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Superficial staphylococcal pyoderma is a common diagnosis in companion animal practice. The majority of cutaneous bacterial infections in dogs and cats are associated with Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, Staphylococcus aureus or Staphylococcus schleiferi (a coagulase variable species that exhibits coagulase-positive and coagulase-negative subtypes).1 When a diagnosis of pyoderma is made, it should be considered a secondary problem and a search for the primary underlying cause responsible for the pyoderma is indicated, as staphylococci do not readily cause infection in the normal skin of healthy individuals.2 The possible primary causes are investigated by Seckerdieck and Mueller in a paper summarised on p 434 of this week’s issue.3
Staphylococci are Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic cocci that exist as part of the normal cutaneous and mucosal microbiota of animals. Initial acquisition of the bacteria occurs at or around birth in puppies followed by colonisation, and persists for many months after being separated from the dam.4 Dogs may harbour two or more genetically unrelated strains of S pseudintermedius simultaneously but at different body sites,5 with the mouth and perineum being the most consistent sites for carriage.6 These bacteria possess pathogenic potential and can contribute to skin disease during the life time of the individual animal, when primary skin disease predisposes them to development of pyoderma.
Staphylococcal resistance to antimicrobials
Since the inception of antimicrobial drug use in modern medicine, staphylococci have evolved in response to antimicrobial drugs across human and animal populations. This evolution has included the development or acquisition of antimicrobial drug resistance mechanisms in pathogenic staphylococci. While some …
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