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The Staphylococcus bacteria is often found thriving on the skin of your dog without any obvious symptoms.
It’s only when his immune system becomes weakened, through allergies, bites or other reactions, that a staph infection will occur.
PetMD.com states, “The Staphylococcus bacteria can live free in the environment, on the skin of a host as a parasite and in the upper respiratory tract of animals. The bacteria can be transmitted easily from animal to animal and in some cases from animal to human. This infection can be found in any breed of dog, and at any age.”
Staph infections can vary from mild to severe cases, your dog can quickly start to develop intensely red, sore, scaly or ulcerated skin, as well as rapid hairloss on the affected area.
Vetinfo.com recommends, “In order to avoid serious complications from staph infections, owners should consider seeking immediate medical attention for a dog showing signs of cellulitis or other possible staph-related skin conditions.”
What Can Cause a Staph Infection?
PetMD.com says, “Younger dogs are most prone to developing this infection, as their immune systems have not fully developed. Old dogs are also more susceptible, as their immune systems have become worn down.”
Here are a few other things that can cause a staph infection:
According to petMD.com, these are the symptoms you should be on the alert for if you suspect your dog has contracted a staph infection:
Loss of appetite (anorexia)
Infections of the eyes, skin, ears, eyes or respiratory system
Inflammation marked by pus-filled lesions (pyoderma)
Vetinfo.com advises, “Although considerably rare, serious complications related to staph infections have been reported in some dogs. Deep skin infections, known as cellulitis, may develop from secondary infection of broken skin caused by the excessive scratching triggered by a staph infection. Initially, cellulitis may cause skin to become inflamed, red and irritated. Fever, chills and swollen lymph nodes may then follow. As it spreads through a dog’s leg’s, the condition may also lead to painful sores and a harmful breakdown of skin cells.”
How is a Staph Infection Diagnosed?
According to petMD.com, “Your veterinarian will conduct a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count and a urinalysis. Proper diagnosis will often involve skin testing to determine if the condition is caused by allergies or other immune-related causes. It is also important to rule out abnormal cell development as an underlying cause of the condition.”
How is a Staph Infection Treated?
PetMD.com states, “A variety of medications are available to treat this medical condition, but some strains are resistant to medications. In some cases, standard antibiotics are not effective at curing this condition and a different course will need to be prescribed.”
Buzzle.com points out that you should “Regularly wash your dog when it is under the treatment process, by using antibiotic shampoos like benzoyl peroxide.
Apply bandages on the parts of the dog that show wounds or on the scratches that have been formed due to blisters. Don’t forget to use antiseptic creams.”
How is a Staph Infection Prevented?
Unfortunately there are currently no known preventative measures for this infection.
Vetinfo.com states, “As one of the most prevalent organisms found on canine and human skin, Staphylococcus aureus bacteria often live for years without causing infections or complications. But when the conditions are right, staph infections can develop in almost any dog. Knowing how to identify signs of canine staph infection may lead to early detection and prescribed treatments of antibiotic medicines, or recommended dietary or environmental changes.”
Find A Vet HOW TO articles are intended for informational purposes only. You should always consult with your veterinarian about any health issues affecting your dog.