Pyotraumatic dermatitis

From Dog
Classic presentation of pyotraumatic dermatitis in a Golden retriever[1]
Staphylococcus spp-associated pyotraumatic dermatitis[2]

Pyotraumatic dermatitis is a common self-traumatic pruritic skin disease of dogs.

This disease is characterized by a well circumscribed moist exudative area of skin brought on by self-trauma due to pruritus. Bacteria colonise the surface of the lesion but this is not a true skin infection. However, secondary Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, Staphylococcus spp and Pseudomonas spp infections are common.

The disease is more common in older male Rottweiler, German shepherd and Golden retriever dogs, but most breeds can be affected. In most cases, the dermatitis is usually limited, but acute folliculitis[3] and pyodermas have been reported as a consequence of self-trauma.

Hot spots are commonly caused by:

Lesions were most often seen on the cheek, neck and lateral thigh

Diagnosis is usually based on clinical presentation, but skin cultures and biopsy may help eliminate underlying dermatopathies. Although most cases involve a suppurative dermatitis, acute suppurative folliculitis is observed histologically in some cases[4].

Therapy involves clipping the area, cleaning the wound and treating with a drying solution.

Topical application of antibacterial/glucocorticoid creams and parenteral antimicrobials such as cephalexins or amoxycillin/clavulanate (15 - 20 mg/kg every 12 hours) is recommended in most cases.

If pyotraumatic folliculitis is evident, glucocorticoids are contraindicated.

Analgesics such as NSAIDs may alleviate the pruritus associated with self-trauma[5].


  1. Sechelt Animal hospital
  2. Tahilla
  3. Holm BR et al (2004) A prospective study of the clinical findings, treatment and histopathology of 44 cases of pyotraumatic dermatitis. Vet Dermatol 15(6):369-376
  4. Reinke SI et al (1987) Histopathologic features of pyotraumatic dermatitis. J Am Vet Med Assoc 190(1):57-60
  5. Viking Höglund O & Frendin J (2002) Analgesic effect of meloxicam in canine acute dermatitis - a pilot study. Acta Vet Scand 43(4):247-252