Staph infection in dogs are a very common illness.  Staph (Staphylococcus) infections are caused by bacteria. Staph is a common bacteria found on the skin of animals and people.  It isn’t a problem until the skin is irritated (open wound or sore) or the immune system becomes compromised.

Staph can live in open air (without a carrier) or live on the skin or in the upper respiratory tract of an animal or person.  Most people have Staph bacteria on their body at any given time.  Staph is a vigorous bacteria and waits until conditions are right to strike.

Causes of Staph Infection in Dogs and Cats

Dogs and cats are just as susceptible to Staph infections as people.  Staph enters your pet’s body via scratching, licking or chewing on their skin.  These open wounds are the perfect path for Staph bacteria to find their way into your pet.

Just like people, pets with allergies, infections, young puppies, senior pets and those who have chronic illnesses are more susceptible to Staph infections.

Symptoms of Staph Infection in Dogs and Cats

What does Staph infection look like? The presence of skin lesions is a good indicator of Staph infection in dogs and cats.  There are two types of skin lesions that may appear:  one is a red, circular lesion with a crusted edge and hair loss in the center.  The second is red area with raised bumps similar to pimples.

Additional symptoms include: fever, loss of appetite, itching, pain and the presence of secondary infections (such as eye infections or respiratory infections). If you suspect a Staph infection in your dog or cat, call your Veterinarian for guidance.

Diagnosing and Treating Staph Infections in Dogs and Cats

The first step to diagnosis is simple and painless – call your Veterinarian to set up an appointment.  If you suspect Staph, keep your pets segregated from each other.  Staph is quite contagious, and treating one pet is certainly less expensive than two.

Your Veterinarian will perform a bacteriological culture or a skin biopsy to determine the presence of a Staph infection.  Staph infections in dogs and cats are treated with a combination of methods.  Your Veterinarian will prescribe a round of antibiotics.  Just like people, be sure to finish the entire prescription, even if symptoms disappear! Washing with antibacterial shampoo and topical ointments also speed the healing process.

It is important to treat Staph infection, but it is equally important to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the Staph infection.  Common causes include, allergies, parasites (especially fleas and ticks) and other irritants.