Saturday, August 7, 2010

Question: Skin infection in Dogs?

Dr. Schaeberle,

My collie was diagnosed with a skin infection but all I am able to see is small red circular skin lesions. I think it look more like ringworm. Is it really a skin infection?



Hi Wyatt,

The fancy term for skin infection is pyoderma. The most common clinical signs associated with pyoderma are lesions that look is similar to acne in humans. They are often red and raised, with a white pus filled center. Skin infection usual occurs secondary to scratching or licking from diseases such as allergies or mange. Common areas to find skin infection include the belly and feet.

Collies can develop skin infections that include circular patches (1 -2 inches in diameter) ,with a crusting noted in the periphery of the lesion. The most common area we see this form of a pyoderma is on the belly but may also be found over the back. Large breeds such as dobermans and great danes, can develop skin infections on their chins much like teenagers. Other breeds such as Cocker spaniels and schnauzers have a genetic predisposition to a pyoderma on their backs. Some dogs may be mildly itchy but many have no clinical signs other than the circular lesions on the skin.

Cats can also develop pyoderma, usually the infection is found near their mouth and chin area.

So how do we treat skin infection? Because hormonal diseases such as a hypothyroidism may predispose a pet to skin infection, testing may be needed. But, in general antibiotics used for a minimum of three weeks will clear up most skin infections.

Thomas Schaeberle, V.M.D.

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