Bacterial infections in pets often develop in skin that has been traumatized and irritated by excessive rubbing, chewing, and itching. Pyoderma is therefore a frequent complication of skin diseases. Pyoderma literally means "pus in the skin" and can result from infectious, inflammatory, and/or cancerous causes. Inflamed pus-filled swellings may develop on the skin, and in some cases partial hair loss characterizes the infection. Symptoms may also include itchiness, pustules, crusted skin, excessive scaliness, small raised lesions, and dried discharge. These bacterial infections are usually triggered by an overgowth of normal resident flora of the skin.
The most common causes of bacterial infections of the skin include allergies (inhalant/contact, food, or flea bite allergies), internal diseases (hormonal disorders of the thyroid or adrenal gland), seborrheic conditions, or parasitic diseases. In some breeds and in prolonged cases, infection can go deep into the skin and surrounding tissues, which is known as a deep pyoderma. These infections often take many weeks to months of antibiotic and topical therapy to resolve.
When pets have been diagnosed with a bacterial infection of the skin, it is important for pet guardians to consider using special types of antibacterial shampoos to help treat the infection. These shampoos not only help flush the bacteria out of the hair follicles, but also help to directly kill bacteria involved with the skin problem. It is usually best to leave shampoos on your pet for 7-10 minutes before rinsing them off, which also allows for better penetration into the skin. Many available shampoos contain antibiotics such as chlorihexiderm and/or antifungal products. Some recommended shampoos include Malapet Shampoo and KetoChlor Shampoo.
Antibacterial sprays can be quite helpful in managing bacterial skin infections in pets. These sprays should be used after the areas are thoroughly cleaned with an antibacterial soap or pet shampoo. The sprays will have several hours of residual antibacterial effect and can often be used up to 2-3 times daily. A few recommended products for this include Be Soothed Tea Tree Oil Skin Relief (for dogs only) which contains a natural antimicrobial tea tree oil compound. Another excellent product for dogs is Betagen Topical Spray, which contains a combination of an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory cortisone compound.
When confronted with bacterial infections of the skin, veterinarians often use wound cleaners and bandages that may help prevent further bacterial colonization and kill any existing infections on the skin. Silver Sulfadiazine Cream 1% helps wounds and burns heal much faster, and prevents burns from becoming secondarily infected. Liquid bandages are also beneficial because they act as a protective barrier to prevent refinection, allowing the wound to properly heal.