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Staphylococcal Pyoderma: A Common Skin Infection in Dogs & Puppies
Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.
Race Foster, DVM
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Staphylococcal bacterial infections are usually referred to as staph infections. Staph bacteria are widespread and cause mild to severe skin infections in dogs of all ages.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms depend on severity. Mild skin infections may appear as crusty skin lesions, frequently about the belly area. More advanced cases will manifest draining areas and cause severe itching. Occasionally, usually in adults, individuals are actually allergic to the staph bacteria. These dogs have severely reddened and itchy skin.

What are the risks?

The risk depends on the severity of the individual case. All cases of staph pyoderma can progress and should be treated as soon as possible.

What is the management?

Bacterial infections are often secondary to another problem, so the possibility of parasitic infections, allergies, and hormonal abnormalities should be checked. The skin is usually biopsied and/or cultured to confirm the diagnosis. Oral antibiotics are selected based on test results, and may need to be given for several months if the infection is very deep. Medicated shampoos, such as those containing chlorhexidine, can be used in conjunction with oral antibiotics. In the rare case of a staph allergy, steroids or hyposensitization injections may be prescribed along with the antibiotics.

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