What are Skin Infections?
Dogs and cats are often susceptible to skin infections. Common cat and dog skin infections include bacterial (superficial pyoderma) and yeast (malassezia dermatitis). Bacterial infections tend to be more common in dogs than cats. It is caused by bacteria that is part of the normal flora of the skin and usually develops on the superficial layers of the skin.
The common symptoms and of Bacterial Skin Infections include:
- Pustules (inflamed pus-filled bumps)
- Dried discharge
- Rancid odor
- Excessive shedding
- Hair loss
The common symptoms and of Yeast Skin Infections include:
- Greasy skin
- Rancid odor
What Causes Skin Infections?
When there is cut or wound, infection also develops in the inner folds of the skin and increases the risk of infection – this is known as deep pyoderma. Certain breeds such as dog and cat breeds with skin folds and pressure calluses, German Shepherds with short hair, dogs with Staphylococcus intermedius and cats with Pasturella multocida are more prone to bacterial infections of the skin.
If an animal is allergic to fleas, parasites or food ingredients, or suffers from hyperthyroidism or a fungal infection, there is an increased risk of developing this infection.
Yeast skin infection manifests itself on your pet’s neck, ears, armpits, groin and anal area. It is caused by a common yeast organism known as Malassezia pachydermatitis. Yeast usually lives harmlessly on the skin but if large quantities of yeast are present, then disease can occur.
This infection develops if the animal suffers from allergies, has seborrhoea (increase in oil production of the skin) or there is an immune deficiency. Dog breeds such as the Cocker spaniel, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Shetland sheepdog, Basset hound, Maltese and Westland Highland White Terrier are predisposed to yeast infections.
Diagnosing Skin Infections
The diagnosis of skin infections in cats and dogs are based on the symptoms, thorough physical examination and review of your pet’s medical history. Samples of your pet’s skin will be taken to determine the type of infection and in certain cases; a biopsy will also be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Help for Skin Infections
Treatment depends on the type of skin infection and its cause. For bacterial skin infections (superficial pyoderma), antibiotics, and antibacterial shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide may be prescribed. In order for the treatment to be effective, the full course of treatment should be completed.
For the treatment of mild yeast infections (malassezia dermatitis), topical therapy such as anti-fungal shampoos and leave-in conditioners are prescribed. More severe cases of yeast infections requires systemic therapy such as Ketoconazole, itraconazole and fluconazole. In addition, a vinegar and water rinse combination can also be used as a long-term maintenance treatment.
Natural and holistic treatments have been used for centuries to heal, soothe and condition feline and canine skin infections. Herbal and homeopathic remedies are a safe, natural alternative to conventional medications that is gentle enough to use on your pet’s skin.
Herbs and biochemic salts such as Equisetum arvense (Horsetail), Taraxacum officinalis (Dandelion), Arthrospira platenis (Spirulina), and Kalium sulphate helps to maintain healthy skin and a glossy coat while also supporting the immune system.
Homeopathic ingredients Arum triph, Viola tri, Comocladia, Chamomilla and Cina support skin health and provides symptomatic relief for itchiness, scratching, redness and burning of the skin.
More Information on Skin Infections
Tips to prevent and manage skin infections
There are several things that you can do to prevent the onset of skin infections as well as manage them:
- Feed your pet an all natural diet without preservatives, additives or colorants
- Avoid making sudden changes to your pet’s diet. Gradually introduce new foods and then monitor what effect they have on your pet
- Avoid feeding your pet table scraps, sugary or salty foods
- Always provide fresh, clean water to cleanse the body’s system and avoid dehydration
- Use a flea repellent recommended by your vet
- Avoid exposing your pet to irritants such as pollen, smoke, household detergents, fertilizer or pesticides
- Make sure that your pet’s coat is clean by bathing him regularly with a soothing shampoo
- Use products specifically prescribed for your pet’s skin type and avoid using human and over-the-counter products
- Detox your pet regularly to get rid of unwanted toxins
- Clean your home thoroughly by vacuuming carpets and dusting furniture to ease both you and your pet’s respiratory allergies
- Keep your pet’s living clean by disinfecting regularly