Pet owners face challenges, and one common issue is dealing with infections, especially the troublesome problem of pyoderma in dogs.

Witnessing cherished furry companions endure discomfort and irritation is emotionally challenging for owners committed to their well-being. Here, we shed light on a potential breakthrough in canine skincare – mānuka oil.


What is Pyoderma?

Callus pyoderma of the elbow in a two-year-old dog Manuka Oil for Pyoderma in Dogs

Pyoderma, specifically in dogs, refers to a group of bacterial skin infections stemming from the proliferation of harmful bacteria on the skin. These infections can vary in severity, from affecting the outer layers of the skin to deeper layers.

Common symptoms of pyoderma in dogs include redness, irritation, crusting, bumps, and hair loss. The condition often causes discomfort and may require veterinary attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.


What causes Pyoderma?

Staphylococcus pseudintermedius bacteria are the leading cause of bacterial pyoderma in dogs, accounting for over 90% of cases. When a dog’s skin barrier is compromised, these bacteria, generally found on the skin, can multiply rapidly and lead to issues. 

The rise of methicillin-resistant S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) poses challenges in veterinary medicine, emphasizing the need for effective treatments that do not contribute to antibiotic resistance. Additionally, other bacteria like S. aureus and MRSA can also cause dog pyoderma, with a rare risk of spreading to humans.


Types of Pyoderma in Dogs

Pyoderma in dogs manifests in various types, each characterised by distinct causes and symptoms:

Type of Pyoderma Causes and Symptoms
Surface Pyoderma
Posttraumatic dermatitis Cause: Develops rapidly, intense itching; caused by licking and scratching due to pain or irritation from flea infestation, clipping, allergies, anal sac disease, ear canal inflammation, foreign bodies, or irritants within the coat, muscles, or joint pain.

Symptoms: Intense itching, rapid development, observable licking and scratching.




Cause: Infection of skin folds intensified by rubbing, exacerbated by heat and moisture; common in short-muzzled breeds, such as English Bulldogs.

Symptoms: Redness, irritation, and infection in skin folds.

Bacterial overgrowth syndrome (BOGS)



Cause: Caused by overgrowth of S. pseudintermedius bacteria.

Symptoms: Greasy, itchy, red, and malodorous skin, often observed on the underside of the body.

Superficial Pyoderma
Impetigo (puppy pyoderma)



Cause: Affects areas with sparse hair, such as the belly; common in puppies during immune system development and may also affect adult immunocompromised dogs.

Symptoms: The presence of lesions in areas with little hair, affecting the belly.

Superficial bacterial folliculitis


Cause: The dog’s coat may exhibit a “moth-eaten” appearance due to widespread hair loss; occurs in all breeds, with certain breeds experiencing pronounced redness and irritation.

Symptoms: “Moth-eaten” appearance of the coat, widespread hair loss, redness, and irritation.

Mucocutaneous pyoderma




Cause: Results in the overproduction of mucus in the skin; commonly affects the lips, nose, skin around the eyes, vulva, foreskin, and the area around the anus. Certain breeds may be predisposed.

Symptoms: Overproduction of mucus in affected areas, such as the lips, nose, and genital region.


Deep Pyoderma (Affects Lower Skin Layers – Dermis, Subcutis)






Cause: Deep hair follicle infection caused by S. aureus bacteria; leads to abscesses with pus and necrotic tissue. Post-grooming furunculosis can occur after bathing or intense brushing.

Symptoms: Abscesses with pus, necrotic tissue, furuncles on hair-bearing skin or between toes, potential pain, and fever.





Cause: More common in young dogs; involves inflammation of hair follicles, usually around the chin and mouth, which may become infected with bacteria.

Symptoms: Inflammation, often around the chin and mouth, potential infection of hair follicles.

German Shepherd deep pyoderma




Cause: Affects outer thighs, groin, and trunk; early signs include papules, pustules, epidermal collarettes, and crusts. Later stages progress to deep folliculitis or furunculosis.

Symptoms: Lesions on outer thighs, groin, and trunk, progressing from papules and pustules to deep folliculitis or furunculosis.

Lick granuloma




Cause: Develops from obsessive licking of the top surface of lower legs; may stem from a bacterial infection or psychological issue.

Symptoms: Skin lesion on the top surface of lower legs, often caused by obsessive licking.

Callus pyoderma




Cause: Commonly observed on the elbows of large dogs; presents as dark, thickened skin over infected pressure points.

Symptoms: Dark, thickened skin over pressure points, typically on elbows, with signs of infection.


East Cape Mānuka Oil and Its Efficacy on Pyoderma

New Zealand East Cape Region manuka oil

East Cape mānuka oil proves to be a promising solution for addressing pyoderma in dogs, showcasing potent antimicrobial properties without contributing to antimicrobial resistance. In a key study by Song et al. in 2013, the oil demonstrated excellent efficacy against Staphylococcus pseudintermedius strains, a common bacteria associated with skin and ear infections in dogs. This in vitro analysis included both methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible strains, highlighting the oil’s potential to combat bacterial infections linked to pyoderma. 

Moreover, a study by Bismark et al. in 2020 emphasised the oil’s robust antifungal effectiveness against Malassezia pachydermatis, an opportunistic fungus causing skin and ear infections in dogs. The dual action of East Cape mānuka oil against both bacteria and fungi positions it as a comprehensive and natural therapeutic option for managing a variety of skin infections in dogs, presenting a promising avenue for veterinary applications.

The scientific evidence from these independent studies underscores the potential of East Cape mānuka oil as a valuable asset in the holistic care of pyoderma in dogs. Its antimicrobial strength, supported by research, makes it a natural and effective choice for topical treatments, prophylactics, and other applications in veterinary dermatology. The oil’s dual effectiveness against bacteria and fungi offers a well-rounded approach to addressing the complexities of canine skin infections, making it a promising solution for responsible and comprehensive pet care.

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