All dogs have the bacteria Staphylococcus present on their skin. The bacterium sits there and waits for the perfect opportunity to enter inside the skin. This is very concerning in certain dogs like our French Bulldog, Brutus. He has several allergies that make him scratch at himself, mainly on his stomach. In his case, he will scratch his stomach raw at times which is a perfect opening to the Staph. Since we had allergy testing done for Brutus, (for more information read his story) we found out that he is actually allergic to these specific bacteria. What that means is when he starts to get a Staph infection, WATCH OUT! His stomach will be fully covered if not treated ASAP.
When a Staph infection is suspected:
- Contact your vet immediately. You will want to get your dog seen at the vet as soon as possible. Some dogs are at higher risk of getting Staph infections and you will want to make sure that the infection does not spread any more. Dogs that are young in age, old in age or that have a compromised immune system are at higher risk.
- Medicate dog as directed by vet. In ALL cases, the vet will give an oral antibiotic. This seems to work very well with Brutus. Although, he has been on antibiotics so much in his life, he now is on them for a whole month at a time. IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO FINISH THE WHOLE PRESCRIPTION. Most people will stop giving the antibiotic when they see the infection is gone. If you do this, then you will more than likely see the infection come right back. The easiest way that I can get Brutus to take his medicine is wrap his pill in a small piece of sliced cheese. If this is the route you may choose, you will want to make sure that your dog is not allergic to cheese.
- Wash all bedding. To make sure that I am not going to irritate his skin anymore, I wash bedding with no detergent or fabric softener. Also, make sure that your dog is not allergic to his bedding material.
- Keep dog from itching. Easier said than done. Some vets may give an oral or injected steroid to help with the itching. Also ask about an antihistamine that may be given on a daily basis such as Benadryl.
After making sure that you are doing all that you can for your dog, another Staph infection may arise. This can be a very frustrating and expensive time. Just remember that with the right combination of medicines, food and care, these breakouts will become less and less. Please do not get discouraged for your dog, they love you very much!!