Folliculitis in Dogs

Any skin condition merits a meeting with the vet.
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Folliculitis is a skin infection, located specifically in the hair follicle. It is easier to spot in short-haired breeds, as the symptoms are more visible, but long-haired breeds are equally as prone. Folliculitis causes hair loss, skin irritation and redness, and can lead to secondary infections. It can also cause pustules to develop under the skin. Fortunately, your vet can treat folliculitis relatively quickly and easily using oral antibiotics.

Underlying Causes

Canine folliculitis is typically the result of an underlying skin complaint such as bacterial infection, allergies, mange or acne. Folliculitis is therefore a strong indicator that your dog has been suffering from a more generalized skin condition. Your vet, upon diagnosing folliculitis, will probably investigate the underlying cause as well as attempt to treat the symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms

Dull coat, excessive shedding, brown staining in white coat breeds, itchiness, flaky skin, skin lesions and bumps are all potential indicators of folliculitis. The condition presents itself more subtly in longer-haired breeds: Since the texture of fur in longer-haired breeds is generally softer and smoother than that of short-haired breeds, the longer coats are less likely to spike or form tufts. Folliculitis can occur anywhere hair follicles exist, but they are most typically seen on the underside of the body, especially in and around the groin, belly and armpits.

Treatment Options

It’s essential to get your dog to a veterinarian if you suspect he is suffering from folliculitis. Your vet will most likely clip away the fur around the affected area. In mild cases, your vet will treat the condition the same way she’d treat acne, by bathing the pooch in a peroxide-based shampoo. In severe cases, your vet may shave away all of the fur from the affected region in order to closely examine the condition of the skin. Topical anti-inflammatory treatments may be required to reduce redness and itching. Alongside topical treatments, your vet will prescribe a course of oral antibiotics to tackle the bacteria that caused the infection.

Stopping Folliculitis Returning

The best way to prevent folliculitis from occurring is to ensure no generalized skin conditions, such as mange or scabies, can develop. The best way to do this is by regularly grooming and inspecting your dog’s skin and fur. Keep a vigilant eye out for dullness of fur, signs of scratching, broken skin and inflammation.