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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Puppy Dermatitis (Impetigo and Acne)




Condition Overview

Impetigo and acne are mild surface skin infections that occur in puppies under 1 year of age. Acne is common among Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Great Danes, and Bulldogs, but can occur in any puppy.


Impetigo presents with puss-filled blisters on the hairless parts of the abdomen and the groin. The blisters rupture, leaving thin brown crusts.


Puppies housed in unsanitary quarters are most likely to be infected. Blockage if hair follicles by skin scales and sebum is a predisposing cause.


Acne occurs in puppies 3 months of age and older. It can be identified by purplish red pimples and blackheads that come to a head and drain pus. These lesions are found on the chin and the lower lip, and occasionally in the genital area, perineum, and groin.


Topical therapy for impetigo and mild acne involves bathing the puppy with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo (OxyDex or Pyoben) twice a week for 2 - 3 weeks. Correct any predisposing causes such as unsanitary puppy quarters.

Acne is often a deep-seated skin infection and may not respond to topical therapy alone. Your vet may add a course of oral antibiotics that are effective against Staphylococcus. Acne usually resolves spontaneously at sexual maturity.


Keep your puppies living quarters clean and sanitary. Regular grooming and bathing will help prevent the blockage of pores.


Please contact your veterinarian if you have questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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