Pyoderma in Dogs: Best Prevention, and Treatment(2023)

Pyoderma in Dogs

Pyoderma is an itchy, painful skin condition that appears more serious than it is. Dogs with underlying skin, endocrine, or immune system issues are more sensitive to this form of infection, which is caused by naturally existing bacteria and results in red pustules and crusty lesions. Some mild cases will recover on their own after a few weeks, while others may require topical or oral antibiotic therapy to heal.

A veterinary evaluation is necessary because pyoderma can emerge as a result of an underlying ailment that impairs a puppy’s immune system. Pyoderma is a skin ailment that is similar to impetigo and can be caused by the same bacteria.

What is Pyoderma in Dogs?

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that causes pus-filled pimples to form crusting lesions on places with scant hair or skin folds. It frequently suggests an underlying medical issue.

Pyoderma is a bacterial skin infection that is one of the most frequent diseases in dogs. Dogs are predisposed to pyoderma due to a variety of skin characteristics. A dog’s skin, for example, has a thinner outer barrier and a higher pH than that of many other animals, making it easier for natural bacteria existing on the skin to overgrow and for other bacteria to penetrate.

Damage to the normal skin barrier also puts dogs at risk for pyoderma. This is frequently observed in pets who scratch and lick their skin. Depending on the type of pyoderma afflicting your dog, any region of the skin can get infected.

Types of Pyoderma in Dogs

Surface pyoderma affects the outer skin layer (epidermis). You may see pink, irritated skin, and hair loss. Surface pyoderma includes:

  • Pyotraumatic dermatitis (“hot spots”): This occurs quickly and is quite irritating.
  • Intertrigo: Skin fold infection, which is frequent in short-muzzled breeds like English
  • Bulldogs. Bacterial overgrowth syndrome (BOGS): The skin of the dog is greasy, itchy, and stinks. It is mainly visible on the body’s underside.

Superficial pyoderma affects the epidermis and part of the hair follicles. You may see redness, circular crusts, bumps, and hair loss. Superficial pyoderma includes:

  • Impetigo (“puppy pyoderma”): This is an illness that affects places with minimal hair, such as the abdomen, and is mainly caused by a puppy’s developing immune system.
  • Affected puppies are usually healthy in general and may simply require topical therapy in moderate situations. Adult dogs with impaired immune systems can also get impetigo.
  • Superficial bacterial folliculitis (SBF) and superficial spreading pyoderma A dog’s coat may have a “moth-eaten” appearance due to widespread hair loss. This happens in all breeds, but Shetland Sheepdogs, Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Collies may experience especially severe redness and irritation.
  • Mucocutaneous pyoderma: This type of pyoderma leads to the overproduction of mucus in the skin. The lips, nose, skin around the eyes, vulva, prepuce, and the area around the anus are most commonly affected. German Shepherds, Bichon Frisés, and Poodles may be predisposed.

Deep pyoderma affects the lower skin layers (dermis, subcutis): This can occur if superficial pyoderma goes untreated or skin follicles rupture. You may see swelling, purple-looking areas, or draining tracts of infection in addition to redness, crusting, and hair loss. Deep pyoderma includes:

  • Furunculosis is a disorder that most often occurs between a dog’s toes, but it can occur anywhere. A disorder known as post-grooming furunculosis can occur 24 to 48 hours after bathing or vigorous brushing, producing pain and fever.
  • Acne is more common in young dogs and is caused by inflammation of hair follicles (typically around the chin and mouth) that can get infected with bacteria.
  • Deep pyoderma in German Shepherds: The outer thighs, groin, and trunk are likely to be affected.
  • Lick granuloma: If your dog licks the top surface of its lower legs, it may develop a skin lesion. This could be due to a bacterial infection or another problem.
  • Callus pyoderma: This ailment manifests as dark, thicker skin over infected pressure points.

Symptoms of Pyoderma in Dogs

The signs of pyoderma are most obvious on the chin and abdomen where a dog’s hair is sparse. Look for:


  • Pustules (small, pus-filled bumps)
  • Papules (small, raised bumps)
  • Epidermal collarettes (circular lesions with crusting around the edges)
  • Flaking skin

Pyoderma can cause red, itchy skin in dogs. Circular crusts, flakiness, hair loss, and pimple-like lesions are also possible. Your dog may develop noticeable sores and pus if it has been clawing or biting its skin.

If your dog has had itchy skin for several weeks or more, the skin may become darker and thicker. Dogs with profound pyoderma may have swelling and infection-draining tracts, as well as low energy, loss of appetite, trembling, or other indicators of pain.

Causes of Pyoderma in Dogs

Pyoderma is frequently the result of another illness or disease process. It can happen as a result of:

Prior to conducting more testing for the underlying cause, a bacterial infection may need to be treated. Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, which accounts for more than 90% of cases, is the most typical bacterial infection that causes pyoderma. Normally found on the skin, this type of bacterium can become more prevalent and create issues if the skin barrier is compromised.

Other causes include Staphylococcus schleiferi and Staphylococcus aureus (which, in rare cases, can spread to humans), as well as invaders like E. coli, Pseudomonas, Actinomyces, Nocardia, and others.

How Do Vets Diagnose Pyoderma in Dogs?

A physical exam and skin cytology tests will be performed by your veterinarian to evaluate the presence of bacterial, fungal, or mite infestations. This will aid in the identification of pyoderma and confirm or rule out alternative causes of skin irritation.

Following the diagnosis of pyoderma, more testing should be undertaken to establish if there is an underlying condition that promoted the skin infection.

How to Treat Pyoderma

Pyoderma is generally easy to treat. Some cases may even resolve on their own without treatment or with a medicated shampoo alone. If a dog’s pyoderma seems resistant to healing, then a course of topical or oral antibiotics may help. Keeping the skin clean and dry will also speed healing.

Prognosis for Dogs with Pyoderma

Pyoderma is rarely fatal and normally stays localized, rarely spreading or leading to deeper skin infections. Flare-ups may occur intermittently in a dog, but addressing any underlying allergy, immune system, or endocrine abnormalities will help reduce the frequency and severity of problems.

Pyoderma is not communicable in the same way that impetigo is. When people or other animals with healthy skin and immune systems are exposed to the bacteria, they normally do not cause any problems. It is still safer to limit the transmission of these pathogens by practicing good hygiene after petting a dog with pyoderma.

How to Prevent Pyoderma

Pyoderma has a specific etiology that isn’t entirely understood, so prevention isn’t always viable. Good preventative strategies include maintaining your dog’s coat in good condition and seeking routine veterinary care to manage any underlying issues.


Pyoderma in Dogs is a prevalent skin condition that can affect our beloved pets. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and preventive measures, we can ensure a healthier and happier life for our canine companions. If you suspect your dog has Pyoderma or any skin issue, always consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. With proper care and attention, you can help your dog overcome Pyoderma and enjoy a comfortable life.

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