Canine pyoderma is most commonly caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, but other species of staphylococcus have been identified.4 A strain of staphylococcus called methicillin-resistant staphylococci (MRS) can be zoonotic — meaning it can transfer from pets to humans.
When it comes to MRS pseudintermedius, healthy humans are generally at a low risk of catching it from their dog. However, immunocompromised individuals may be at an increased risk.4 After your vet diagnoses the type of pyoderma your pup has, they can tell you if it’s contagious.
With pyoderma in dogs, symptoms can vary based on any underlying conditions and the severity of the infection. Some of the most common signs of surface and superficial pyoderma include:1,2
- Excessive itching
- Pustules (similar to human pimples)
- Welts (may look similar to hives)
- Bald patches
Dogs with deep pyoderma may show some of the following signs around affected areas:1
- Pain or swelling
- Secretions of pus and blood
- Blisters or ulcerations
Diagnosing pyoderma is typically based on the clinical signs your dog presents. Your vet will likely run some other tests — like a blood panel, skin cytology, skin and fungal cultures, antibody tests, and allergy tests — to find out which bacteria is causing the infection or if there are underlying conditions to blame.1
For pyoderma in dogs, treatment typically includes antibiotics for 3 – 4 weeks. If your pup experiences recurrent, long-term, or deep pyoderma, antibiotic treatment may last 8 – 12 weeks.1 Your vet may also prescribe topical antibiotics — like medicated shampoos, wipes, and sprays — to help remove skin buildup and decrease itchiness, oil, and odor.
It’s recommended that you use medicated shampoos to bathe your dog 1 – 2 times per week for a few weeks; however, dogs with deep pyoderma may require daily baths.1 This can be a bit of a tricky process, as medicated shampoos typically need to be left on your dog’s coat and skin for about 10 minutes to be the most effective. Your vet will give you bathing instructions based on your dog's condition.
Fortunately, most cases of surface and superficial pyoderma clear up with proper antibiotic treatment. Deep or chronic pyoderma, as well as underlying conditions causing pyoderma, can increase treatment length and require additional help. Following your vet’s treatment instructions carefully can be key in reducing recurrent episodes or the severity of them.2
Proper grooming can also help manage more complex cases of pyoderma. Keep your dog clean, dry, and their coat trimmed — especially around skin folds and higher-risk areas.1 You may be able to ask your vet for grooming recommendations or take them to a professional dog groomer.
Whether your pup needs long-term treatment, a one-time treatment, or a more complex plan due to underlying conditions, having a pet insurance policy with MetLife Pet can help you make pyoderma costs more affordable. Wondering if pet insurance is worth it for you? Take a look at a family we helped cover after their dog’s pyoderma diagnosis.
Sprinkles, a goldendoodle puppy from Arizona, was itching a lot. Her owners noticed some welts and redness around her groin area when they were giving her tummy rubs, so they took her to the vet to get it checked out. Sprinkles was diagnosed with pyoderma — with the exam and treatment costing about $870. Luckily, her parents had a MetLife Pet dog insurance policy and got over $780 reimbursed. Sprinkles is back to being itch free and enjoying plenty of belly rubs.5
Get customizable, award-winning6 pet insurance from MetLife Pet, so you can focus on your dog’s care instead of the vet bills. Start by getting your free, personalized quote today.