If you've noticed a patch on your dog's coat that looks raw and bruised or has a crusted lesion, it's probably a canine staph infection that you're dealing with. Every dog has on its skin certain bacteria called Staphylococcus bacteria. This bacteria lives in the free environment or is simply present on the skin of an animal. It does not cause any harm, until of course the time the dog suffers a wound or gets a cut and the bacteria is allowed to travel into the skin. Then it multiplies and causes a staph infection to break out.
The infection could also be caused due to an allergic reaction which causes the dog to scratch the surface of the skin and therefore leads to cuts and as a result, open pores. Another possibility is that the bacteria can infect the ears and cause an infection and thereby travel into the body in that manner.
So what is a staph infection? This infection is also called staphylococci or pyoderma. This type of skin infection affects a major number of dogs and is a rather common problem. The following article will tell you a little more about this illness and what it involves.
If you look through some staph infection pictures, you'll have a clearer idea of the symptoms that this infection carries. Some of these are:
- Skin rashes appear typically on the feet and head. Chin acne might also develop as a result of this.
- Yellow pustules occur on the skin.
- Observe your dog's behavior and see if he scratches himself often. This happens because the wounds are usually itchy.
- There is sudden and drastic hair loss in the area where the staph infection has taken place.
- Blisters with pus or blood might appear.
- Skin might become hard, crusted and flaky around the abdomen and the area where the infection had taken place.
- This often affects the areas between the folds of the toes and causes calluses to appear on the elbows.
- There might also be a strong odor given off.
Since it is a skin disorder, many people are worried whether it is contagious. No it isn't. Staph infections occur as a secondary reaction to some other condition, therefore, this infection cannot be caught by people from dogs. However, is staph infection contagious in a person to person contact? Maybe. But for now, let's concentrate on the staph infection that can be caught on by dogs. What exactly causes this infection and how is one to treat it is what we will be looking into in the following section.
Consult a Vet
It doesn't matter if all the symptoms indicate a staph infection, it is imperative that you consult a doctor for the sake of your dog's health. A staph infection is usually caused due to an underlying reason like allergies, hypothyroidism, reaction to certain chemicals, weakened immune system and others. Only a vet will be able to diagnose the infection and administer the right treatment.
Cleaning the Wound
The first step is to clean the wound well. This might require you to shave off some of the hair that surrounds the wound so that it is easier to access and treat the wound. Next, a shampoo that has anti-bacterial and antibiotic qualities should be used to clean the entire area. A good choice for this is a soap containing benzoyl peroxide.
Oral antibiotic medication is usually administered and the course lasts for about 3-6 weeks. Along with that, application of an antibiotic medication on the lesions is important. One can also bathe the dog with an antibiotic shampoo. Immune stimulants are also prescribed for strengthening the dog's depleted immune system and to prevent the onset of an infection again.
Since the wounds are extremely itchy, the dog will constantly try to scratch and gnaw at them. Which will only lead to the wound opening up and bleeding again, thus delaying the healing process. The vet might therefore ask the owners to follow a process of cleaning the wound with an antibiotic cream and then covering it with a bandage so that the dog cannot gnaw at it. There are also protective collars available that can help with the healing process.
Given time, the staph infection will be cured. Understand that staph infection in dogs can recur if one neglects to maintain high standards of hygiene in the place where they dwell (especially after an infection). So make sure that you maintain clean living conditions for your pet and are especially alert in detecting any sort of canine skin disease affecting the dog.