Skin infections in dogs are more common than we might think, and, if not treated properly, they can break through the skin barrier and settle in other organs; they can even cause septicemia and the dog’s death.
These infections are known as pyoderma and can be of different degrees: surface, superficial, and sincere. The first two exclusively affect the epidermal tissue – a more superficial layer of the skin – and the last one damages the dermis and deeper tissues.
The most frequent symptoms in surface and superficial pyoderma are redness, papules, pustules, scaling, scabs, alopecia, and pruritus. In the case of deep pyoderma, the epidermal lesions we find are more painful, and itching rarely appears. They are ulcers, hemorrhagic bullae, and nodules, which in most cases secrete blood along with other infectious fluids.
We must be very cautious with dog skin infections; In most cases, they are zoonotic and can be spread to humans. The microorganisms most commonly present in these infections are Staphylococcus intermedius and Staphylococcus aureus.
Use of special shampoos
The treatment of pyoderma should be both topical and systemic. For topical treatment, shampoos are the best option because they penetrate the skin well. The most used are those that have one of these components:
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Ethyl lactate
The use of these shampoos helps to debride the injured skin, which favors healing, reduces pain, and itching. The frequency of use is at least twice a week, although a veterinarian should determine this.
Fluoroquinolones to treat skin infections in dogs
Fluoroquinolones are a group of broad-spectrum antibiotics (they fight a wide range of bacteria). The therapeutic efficacy of these drugs has been demonstrated in 85.4% of cases. However, for 4.9% of dogs, it was not a cure.
The main problems of fluoroquinolones are that they can cause what is known as bacterial resistance; After treatment, a group of bacteria, which were not a problem at first, creates resistance to the antibiotic and grows exponentially. This causes the appearance of new untreatable infections.
Rifampicins to treat skin infections in dogs
The rifampin is another group of commonly used antibiotics to combat chronic pyoderma deep. In these cases, this type of medicines, and not others is used because of its ability to penetrate deep tissues at a sufficient concentration to kill bacteria.
Like fluoroquinolones, they can cause bacterial resistance, since it is also a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
What to deal with skin infections in dogs?
The treatment of skin infections is generally empirical. Depending on the severity of the case, the use of topical antiseptic and antibiotic treatments (mupirocin or fusidic acid) begins.
The use of systemic antibiotics is reserved for more severe cases. However, the indiscriminate use of these drugs, without the previous microbiological study, has led to an increase in bacterial resistance, in addition to the inappropriate use of certain antibiotics, such as penicillin or methicillin, which have proven useless for the treatment of Staphylococcus sp.