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Pyoderma is a bacterial infection of the skin which may involve different layers. Superficial pyodermas are within the skin near the surface and can often be recognized by the presence of circular crusting lesions or red pimples. Deep pyodermas occur when bacteria invade structures beneath and beyond the hair follicle. This can be recognized in most cases because pus can be expressed from the skin lesions.

Staphylococcus intermedius is considered to be the prime bacterial pathogen of the skin. The bacteria rarely infect normal skin, but can if there are injured or inflamed skin surfaces.

The development of a pyoderma depends upon several factors. The most important is the host's response to bacterial invasion. Some of the more common causes of recurrent or deep pyodermas are:

  • Drug-induced (i.e. cortisone)
  • Immune deficiency or depression
  • Hormonal (i.e. hypothyroid, Cushings disease)
  • Allergic (pollen allergy, flea allergy, food allergy)
  • Parasitic (i.e. demodicosis, scabies, fleas)
  • Keratinization abnormalities (i.e. Seborrhea)
  • Immune-mediated (i.e. pemphigus, Lupus)
  • Fungal (ringworm)
  • Staph hypersensitivity (allergy to their own bacteria)
  • Neoplasia (cancer)

The workup for a pyoderma is quite variable and depends on the severity and duration of the problem, previous response to treatment, and initial clinical impression. The workup may include:

  • Test: Skin smear
    Indications: Type of bacteria,allergy,immune-mediated
  • Test: Skin scrapings
    Indications: Parasites
  • Test: Fungal culture
    Indications: Ringworm
  • Test: Skin biopsies
    Indications: Hormonal, immune mediated, allergy, fungal, bacterial, parasitic
  • Test: Urinalysis
    Indications: Internal diseases
  • Test: CBC, blood panel
    Indications: Internal diseases
  • Test: Thyroid abnormalities
    Indications: Thyroid gland abnormality
  • Test: Cortisol abnormalities
    Indications: Adrenal abnormality
  • Test: Culture
    Indications: Type of bacteria and antibiotic to use
  • Test: Histamine test
    Indications: Drug interference
  • Test: Skin testing
    Indications: Atopy (pollen allergy)

Treatment for pyodermas also can be quite variable. Correction or control of the underlying cause is one of our goals. All pyodermas will need to be on antibiotics for a MINIMUM of 21 days. Topical therapy is often indicated in the form of special shampoos.The prognosis for most superficial pyodermas is good. The deep pyodermas are much more difficult to cure/control. The information gained from the laboratory tests will give us a more precise diagnosis and prognosis. Occasionally, after all of the causes have been eliminated, the pyoderma returns. In these cases, immune stimulating drugs will be tried.

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Allergy, Skin, and Ear Clinic For Pets


31205 Five Mile Road Livonia, MI 48154

Clinic Hours

Monday: 9 am - 7 pm
Tuesday: 9 am - 7 pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 9 am - 7 pm
Friday: 9 am - 7 pm
Saturday: 9 am - 1 pm