Skin fold dermatitis in dogs
- Skin fold dermatitis is an infection in a pocket between two folds of skin.
- Skin fold pockets are warm and moist, providing a perfect place for bacteria and yeast to grow.
- Skin fold dermatitis is common in overweight dogs, dogs with wrinkly skin and dogs with short noses.
- The first sign of skin fold dermatitis tends to be smell and red skin between the folds.
- Prevent skin fold dermatitis by regularly cleaning and drying in between your dog’s skin folds.
- Contact your vet if you notice your dog has skin problems.
Yeast and bacteria live naturally on your dog’s skin but, only cause a problem if they overgrow. Pockets in between skin folds provide a perfect environment for bacteria and yeast to grow, and for infections to develop. Skin fold dermatitis is most common in skin folds above the nose, tail and vulva.
Dogs with skin folds require lifetime care from their owners to keep their skin healthy.
Skin fold dermatitis is common in:
When to contact your vet
Contact your vet if you think your dog has a skin fold infection. Infected skin can cause a lot of discomfort and left untreated, can cause much more serious problems. Consider insuring your dog as soon as you get them, before any signs of illness start. This will ensure you have all the support you need to care for them.
Treating skin fold dermatitis involves regular cleaning, reducing inflammation and sometimes antibiotics/anti-yeast treatment.
- It's very important to keep infected skin folds clean and dry.
- Your vet may prescribe your dog a special anti-microbial shampoo, or ask you to use salt water (see illustration below). It's important to clean each skin fold pocket thoroughly.
- It is very important to stop your dog (and other pets) licking or scratching infected skin. It may be necessary to use a buster collar to stop them licking or scratching. You can purchase these yourself at your vets, a pet shop or online.
- Cleaning alone can sometimes be enough to allow skin to heal, but if necessary, your vet may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication (usually steroids). This could be a tablet, spray or a cream.
- Antibiotics tablets/cream may be necessary if your dog’s infection is bacterial.
- Antibiotics won’t be necessary if your dog’s skin infection is caused by yeasts, instead your vet may prescribe an antifungal shampoo/cream.
Breeds prone to skin fold dermatitis
Skin folds are much more common in certain breeds due to excess skin and body shape, if you are thinking of getting a pedigree dog make sure you research the breed thoroughly and get the healthiest dog possible. Breeds prone to skin fold dermatitis include:
Published: June 2020
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst