Symptoms of Impetigo in Dogs

Impetigo is a skin infection that is caused by staphylococcal bacteria and is most often seen in younger dogs. The infection can affect only small portions of skin, but may extend and cause extreme discomfort. To establish if your dog has impetigo, you should watch out for a set of symptoms.

Symptoms of Impetigo in Dogs

Impetigo will affect only the skin, which will react to the presence of staphylococcal bacteria. Initially, the dog may show only a few symptoms including pustules or small bumps that may be filled with puss. These pustules have the appearance of acne, but typically, the impetigo pustules will occur on the stomach and reproductive system area, while the acne bumps occur mostly on the face and chin.

In more advances stages of impetigo, the pustules will affect several areas of the body and will rupture even when slightly touched. Crust will form over the ruptured pustules.

Other symptoms of impetigo may include:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Itchiness, which will make the dog lick and scratch his skin. This should be prevented, as the dog will spread the infection to other areas of the body and when the infection is extended it is more difficult to manage. You may opt for a lamp shade collar, which will prevent the dog from licking and chewing on his pustules
  • The dog may be rubbing his stomach or back on the floor or walls
  • Severe pain, especially when the pustules are ruptured
  • Oozing lesions
  • Bleeding, typically caused by a ruptured pustule or if the dog chews his skin
  • Secondary infections

Impetigo Is Contagious to other Dogs

Impetigo is a contagious disease and may be transmitted to other dogs, especially if the dogs are in contact with the infected skin. The puss that is eliminated when the pustules rupture is also considered a source of infection. If you have several pets, you should keep your infected dog in a different room until the pustules clear.

The infection is not contagious to humans, but until you get a clear diagnosis, you should wear protective gloves while handling your dog.

Treatment for Impetigo

In dogs, impetigo is an infection that may clear up without any treatment. This may take up to 3 weeks. However, if the dog is severely affected by the infection and there are numerous areas that present the impetigo pustules, the vet may recommend topical or oral antibiotic treatment (i.e. Panalog). There are also certain shampoos that contain benzoyl peroxide and can be used to eliminate the bacteria. The shampoo should be used twice per week. Eye and mouth contact should be avoided, as the shampoo is a powerful irritant. Diluted benzoyl peroxide can also be used as a topical treatment, as the solution can kill the staphylococcal bacteria.

The dog’s environment should be cleaned to prevent the recurrence of the impetigo infection. Use diluted bleach or vinegar to clean the floors and change the bedding.