Eight dogs with cutaneous lesions, clinical signs and cytological findings compatible with bacterial overgrowth syndrome were compared with four healthy dogs. The affected dogs were treated for 28 days with 30 mg/kg/day cephalexin. The results showed that the syndrome was a superficial cutaneous disorder characterised by marked pruritus, greasy seborrhoea, offensive odour, erythema, lichenification, hyperpigmentation, excoriations and alopecia involving principally the ventral aspect of the body, but no papules, pustules, epidermal collarettes or crusts; it was caused by overgrowths of Staphylococcus intermedius all over the body surface. Histopathological findings included a superficial, perivascular, hyperplastic and spongiotic dermatitis with a mixed inflammatory infiltrate, but no lesions suggestive of a true pyoderma. In the affected dogs, anti-staphylococcal immunoglobulin G levels were high, but anti-staphylococcal immunoglobulin E levels were low, suggesting that staphylococcal hypersensitivity is not the underlying pathogenic process. The antibiotic treatment improved the condition of all the dogs, but five of the eight had an underlying allergic skin disease.
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