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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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How to Treat Your Dog's Bacterial Skin Infection

Bacterial skin infections in dogs often result from an underlying immune disorder. The most common predisposing causes include allergies (inhalant/contact, food, and/or flea bite). Hormonal conditions such as hypothyroidism or Cushing's Disease of the adrenal gland, and diseases such as liver disease, kidney disease, and even cancer may predispose many dogs to bacterial skin infections. Symptoms of skin infections (also known as pyoderma) include scaling, crustiness, hair loss, and the development of papules, pustules, and pus/discharge on the skin. Your veterinarian can diagnosis pyoderma by visual exam; however, definitive diagnosis may require examination of hair and discharge, and skin cultures of the lesions. Follow the steps below to treat your dog's bacterial skin infection:

Clean the infection or wound

Most dogs with bacterial skin infections should have the affected areas flushed and cleaned as often as possible. In cases where the hair is matted, it may be necessary to have the hair clipped in order to allow air to access to the areas and give the infection ample opportunity to heal. Topical antibacterial soaps and shampoos can help such as KetoChlor Shampoo or Malapet Shampoo. It is often necessary to shampoo pets once to twice a week, while also using any prescribed antibiotic therapy for maximal chances of recovery.

Kill bacteria and provide itch relief

Many excellent topical antibacterial products can be used with antibiotic and shampoo therapy. An excellent product, Be Soothed Tea Tree Oil Skin Relief contains natural tea tree oil, which is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal compound. It can be applied up to 2-3 times daily on affected areas of the skin. Betagen Topical Spray is another effective product that contains the antibiotic gentamycin and the anti-inflammatory betamethasone, and is particularly useful in localized areas of infection as well as hot spots in dogs.

Consult your veterinarian

Bacterial skin infections often occur in dogs secondarily to underlying skin allergies, hormonal (endocrine) disorders, or other internal disease. Through a combination of shampoo therapy and antibiotics, the prognosis for your dog's recovery from a bacterial skin infection is excellent.

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