Dog Hair Follicle Infection

By Tracy Hodge

Dogs can develop a hair follicle infection known as folliculitis. Folliculitis may cause lesions to appear on the feet, face and certain pressure points on the dog's body. Folliculitis is most commonly caused by bacterial infections. If your dog has symptoms of a hair follicle infection, consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment plan.


According to The Free, a hair follicle is defined as a cavity or sac on the skin that encloses the hairs from in which the hairs grow. Folliculits is an infection of that cavity.


The symptoms associated with a hair follicle infection or folliculitis in dogs may include impetigo, lesions, crusts, scabs and hair loss. Lesions or ulcers may be localized or appear in several areas of the body. Folliculitis that is caused by a bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Staph, often look similar to hives.


The most common cause of a hair follicle infection in dogs is a bacterial infection known as Staphyloccocus. This is a serious type of infection; however, Staph infections cause many more health problems in humans than in dogs. Most Staph infections in dogs become irritated and can cause skin infections. Another cause of a hair follicle infection, or folliculitis, in dogs is a fungal infection known as the ring worm. The fungi from a ring worm lives in the dog's hairs, nails and dead skin tissue. Ring worm usually causes hair loss in circular patches on the dog's body. Demodectic mange is also a cause of folliculitis in dogs and is often a symptom of a more serious underlying medical condition or hereditary disease. Mange causes hair loss on the dog and may need to be diagnosed by a skin scraping sample.


In order to determine the cause of a hair follicle infection in your dog, your veterinarian may perform a physical examination and take your dog's complete medical history. Ring worms are generally diagnosed upon appearance of the skin since the hair loss is in a circular shape. A fungal culture may also be done in order to confirm the diagnosis of ring worm. A skin scraping may be done in order to determine which type of mite is causing mange in dogs. A culture may be done on any lesion that your veterinarian feels may be positive for a bacterial infection, in order to determine which type of bacteria is causing folliculitis in your dog.


In order to treat a hair follicle infection in your dog, your veterinarian may prescribe a topical antibiotic. Topical antibiotic creams work well for dogs with a few lesions that are localized. For dogs that have severe or deep infections, a course of oral antibiotics may be necessary.


Consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis of a hair follicle infection in your dog. The treatment depends on the condition that is causing the infection. Be sure to follow your veterinarians directions when using oral or topical antibiotic creams, as failure to do so could cause your dog's infection to worsen.