A Primer On Skin Fold Infections

Skin-fold infections are prevalent in dogs.  

A Primer On Skin Fold Infections: Shar Peis are one of the breeds susceptible to skin fold infections

The role of breed and body condition score

Folds in the skin create a moist environment that favors the growth of bacteria. As a result, they are vulnerable to infections, especially in wrinkly breeds such as:

  • Bulldog
  • Shar Pei
  • Pug

Obese dogs are also at greater risk of pyoderma because of the folds produced by excess fat. In addition, frictional trauma leads to inflammation and the overgrowth of bacteria. In other words, the condition is similar to hot spots.

The severity can range from mild inflammation to severe ulcerations.

The most susceptible skin folds are in the following:

  • around the face
  • lips
  • groin
  • armpits,
  • and mammary glands

What does a skin fold infection look like

When suffering from pyoderma, a dog’s infected skin folds will be moist and red.  

Pustules may develop and discharge a thick, whitish material.  The infected skin may have a foul odor.  Dogs with pyoderma may lick or scratch in affected areas.  Diagnosis is based on physical examination. However, your veterinarian might perform cytology to confirm.

In the above video, Dr. Lera of Heron Lakes Animal Hospital talks about facial fold dermatitis with Mugsy, an English Bulldog.

Treatment of skin fold infections

Mild cases

Treatment of mild cases typically involves:

  • clipping fur in the affected area
  • cleaning with a mild soap
  • topical preparations containing antibiotics and often corticosteroids to provide local relief

Severe infections

Dogs suffering from severe skin fold infection may also require oral antibiotics and other medications.


Skin-fold infections frequently recur, and diligent home care is the best defense against future problems.

Skin folds require regular inspections. It is essential to keep them clean and dry.  

Your veterinarian can recommend a cleaner for routine use. In addition, weight loss can play an essential role in overweight pets. 

Related articles:
Common Dog Misdiagnoses: Skin Issues

Further reading:
Skin Fold Pyoderma in Dogs

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