Pyoderma is a skin disease that is one of the most common type of skin problems seen in mastiffs. Pyoderma is a bacterial infection in the skin that is usually caused by bacteria known as staphylococcus intermedius. There are different levels of pyoderma. A deep pyoderma is when the infection is deep in the layers of the skin, usually caused by scratching or other injuries that allow the bacteria into the skin.
An oral antibiotic is used to treat deep pyoderma. Most veterinarians will use cephalexin, since this oral antibiotic will take care of most bacteria seen in this disease and is not expensive. However, if the condition does not improve or if it returns, a culture should be taken to determine the best antibiotic to use. The dosage depends on the size of the dog, and it is usually given twice a day.
If there is a secondary infection present, then a more expensive antibiotic such as baytril will probably be necessary. The antibiotics will be prescribed for anywhere from 30 days to 12 weeks.
An antibacterial shampoo is usually prescribed to treat a deep pyoderma as well. This will kill the bacteria as well as clean off the crusty stuff and other surface debris on the skin. The two most common types used are benzoyl peroxide and chlorhexadine. The benzoyl peroxide can be irritating and drying to the skin, so a conditioner is usually used along with it.
Your veterinarian will determine how often you need to shampoo your mastiff. The treatments should continue for at least a week past the ending of the symptoms. This can take anywhere from two weeks to two months.
Because deep pyoderma can often cause the dog to be extremely itchy, a vet will often prescribe an anti-itch medicine such as hydroxyzine, which also is known as atarax. In extreme cases, a steroid may be used, but this needs to be avoided, if possible, because of the potential harmful side effects.
One of the most common underlying problems with a deep pyoderma is low levels of the hormones produced by the thyroid gland. This messes with the immune system, which allows the infection to set in. If the thyroid levels are low, supplementing with drug therapies for an underproducing thyroid often has shown to help with curing the deep pyoderma.