Bacterial Skin Infections in Dogs
As with any disease, Distemper causes an infected dog’s immune system to become weaker than normal. That means, throughout their treatment and recovery period, they’re vulnerable to all sorts of harmful pathogens, including opportunistic bacteria, which typically don’t cause problems but can do so when the body’s defenses are down.
If left untreated, different strains of opportunistic bacteria can accumulate on the surface of the skin and continue to grow in number. Oftentimes, the overabundance of these bacteria lead to the development of a skin condition known as pyoderma.
What is Pyoderma?
Pyoderma is a skin disorder caused by an overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria on the surface of the skin. It causes red, itchy, scaled skin and hair loss on multiple areas of the body, including the groin, armpits, and belly. Frequently, pustules, papules, and ulcers also develop along the affected areas.
What Are the Signs of Pyoderma?
Aside from the ones mentioned above, signs of pyoderma also include bleeding of the skin, crusting around affected areas, rashes, papules, sores, bumps or swelling, foul-smelling abrasions, and increased skin sensitivity. Hot weather conditions or temperatures may worsen the condition and cause an infected dog’s skin to feel even itchier and more uncomfortable.
Other Causes of Pyoderma
Dog with Distemper usually develop pyoderma because of a particular opportunistic bacteria known as Staphylococcus intermedius. While it’s a normally harmless resident on the surface of a dog’s skin surface, it can cause a bacterial infection that results in intense itching, skin discoloration, and bald spots when uncontrolled.
Aside from Distemper, conditions that disrupt a dog’s immune function, like allergic reactions, autoimmune disorder, and immunosuppression (whether because of medications or a disease), may also cause pyoderma to develop. Dogs that have untreated wounds or stay in a warm and moist environment for long periods of time are at risk for developing pyoderma, as well.
How Is Pyoderma Diagnosed?
If your dog developed pyoderma due to Distemper, then your veterinarian may provide them with an antibiotic to help control the growth of bacteria on the skin. However, if your dog hasn’t been diagnosed with anything and you notice signs of pyoderma on their skin, then it’s best to bring them to vet right away.
Your veterinarian will most likely begin by visually examining the affected areas, before moving on to doing a complete physical examination. They may also ask you about you about your dog’s medical history and the timeline in which you started noticing the symptoms, as well as the events leading up to it.
To confirm the presence of bacteria, your veterinarian will need to take a sample of your dog’s skin through a medical technique known as skin scraping. The sample will then be sent to the laboratory for microscopic examination and culturing, which is a when bacteria is allowed to grow in a Petri dish for further testing and study.
Additionally, your veterinarian may run a series of tests, including a complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile, to identify any underlying disease or condition.
How Is Pyoderma Treated?
Like most bacterial skin infections, pyoderma is normally treated with a combination of oral and topical antibiotics. Your veterinarian will provide you with both verbal and written instructions on how to give your dog oral antibiotics.
It’s very important that you stick to it and never attempt to change the dosing or stop treatment before the indicated date. Doing so may cause the bacteria to become resistant to the medication and prevent your dog from recovering.
As for topical antibiotics, they’re usually applied in the form of a cream or an ointment. Your veterinarian may shave the affected areas to make it easier for the skin to absorb the medication.
They may also prescribe you with a medicated shampoo that contains benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine, or sulfur with salicylic acid to use on your dog two to three times a week to hasten the healing process and alleviate itching and skin discomfort.