Canine impetigo generally appears in puppies. In older dogs, a similar condition is known as pyoderma. This bacterial disease results from infection with staphylococcus, but the condition isn't caused by an underlying disease as is the case with adult canine pyodermas. Puppies in poor condition are most vulnerable to impetigo. Factors relating to impetigo infection include parasite infestation, bad hygiene and dietary deficiencies.
Impetigo generally appears on a young dog's abdomen. It looks like the puppy has pimples on his stomach or groin area. Don't squeeze these pustules. They will break open on their own, leaving behind a light brown, crusty exudate. Only the top layer of the skin is involved when a puppy has impetigo.
Clearing up impetigo is usually easy. Your vet might prescribe medicated shampoo containing chlorhexidine or other antibacterial ingredients to eradicate this disorder. She might recommend medicated creams to place on the affected areas after shampooing. To deal with the staph infection, your vet will prescribe antibiotics as treatment, usually for a two- to six-week period. Your vet will also deal with other factors possibly contributing to the impetigo, including deworming. She may suggest a high-quality diet for the dog, along with a flea and tick preventive.
Besides pyoderma in older dogs, other skin conditions resemble impetigo. These include hair follicle infection, or folliculitis and skin fold dermatitis. Adult dogs suffering from immune disorders such as pemphigus or lupus erythematosus may develop similar-looking papules on various parts of the body. Take your pet to the vet for a definite diagnosis of any skin condition.