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The primary cause of pyoderma in dogs is Staphylococcus intermedius.
Pyoderma is the second most common inflammatory skin disease of dogs. Flea allergy is most common and often complicated by secondary pyoderma.
The major predisposing factors for pyoderma in the US are allergic dermatitis and chronic use of glucocorticoids.

Pyoderma is classified by:

Depth of lesion
surface pyodermas
superficial pyodermas
deep pyodermas

The duration :

acute - positive response to antibiotics  
recurrent - relapses after antibiotic therapy  

Treatment for pyoderma:

Initial presentation: 
empirical antibiotic therapy  
topical antimicrobial therapy 
Recurrent pyoderma:  
antibiotics with greater efficacy  
topical antimicrobial therapy 

Question and Answer

What is pyoderma?

Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the skin. It is very common in dogs and uncommon in cats. Pyoderma frequently occurs as a secondary problem to some underlying condition or health problem.

What causes pyoderma?

Pyoderma is caused most frequently by Staphylococcus, a type of bacteria. Other bacteria, such as E. coli, also can invade previously infected skin. Several risk factors may cause an animal to be more likely to develop pyoderma. These risk factors include:

Parasites, such as fleas or mange mites
Allergies, such as flea, food, contact, or hereditary allergies
Hormonal disorders, such as hypothyroidism (low production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland)
Inadequate immune system, such as in young animals or those taking steroids
Animals with short coats, skin folds, or calloused skin
Trauma from grooming, scratching, or rooting in dirt or garbage
The German shepherd dog has a deep pyoderma that may respond to treatment only partially and frequently recurs

What are the signs of pyoderma?

Pyoderma frequently appears as a rash. It often affects the trunk, chin, bridge of the nose, and feet but it also may be generalized over the entire body. Skin lesions can have a sudden or gradual onset. The animal may or may not itch. If the underlying cause is an allergy, the itching usually comes before the rash. The rash or lesions on the skin may appear as small bumps, pus-filled pimples or pockets of pus, or blood-filled blisters. There can be crusting, scaling, and discolored spots on the skin. The skin may be inflamed (red and hot). Hair loss can occur, giving the animal a "moth-eaten" look.

If a hormonal disorder is the underlying cause, signs can include excessive thirst and excessive urination, pendulous abdomen, lethargy, weight gain, or signs of feminization in male dogs.

How is pyoderma diagnosed?

Pyoderma is diagnosed upon history and physical examination and by diagnostic procedures involving the skin. Skin rashes can be caused by a variety of agents so the veterinarian will attempt to differentiate between conditions with similar skin lesions. Routine laboratory tests, such as complete blood counts (CBCs) and blood chemistries may reflect the underlying cause (for example, anemia due to hypothyroidism). Skin scrapings, allergy testing, and hormonal tests may identify the underlying cause. Microscopic examination of cells (cytology) from the skin may differentiate fungal infections from pyoderma. Cultures of the skin lesions, most preferably of an intact pustule, may reveal the causative organism or organisms. Skin biopsy (removal and examination of skin tissue) may be needed.

How is pyoderma treated?

Pets usually are treated as outpatients except for animals with severe, generalized pyodermas. These animals may require intravenous (through a vein) fluids or medications or daily whirlpool baths. A hypoallergenic diet is provided if food allergy has been determined to be the cause. Otherwise, a high-quality, well-balanced diet should be given to the pet. Excessive dietary supplements, such as vitamins, should be avoided.

Pets with pyoderma are treated with a variety of antibiotics. Some antibiotics may cause vomiting and giving them with food may avoid this side effect. Other antibiotics should not be given with food. The veterinarian will provide information on using antibiotics appropriately. Antibiotics usually are continued for one-to-three months, depending on the severity of the pyoderma. In addition to antibiotic therapy, the pet may benefit from medicated shampoos or whirlpool baths that can help remove surface debris and crusted drainage. Routine bathing with medicated shampoos may help prevent recurrences.

What is the prognosis for animals with pyoderma?

The prognosis (outcome) for animals with pyoderma is variable. If the underlying cause is identified and effectively treated, the pyoderma may resolve successfully. Otherwise, the pyoderma may not respond well to treatment or it may recur frequently.

The information on this page was obtained from the site www.vetmedcenter.com