Veterinary Record 172:72 doi:10.1136/vr.101069
  • Research

Suggested guidelines for using systemic antimicrobials in bacterial skin infections: part 1—diagnosis based on clinical presentation, cytology and culture

Open Access
  1. M. Vroom, DVM, DipECVD6
  1. 1Cabinet Vétérinaire, Spa, Belgium
  2. 2Clinique Vétérinaire Saint-Bernard, Lomme, France
  3. 3Centro de Dermatología Veterinaria Adervet, Madrid, Spain
  4. 4Servizi Dermatologici Veterinari, Peveragno, CN, Italy
  5. 5The University of Liverpool, School of Veterinary Science, Leahurst Campus, Neston, Cheshire, UK
  6. 6Veterinaire Specialisten, Oisterwijk, The Netherlands
  1. E-mail for correspondence: timn{at}


Systemic antimicrobials are critically important in veterinary healthcare, and resistance is a major concern. Antimicrobial stewardship will be important in maintaining clinical efficacy by reducing the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance. Bacterial skin infections are one of the most common reasons for using systemic antimicrobials in dogs and cats. Appropriate management of these infections is, therefore, crucial in any policy for responsible antimicrobial use. The goals of therapy are to confirm that an infection is present, identify the causative bacteria, select the most appropriate antimicrobial, ensure that the infection is treated correctly, and to identify and manage any underlying conditions. This is the first of two articles that will provide evidence-led guidelines to help practitioners address these issues. This article covers diagnosis, including descriptions of the different clinical presentations of surface, superficial and deep bacterial skin infections, how to perform and interpret cytology, and how to best use bacterial culture and sensitivity testing. Part 2 will discuss therapy, including choice of drug and treatment regimens.

  • Accepted December 5, 2012.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: and

Open Access

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