditioners, and sprays). However, the underlying cause –– whether it’s parasites, hormonal imbalances, allergies or sanitary issues –– must be specifically addressed to prevent the problem and keep it from recurring. When a pet’s primary disease or husbandry problem is under control, chances are good that the animal will recover from pyoderma and not suffer a recurrence.
The best way to prevent pyoderma is to address any underlying diseases, follow good basic hygiene techniques, and employ appropriate animal husbandry practices.
This article has been reviewed by a Veterinarian.
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