Canine Skin Infections and Conditions
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Canine Skin Infections and Conditions

Skin conditions are common in dogs and treatment depends on the type of infection and its' underlying causes. Once diagnosed, your vet will advise you on appropriate treatment for bacterial, fungal infections and pyoderma.

A common problem with dogs is skin infections. Youmight  find your dog constantly scratching, licking and biting at himself. He may be afflicted by a fungal or bacterial skin infection. Once diagnosed, the infection is easily remedied. Some breeds of dog are more susceptible to these infections, though any dog may develop a problem at some time in his life for various reasons.

There can be many different causes of skin infections in your dog. It is important to match the characteristics of each cause with the symptoms in order to understand your dog’s condition. Your dog’s skin is the habitat for a number of environmental and dermal germs, which can grow and cause skin disorders. The skin is also very sensitive towards environmental and parasitic allergens. There are three tiers of skin disorders in your dog; the surface of the skin, deep in soft tissues, and at the base of the hair. A common cause for skin infections are parasites, unclean open wounds, allergies, E-coli and hot spots. Your dog can get a fungal infection from a parasite, which can become a bacterial infection and lead to a secondary pyoderma.

Knowing all the signs and symptoms of your dog’s skin disorder will help your veterinarian in determining a treatment. If you see any type of wound, skin rash, pimples, possible lumps, tumors or visible parasites, contact your veterinarian. If any of the sores are inflamed or appear to be filled with puss, it is a good indicator of a bacterial or fungal infection and should be treated quickly.

In order to diagnose the condition, a thorough exam will be performed. Your veterinarian will get a medical history of your dog and take skin scraping samples of any visible sores for a microscopic exam. Sometimes your veterinarian may require a blood sample. From these samples, it is determined whether the skin condition is bacterial, fungal or a secondary pyoderma, which is a secondary bacterial condition developed from a fungal infection.

Treatment for pyoderma involves an antibiotic and topical ointment to heal any lesions or sores. The antibiotic treatment is usually prescribed for more than a month to ensure that the infection is eliminated from the dog's system, also reducing a chance for recurrence. It is sometimes recommended to give your dog a soothing medicated bath. For a fungal infection, the affected areas should be trimmed or shaved. Then use a fungicidal shampoo for bathing your dog. Your veterinarian may also prescribe a topical anti-fungal medication. In more serious cases of parasite infestation and the associated fungal infection, a lime sulphur dip may be administered prior to other treatment. A fungal infection should be treated as soon as any symptoms of parasites are visible so the condition does not worsen and develop into a secondary bacterial infection.

There is no guarantee that your dog will ever ward off all skin conditions. Some skin conditions are due to allergies, which would require medical testing in order to pinpoint the exact problem. Most other problems are due to injuries, unclean conditions and parasites. If your dog has developed any type of open wound, speak with your veterinarian regarding any special treatment to keep the injury clean. With proper treatment, the sore should heal without infection or chance for bacteria growth. Sometimes, the only preventative for a serious problem is a very observant pet owner. During the seasons of extreme parasite breeding—usually hot summers—check your dog often for any minor bites and sores so that you can remedy the problem before a condition develops.


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