Is your dog itching more than usual? Have you found some rough or scabby patches on your dog’s skin while petting it? There are various reasons why a dog’s skin could act up, but Pyoderma in dogs is probably the most common. This uncomfortable condition arises from an overabundance of bacteria on your dog’s skin. There are a number of conventional treatments that have varying degrees of efficacy. Although there has been a recent craze about Cannabidiol (CBD), is it any good in this situation?
What is Pyoderma in Dogs?
Pyoderma is an infection stemming from an excess buildup of regular bacteria. This results in itchy and scaly skin. The bacteria Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is the most common cause of the condition.
In more severe cases, Pyoderma can even result in ulcers and pustules. The term pyoderma actually means “pus in the skin”. The pus may not always be visible to the naked eye.
Pyoderma mainly forms in warm, moist environments. Another common cause is if your dog’s immune system is off-balance in some way.
Symptoms of Pyoderma
- Blood or pus on the skin
- Scabbing and/or crusting of the bloody patches
- A foul odor coming from the affected areas of the skin
- Loss of hair
- Excessive itching
- A Rash anywhere on the body
- Dry skin and/or scaling
- Sensitivity to touch
- Excessive swelling
- Ulcerated portions of the skin
- Yellow papules
The 3 Types of Pyoderma
Depending on the severity and depth of the infection, it will fall into one of three variants of pyoderma.
This happens when the bacteria multiply on the surface of the skin (thereby causing an inflammatory response). Surface pyoderma does not actually invade the deeper layers of the skin. Surface pyodermas also include:
- Fold pyodermas (intertrigo): These flair-ups occur under the folds of a dogs skin.
- Hot spots (also referred to as pyotraumatic dermatitis)
- Mucocutaneous pyoderma, which is a variant of surface pyoderma that mostly affects German Shepherds.
This happens when the bacteria infect the superficial layers of the skin that lie immediately underneath the outermost layer of the skin and the part of the hair follicle above the sebaceous duct. This is the most common kind of pyoderma and it includes “puppy pyoderma”.
This happens when the bacteria have infected the deepest layers of the skin or the hair follicle. This can occur with or without the follicle erupting into an inflamed patch.
German shepherds seem especially prone to a more extensive and severe form of deep pyoderma.
It should be noted that there a number of potentially confusing terms that are associated with the overall condition of pyoderma. In general, these are just specific types and your veterinarian will likely use the term “pyoderma” to describe the overall condition.
What Causes Pyoderma in Dogs?
Although Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is the most common causes of pyoderma in dogs. There are other staphylococcal strains have been implicated in cases of pyoderma (S. Schleifer, S. aureus, and S. Lugdunensis).
Essentially, what happens is that these regular strains of bacteria end up “over colonizing” the skin and hair follicles. When this environment occurs it can cause pyoderma to develop. This overabundance of bacteria is usually secondary to some other factor, including:
- An allergic reaction
- Some kind of deficiency in the immune system (usually due to medication, cancer, a virus, liver disease, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease, or old age).
- The need to take immune-suppressing drugs
- Some kind of physical trauma to the skin (scratches, bug bites, cuts, lacerations, mange, chemical irritation, or skin tumors).
- Warm, moist environments
- A hormone imbalance in your dog (endocrinopathy)
Anyone of these pre-existing factors could trigger the development of a full-blown pyoderma eruption in your dog.
Veterinarian diagnosis for pyoderma in dogs
The process of properly diagnosing what is causing the pyoderma can be tricky for your veterinarian. It will likely begin with a full physical examination. They will closely inspect the areas that are exhibiting the symptoms.
The veterinarian will also want to develop a thorough history of your dog’s health. You may have to assist them in developing a timeline of the symptoms. This can prove extremely helpful in determining the precise treatment your dog needs for its particular form of pyoderma.
Your veterinarian may also have to collect samples of your dog’s skin during this examination. This process is known as “skin scraping”. These samples are then analyzed under a microscope to determine precisely what form of pyoderma your dog is suffering from. The veterinarian may also order:
- A complete blood count
- A biochemistry profile
- A urinalysis
These will help identify any underlying conditions. If present you may need to address this before the overlying pyoderma can be dealt with. The veterinarian will advise you on what to do if your dog has an underlying issue.
How Do You Treat Pyoderma in Dogs?
There are a few steps that need to be taken in order to properly treat your dog’s pyoderma. First, you will need to shave the areas around the infection. Doing this gives you a more accurate sense of the damage. Removing the fur will also allow better absorption of topical medications.
Furthermore, your veterinarian will likely prescribe a full body cleansing with an antibacterial shampoo. This shampoo must be kept on your dog’s skin for at least ten minutes before rinsing. Do this in order to make it truly effective. Your veterinarian may also instruct you to continue bathing routines to further treat the condition.
These antibiotic baths should be given two to three times a week for the first two weeks. Once the infection has largely disappeared, the antibiotic baths can be reduced to once or twice a week.
Oral antibiotics will likely be prescribed for several weeks. This is to ensure that the infection is totally under control. These antibiotics should be taken for at least one week after all lesions or pustules have gone away.
Antibiotics for pyoderma
There are two primary oral antibiotics: Simplicef or Clavamox. Each of these can be effective. However, be cautious, they carry the risk of side effects or allergic reactions.
Possible side effects of Simplicef
- yeast infection
- loss of appetite
Possible allergic reaction to Simplicef (symptoms)
- Swelling of the face, lips, and/or tongue
- Shortness of breath
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
Side effects of Clavamox may include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Sudden weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in respiration or heartbeat
Grooming for dogs with pyoderma
Grooming may also be crucial in the treatment. The coat should be clipped in dogs with deep pyoderma. They often recommend professional grooming for dogs having medium to long hair with general superficial pyoderma. Clipping will remove excess hair that can trap debris and bacteria.
Possible underlying conditions of pyoderma in dogs
Finally, it may be important to identify if your dog has any of the following underlying conditions:
- Cushing’s disease
- Allergies that affect your dog’s skin
- Hormonal imbalances
These underlying conditions will have to be dealt with before you can properly treat the pyoderma. If you don’t the pyoderma will return following treatment.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabis extract. It is extracted from the stems, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant. It belongs to the group of compounds known as cannabinoids. These compounds interact with receptors in the dog’s body. These receptors make up the control and regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This ECS controls many important functions in your dog’s body.
Functions the ECS helps control
- Sleep cycles
- Pain responses
- The nervous system
- Inflammation all over the body
- Healthy blood sugar levels
- Stable appetite
- The immune system
How May CBD Oil Treat Pyoderma in Dogs?
It is important to know that CBD is not approved or meant to prevent, treat, or cure any diseases. We simply know that CBD interacts with the ECS.
Remember that pyoderma is a dysfunction of your dog’s immune system. This causes a rise of staphylococcal bacteria. These conditions trigger a massive inflammatory response. We physically see this process as inflammation and scaling of the skin. This will likely result in your dog scratching compulsively. Constant itching irritates the skin which creates a “hot spot” and potentially a secondary infection.
The ECS helps regulate your dog’s immune response. It is responsible for keeping your dog’s body in a state of homeostasis, or balance. This homeostasis may allow your dog to keep bacterium strains at healthy levels.
CBD may be useful for soothing irritation of the skin. CBD may also be helpful in promoting a dog’s healthy skin and coat.
What Are the Side Effects of Using CBD Oil for Dogs?
There are a few side effects that may affect your dog when using CBD oil.
Possible CBD side effects
- Dry mouth – CBD can lower your dog’s saliva production (increase in thirst).
- Lower blood pressure – If administering a particularly high dose, CBD may cause a temporary drop in blood pressure. This will usually manifest as a brief period of light-headedness.
- Drowsiness – This is particularly true when using very high doses of CBD.
It is important to note that these side effects are quite rare and that CBD is generally safe for your dog. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “In general, CBD has been found to have relatively low toxicity…” in animals. Our CBD is 100% natural, vegan, and organic.