Canine superficial bacterial folliculitis: current understanding of its etiology, diagnosis and treatment

Vet J. 2014 Feb;199(2):217-22. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2013.11.014. Epub 2013 Nov 23.


Superficial bacterial folliculitis (SBF) is more common in the dog than other mammalian species. Until recently, a successful outcome in cases of canine SBF was possible by administering a potentiated amoxicillin, a first generation cephalosporin or a potentiated sulfonamide. Unfortunately, this predictable susceptibility has changed, because methicillin resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) and Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are becoming more prevalent in canine SBF cases. The increasing frequency of multidrug resistance complicates the selection of antimicrobial therapy. Antimicrobial agents that were once rarely used in cases of canine SBF, such as amikacin, rifampicin and chloramphenicol, are becoming the drugs of choice, based on bacterial culture and susceptibility testing. Furthermore, changes in antimicrobial susceptibility have helped to re-emphasize the importance of a multimodal approach to treatment of the disease, including topical therapy. Due to the increasing frequency of identification of highly resistant Staphylococcus spp., topical antimicrobial therapy, including the use of diluted sodium hypochlorite (bleach), is becoming necessary to successfully treat some cases of canine SBF. Other important antiseptics that can be used include chlorhexidine, benzoyl peroxide, ethyl lactate, triclosan and boric acid/acetic acid. This review discusses the diagnostic and therapeutic management of canine SBF, with a special emphasis on treating methicillin resistant staphylococcal infections.

Keywords: Antimicrobial resistance; Canine; Methicillin; Pyoderma; Staphylococcus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Bacterial Infections / drug therapy
  • Bacterial Infections / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases* / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Dog Diseases* / microbiology
  • Dogs
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Folliculitis / drug therapy
  • Folliculitis / microbiology
  • Folliculitis / veterinary*
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / veterinary
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus intermedius


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents