Primer On Skin Fold Infections (Pyoderma)

Written and reviewed by John A. Bukowski, DVM, MPH, PhD
and Susan E. Aiello, DVM, ELS

Skin-fold infections are very common in dogs.  

Folds in the skin create a moist environment that favors the growth of bacteria.  Infection of the skin folds is common especially in wrinkly breeds such as the bulldog, Shar Pei, and pug.

Obese dogs are also at greater risk of pyoderma because of the folds produced by excess fat.  

The skin folds around the face, lips, groin, armpit, and mammary glands are often involved.

When suffering from pyoderma, a dog's infected skin folds appear moist and red.  

Pustules may develop and discharge a thick, whitish material.  The infected skin may have a foul odor.  Dogs with pyoderma may lick or scratch at affected areas.  Diagnosis is based on physical examination.

In mild cases, the hair is usually clipped and the area cleaned with a mild soap.  Topical preparations containing antibiotics and often corticosteroids are used to provide local relief.  In more severe infections, oral antibiotics and other medications may be needed.

Skin-fold infections frequently recur, and diligent home care is the best defense against future problems.

Skin folds should be inspected regularly, and these areas must be kept clean and dry.  

Your veterinarian can recommend a cleaner that can be used on a routine basis.  Weight loss can play an important role in overweight pets. 


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