Folliculitis

Folliculitis is the medical term for inflammation of the hair follicles. Bacterial infection is the most common cause of this cat and dog health condition, but other common causes include fungal infection and parasitic infection. This pet condition is less common in cats than in dogs.

Folliculitis

How it Affects your pet

Folliculitis in dogs and cats usually occurs when hair follicles are damaged due to skin parasites, a systemic illness, poor grooming practices, trauma or other cat and dog skin problems. Skin infections are also more common in animals with suppressed immune systems than in healthy pets. When the hair shaft is damaged, it loses some of its natural defenses, and it becomes a good environment for the growth of microorganisms. These microorganisms cause tissue damage, and the body responds by sending inflammatory cells to deal with the invaders. This causes inflammation, and in some cases, it also causes itching. Due to itching or irritation at the infection site, the affected pet may bite or scratch at the skin. This causes even greater damage and can worsen the infection and allow it to move into the deeper regions of the hair shaft.

Common symptoms

Symptoms of this pet health condition include the following: Discrete red bumps on the skin; Inflamed bumps that have hair protruding from them; Crusts on the skin; Dried pus or blood on the skin; Circular areas without hair; Poor coat condition; Scratching, biting or licking at the skin; Increased skin pigmentation with persistent infections.

Treatments

Mild superficial folliculitis can often be treated by washing the affected area with a gentle medicated shampoo containing benzoyl peroxide and preventing the animal from doing further damage to the infected area. If the infection covers a large area, the best course is to bathe the entire pet. Bathing removes surface bacteria, clears irritants and debris from the affected area and helps ease the pet's symptoms. Pets often need to be bathed once or twice a day at the start of treatment. As the condition resolves, bathing frequency can be reduced. If the infection is moderate to severe, covers a large area, is chronic or does not respond to conservative treatment, the affected pet may need a course of oral antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment usually lasts for several weeks and should be continued until the animal has been free of symptoms for at least seven days. In pets with deep folliculitis, recurrent infections and non-responsive infections, the treating veterinarian will need to base his or her antibiotic choice on the results of culture and sensitivity testing. In addition to providing folliculitis treatment, the veterinarian will need to identify and treat any underlying pet health conditions that are making the pet vulnerable to infection of the hair follicles. Not only will doing so help to resolve the current infection, but it will also help prevent future infections.

Breeds Affected

This dog and cat health condition occurs in all canine and feline breeds. A form of cystic folliculitis that affects the skin between the toes is most common in members of the following dog breeds: Labrador Retriever, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bull Terrier and Bulldog.

Folliculitis Affects

  • Folliculitis in dogs and cats usually occurs when hair follicles are damaged due to skin parasites, a systemic illness, poor grooming practices, trauma or other cat and dog skin problems. Skin infections are also more common in animals with suppressed immune systems than in healthy pets. When the hair shaft is damaged, it loses some of its natural defenses, and it becomes a good environment for the growth of microorganisms. These microorganisms cause tissue damage, and the body responds by sending inflammatory cells to deal with the invaders. This causes inflammation, and in some cases, it also causes itching. Due to itching or irritation at the infection site, the affected pet may bite or scratch at the skin. This causes even greater damage and can worsen the infection and allow it to move into the deeper regions of the hair shaft.

Similar conditions

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