Staphylococcal Skin Disease in Livestock

Vet Dermatol. 2012 Aug;23(4):342-51, e63. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3164.2012.01093.x.


This review covers cutaneous manifestations of staphylococcal infection in livestock species. CATTLE: In cattle, staphylococcal infections may present as folliculitis or as impetigo. Both may present as mild forms of a group of conditions loosely termed udder dermatitis, which has various clinical presentations and does not always involve staphylococci. GOATS: In goats, staphylococcal infection may be secondary to chorioptic mange or contagious pustular dermatitis (parapox virus infection). While Staphylococcus aureus is usually implicated, infection with Staphylococcus chromogenes and Staphylococcus hyicus have also been reported. SHEEP: Ovine staphylococcal dermatitis typically involves the head. Trauma due to the close contact of heads over feeding troughs and abrasive plants at pasture may be predisposing factors. PIGS: In pigs, the most common cause of staphylococcal skin disease is S. hyicus, although other bacteria, including Staphylococcus sciuri, Staphylococcus chromogenes and meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), have also been isolated from some cases of greasy pig disease (exudative epidermitis).

Diagnosis: Routine culture methods are increasingly supplemented by molecular methods to characterize staphylococci.

Management: As commensal bacteria, staphylococcal skin infection is presumed to develop because of predisposing factors. While topical and systemic therapies can be effective, it is important to control for predisposing factors so that recurrences can be prevented. LIVESTOCK-ASSOCIATED MRSA: In recent years, MRSA strains have emerged, particularly in pigs and cattle. While they rarely cause skin disease, they do pose a significant concern for public health authorities. Studies on livestock-associated MRSA may help to progress our understanding of staphylococci in livestock, especially how they spread between animals and humans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Livestock*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / veterinary*