Dog skin infections are over-represented in Naples, Estero, and Marco Island due to our environment of heat, high humidity and exposure to water. Pyoderma refers to an infection of the skin and can be bacterial, fungal, or parasitic (mites). Pyoderma in dogs is common, and is in fact one of the most frequent reasons that people bring their pet to the veterinarian. Redness, itchiness and, in some cases, partial hair loss often characterize the infection. Pyoderma treatment in dogs is typically on an outpatient basis and the prognosis is excellent.
Most skin infections are caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. In most instances, we do not consider a bacterial infection of the skin to be contagious from dog to dog or dog to person. It is most likely due an overgrowth of undesirable bacteria and a lack of the normal or “good” bacteria. Just as we don’t worry about catching pimples or acne from other people, we generally need not be concerned about the spread of these common skin infections in dogs.However, it is possible, though rare, for dogs to develop more serious bacterial infections of the skin that can be contagious.
Canine skin infections can also be caused by fungi, of whichringworm is the most common type. Most likely to be seen in young puppies, kittens, or immunocompromised animals, ringworm is a type of skin infection that is zoonotic – meaning one that is transferred from animals to humans. It generally presents as red, crusting sores on the body and is often-times itchy. While it can be a nuisance and is potentially contagious to people, the prognosis is very good with appropriate treatment.
Parasites, such as fleas and mites, can also cause skin infections. Fleas need to bite the dog’s skin to obtain their blood meal. The combination of the flea bite along with the irritation it causes can result in a skin infection.
At Town & Country Animal Hospital, we offer a variety of options to care for and treat dog skin infections, as well as care and management for many other diseases and issues, including cat skin infections and dog flea and tick infestation.