Dermatophilosis is a skin disease of dogs and cats (and sometimes other animals) that can occur at any stage in the life of the animal. In dogs there is an increased chance of contracting this disease if the animal has wet skin or skin that has wounds from parasitic bites, such as from fleas or ticks.

Symptoms of Dermatophilosis

When an animal is infected with this disease you will see grey-yellow crusted bumps similar to hives on the skin of the body or head. These bumps are quite itchy and the dog will try to scratch them making the condition worse. The bumps themselves may be circular in shape.

Upon removal of the bumps there are usually dozens of hairs in them. This is due to the fact that the hair follicle becomes impacted. There may also be pus beneath the hive.

Diagnosis of Skin Disease in Dogs

To diagnose this condition the veterinarian will need to take samples of the pus and crusted skin. This will be analyzed for the dermatophilosis bacteria. The bacteria is quite easy to recognize as they have a very distinctive "railroad track" appearance. If the bacteria is present your veterinarian will prescribe proper treatment.

It is also very important that you inform the veterinarian as to whether the animal near or around any farm animals. This information will aid in determining whether the infection really is dermatophilosis or something else related to farm animals.

If dermatophilosis is ruled out your veterinarian will need to perform more tests to determine the exact nature of the disease.

Treatment of Dermatophilosis

The usual course of treatment is to bathe the animal with an antibacterial shampoo. Then the veterinarian will remove the infected flesh and abscesses. Usually two baths are required unless the condition is chronic.

After the cleanings your pet may have to take antibiotics for about 10 to 20 days. Most commonly the animal will be prescribed penicillin. However, tetracycline, doxycycline, minocycline, ampicillin, or amoxicillin may be used instead.

The animals will need to be seen again by your veterinarian around two to three weeks after treatment has begun to make sure that the condition has cleared up completely. If not, the animal will continue on treatment for another seven to ten days.

Prevention of Dermatophilosis

There is a possibility for humans to contract this disease from infected animals but it is usually unlikely. If the person who cares for animals has an already compromised immune system they should stay from infected animals until the animal is cleared of the disease.

Keeping the animal in dry conditions and away from farm animals may reduce the chance of the animal contracting this disease.

Dermatophilosis Bacterium | Pet Quest
Micrograph of a dermatophilosis bacterium.
Dermatophilosis Bacterium | Pet Quest
Micrograph of a dermatophilosis bacterium.
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