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Everything You Need To Know About Bacterial Infections In Dogs

  Sep 22, 2021

Everything You Need To Know About Bacterial Infections In Dogs


Many bacteria species live on the skin of dogs without causing any symptoms. Infection occurs when environmental factors allow germs to grow. A flea infestation, an allergic reaction, a wound, or an underlying condition that depletes the immune system could all be the cause. Many different types of bacteria may be involved, however, Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is the most prevalent species related to pyoderma in dogs. The term pyoderma is derived from the Greek words for "pus" and "skin," it refers to any bacterial skin illness that produces pus. Dogs may develop red, itchy pustules that leak blood and discharge when they burst. Severe infections may cause painful ulcerations and boils.

Bacteria thrive in moist environments, so many pyoderma infections are caused by another condition that increases the amount of oil and moisture in the skin. Signs are more commonly detected in skin creases or around regions of damaged, irritated skin. One-time infections are frequently curable with antibiotics, but some dogs may experience recurring problems due to allergies or endocrine imbalances such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease. In this situation, the underlying condition must also be addressed. Recurrent infections can be more dangerous, especially when they result in the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

When natural bacteria in the skin proliferate excessively, dogs might develop an infection. Redness, rash-like pustules, and hair loss can occur in infected dogs.

Symptoms of Bacterial Infection in Dogs

The symptoms might range from slight discomfort to a serious and painful infection. Consult your veterinarian if you detect any of the symptoms listed below.

  • Skin pustules that look like pimples
  • Dry, flaky skin patches
  • Itching
  • Crusted Skin
  • Infected hair follicles
  • Alopecia areata (hair loss)
  • Blood or pus oozing out
  • Skin swelling or ulceration
  • Odor

Types of Bacterial Infection in Dogs

Several terminologies are used by veterinarians to describe different kinds of pyoderma.

>> Complex - infections that are recurring or are coupled with an underlying illness

>> Focal - infection that develops in a single location

>> Generalized - infection that encompasses the entire body

>> Superficial - infection of the epidermis (the skin's outer layer) and hair follicles

>> Deep - a more serious illness that affects the dermis (deeper layer of the skin)

Causes of Bacterial Infection in Dogs

Pyoderma can be caused by a variety of disorders, and veterinarians are frequently stumped as to what is causing it. The following conditions are frequently linked.

  • Infection with fleas
  • Allergic reactivity
  • Any type of persistent dermatitis
  • Infection with a fungus or yeast (Malassezia)
  • Wound
  • Skin damage from scratching
  • Improper grooming
  • Endocrine imbalances that lower lymphocyte numbers
  • Cushing's illness (hyperadrenocorticism) and hypothyroidism
  • Inherited (some dogs are more prone to developing infection)

Diagnosis of Bacterial Infection in Dogs

The veterinarian will do a thorough physical examination. Pyoderma is indicated by signs of skin infection. Blood and urine testing will aid in determining the root reason. Cell cultures of the affected area can be obtained and examined under a microscope to determine what organisms are present. Malassezia fungal infections are frequently observed alongside bacterial pyoderma. Other parasites will also be checked for by the veterinarian. In some situations, the culture may be sent to a lab to be analyzed for antibiotic resistance and to determine the best treatment.

Your dog's medical history and current treatments will be required by the veterinarian. If your dog is on a steroid or similar immune-suppressing treatment, this is significant because it will reduce the effectiveness of an antibiotic. Any earlier skin infections or antibiotic therapy is also relevant.

Treatment of Bacterial Infection in Dogs

The majority of dogs with pyoderma will be given an oral antibiotic as well as topical sprays and washes. Antibiotics of various types may be administered. The doctor will select the one that is most appropriate for your dog's ailment. The dog antibiotic treatment will last between 2 and 6 weeks. To ensure that bacteria do not survive and build resistance, your dog will need to continue taking the treatment for at least a week after the signs of infection have subsided.

You will need to bathe your dog with a therapeutic shampoo several times a week during treatment. Dogs with severe, profound pyoderma may require daily shampooing. A shampoo containing, chlorhexidine, benzoyl peroxide, or a similar antiseptic ingredient may be recommended by your veterinarian. A topical antibiotic ointment or spray will almost certainly be administered as well.

Top Product Tips for Pet Skin Care

There are numerous pet skin shampoos, conditioners and treatments on the market, but we did the research to find the best-medicated skincare solutions. Remember, you'll need to consult your veterinarian to determine the cause of your pet's skin problems, but once that's determined, you can choose a medicated pet shampoo, conditioner, or other treatment formulated for that specific issue.


Here are our top 5 picks for the best-medicated skincare solutions for pets.


  1. MALASEB SHAMPOO FOR DOGS

Chlorhexidine and miconazole are the main ingredients in this advanced antifungal shampoo for pets. It treats a variety of skin conditions and protects dogs and cats from bacterial infections.

  1. FRONTLINE PET CARE PUPPY/KITTEN SHAMPOO FOR DOGS

It is an excellent and powerful product for puppies and kittens that protects the pet's skin from the sun's harmful rays while moisturizing and soothing it.

  1. ESSENTIAL 6 FOR DOGS

It is a one-of-a-kind solution for your dog's skin and coat. Best for dogs with dry skin, bad odor, or an oily coat.

  1. APOQUEL FOR DOGS

It is a specially formulated treatment that relieves itching caused by atomic and allergic dermatitis.

  1. MALASEB COMBO PACK FOR DOGS

A handy starter kit for treating itchy skin in dogs. It includes Malaseb medicated shampoo and Pyohex leave-on conditioner.

Prevention for Bacterial Infections in Dogs

For most pets suffering from chronic or recurring pyoderma, treating the underlying cause is important to improve your pet's health. Skin creases on dogs should be cleaned on a daily basis. Depending on the position and depth of the folds, a clean, moist cloth or medicated wipe should be used.

If your pet suffers from allergies, controlling those allergies will minimize the number of skin infections. Discuss allergies with your veterinarian to decide the best treatment approach. It may include pet antibacterial pills, dietary changes, different types of flea and tick protection, shampoo, and other tools.

Further Reading

If you feel your pet is ill, contact your veterinarian right away. Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, as they have evaluated your pet. They are familiar with the pet's medical history. So they can provide the best suggestions for your pet.

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