Sandra R. Merchant, DVM, Diplomate ACVD

Carol S. Foil, DVM, Diplomate ACVD

Staphylococcal Folliculitis and Furunculosis

Pyoderma is caused by bacterial infection of the skin. The causative organism is almost always Staphylococcus intermedius (not the same Staph that usually infects people).


Bacteria will not usually cause disease on normal skin, but other underlying skin diseases cause some changes in the skin surface making it susceptible to infection, leading to pyoderma. Common underlying causes of pyoderma include allergic diseases (food allergy, atopy, flea allergy); parasites (demodectic or sarcoptic mange), seborrhea and hormonal imbalances Dogs with any of these problems tend to have recurrent or relapsing pyoderma.

Since pyoderma is usually secondary to an underlying problem, it is often important to diagnose and treat the primary problem while treating the pyoderma. Treatment of the pyoderma itself includes oral antibiotics and special shampoos, sprays or rinses.

The deeper the skin infection, the longer the course of antibiotics that will be needed. It is important to give the full dose of antibiotics for the entire time prescribed regardless of how much better the skin looks. Stopping the antibiotic before the prescription is finished may lead to further problems such as resistance to the antibiotic or the need to start treatment from the beginning. The underlying skin problem may need to be corrected in some cases, before antibiotics can be completely effective.

It is equally important to keep your recheck appointment. Medications may need to be modified at that time depending upon the pet's progress. Again, diagnosis and treatment of the primary problem is the key to preventing a recurrence.

The recommended treatment for your pet is as follows: (your veterinarian will give you specific instructions)

1) Antibiotics: Give ___ capsules/tablets ___ times a day for ___ weeks. (Drug ________ Strength________)

Give antibiotics along with food unless otherwise instructed.

2) Shampoos: Bathe_____ times a week with ___________ shampoo. Leave on skin ______ minutes before rinsing. Rinse well.

3) Other medications: ___________________________________________________________

Please make a recheck appointment for ______________ .