Just like people, your dog's skin is covered in a micro-cosmic soup of bacteria and fungi that live in harmony on the surface of the skin. The skin barrier and skin microbiome work together to help protect the body from external aggressors. If this tiny ecosystem gets out of balance, an abnormal amount of bacteria or fungi can cause skin inflammation or dermatitis.
Skin infections can be triggered by an underlying disease, such as:
- External parasites
- An endocrine disease
- Allergies against flea bites, environmental allergens or food ingredients.
Hot, humid weather, skin irritations (such as a harness that rubs the skin), or even medications such as antibiotics or corticosteroids can all be risk factors.
It occurs when the skin’s natural defenses are out of balance, allowing an overgrowth of common skin bacteria to invade the skin. Other organisms, such as fungi, can also take advantage of the skin changes and multiply.
Skin infections can occur anywhere on the body. You'll see reddened skin that may be oozing or scabbed over. Inflammation also causes itching, and excessive licking or scratching will cause or exacerbate skin lesions. Ear infections will cause your cat to shake its head frequently and scratch its ears. It's critical that you visit your veterinarian as soon as you notice any signs of problems.
An overgrowth of pathogenic organisms can cause skin irritation, hair loss, and reddened, greasy, smelly, skin with affected patches becoming darker (hyperpigmentation).
In chronic cases, the skin will also become thicker. The arm pits, groin, lower neck, ears, feet, and nail beds are most commonly affected. The hair in those areas may become red-stained from chronic infections.
If you notice any unusual behaviors such as excessive licking or scratching, or notice hair loss, a change in skin color or bad odor, it's critical that you take your dog to the veterinarian.
Your veterinarian will most likely do a cytology exam to verify the infection and identify the culprit. If caught early enough, a topical product such as DOUXO® S3 PYO, can clean and disinfect your dog's skin, treating the infection. Your veterinarian may recommend topical therapy with DOUXO® S3 PYO and oral medication. This is a multi-modal approach, to treat the infection with both medication and topical therapy. The topical therapy will also help repair the skin barrier and restore the delicate ecosystem of your dog's skin.