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Staph Skin Infections in Dogs

Updated April 17, 2017

Staph skin infections in dogs are caused by staphylococcal bacteria normally present on the skin. These bacteria are often present on the skin of humans and animals. Most of the time, staphylococcal bacteria does not cause illness. Occasionally, however, this bacterium will work its way under the skin, resulting in an infection. Some dogs are allergic to staphylococcal bacteria, making them more susceptible to the severe itching and skin irritation that may accompany a staph infection.

Symptoms

According to doctors Fosters and Smith, the severity of your dog's symptoms will depend on a number of factors, including the dog's sensitivity to staphylococcal bacteria and the extent of the infection. Symptoms may include lesions, reddened skin and itching. In a severely affected dog, skin lesions may weep or drain. Skin lesions on the stomach are particularly indicative of a staph infection.

Causes

Staph infections are caused by the introduction of staphylococcal bacteria into an open wound. These infections spread easily among dogs and humans, as well as a number of other animals. Staphylococcal bacteria live on the skin and are transferable by skin contact.

Prevention/Solution

You cannot ensure that any person or animal is free of staphylococcal bacteria. Approximately 20 per cent of the human population unknowingly carries these bacteria on the skin or inside the nostrils, according to Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

Treatment

If your dog exhibits symptoms of any infection, including staph, take your pet to a veterinarian for a positive diagnosis and a plan of treatment. Antibiotics may be prescribed to eradicate the infection, and a veterinarian can advise you on cleaning and caring for any irritated or broken skin.

Veterinarians may take skin cultures to ascertain the nature of the infection. Skin infections are often secondary to more serious medical conditions, such as parasite infestation or hormonal irregularities. Your veterinarian can check for signs of other health problems during the initial exam.

Warning

Staph infections in dogs are transmittable to human caretakers. Take precautions to ensure your own safety from infection. Wear disposable gloves when caring for a dog diagnosed with staph infection and keep the pet separate from small children.

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About the Author

Kay Abbot began writing professionally in 2004. She has written articles for Garden Guides, eHow Home & Garden and Answerbag. Kay has a degree in psychology from the University of Phoenix.