Furunculosis in Dogs

Furunculosis in dogs is a condition that affects the skin. It’s characterized by the presence of boils that recur. It is often erroneously termed as canine acne. The condition is caused by infection that affects the hair follicles and causes small abscesses under the skin that are filled with pus.

Types of Canine Furunculosis

A dog can get this infection under his chin, in his groin and anal areas and between the toes. The latter is known as interdigital furunculosis and is characterized by the presence of painful nodule lesions in the interdigital webs of the affected animal’s paws. Boils in the groin and anal areas are known as anal furunculosis. A dog’s predisposition to furunculosis is lifelong and relapses are common.

Causes of Canine Furunculosis

Certain bacteria are known to cause this infection. Besides this, unhygienic conditions and a weakened immune system are linked to the development of Furnuculosis. Furunculosis that affects the skin is generally caused by bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections. Interdigital furunculosis can be caused by a bacterial infection and also due of the presence of short bristly hairs on the webbing between the pet’s toes. These hairs are often forced into hair follicles when the dog walks. This can cause inflammation and secondary bacterial infections.

Other Causes of Furunculosis

Foreign material that attaches to the paws can also get embedded in the skin and cause interdigital furunculosis. In addition to this, conditions like canine atopy and demodicosis are known to cause fucunculosis. Anal furunculosis is caused by the presence of feces in that area that also attaches to the dog’s tail. The tail spreads the feces over the perineal area resulting in anal furunculosis. Some breeds such as German shepherds are genetically predisposed to this condition.

Symptoms of Canine Furunculosis

  • Boils that are filled with pus. These boils have a tendency to recur on the nose, around the anus, legs, paws and muzzle flanks
  • Lameness in the affected foot or leg
  • Pain
  • Pus and bloody discharge from the boils
  • Excessive grooming of the affected area
  • Straining while defecation in the case of anal furunculosis
  • Altered position of the tail
  • Inflammation of tissue in the affected area
  • Swelling

Diagnosis and Treatment of Furunculosis

Diagnosis of furunculosis is based on a physical exam and an evaluation of the pet’s medical history. Clinical signs as well as diagnostic tests such as skin scrapings, impression smears and fine needle aspirates can confirm the infection.

Antibiotics are generally administered for a long period of time. The the affected area should be kept clean and the hair in the region should be trimmed to allow the discharge to be cleaned. Antibiotic skin washes are very effective. Surgical removal of foreign bodies in the case of interdigital furunculosis and surgical removal of tracts formed under the skin in the case of anal furunculosis are often necessary.

Furunculosis Prognosis

The prognosis is good in treated dogs. However, since there is a likelihood of relapse, regular visits to the veterinarian are necessary to ensure that your pet remains free of this infection.

You must keeping the area well ventilated and dry. Proper hygiene along with a nutritious diet that boosts the immune system can help your pet fight furunculosis successfully.