Lip fold pyoderma is a condition that can affect dogs that have pendulous lower lips. This is not a life threatening condition, but will take a commitment on the part of the dog's handler to make sure the areas concerned are well taken care of. Even in the most severe cases, a simple surgery can be performed to help stop the condition from returning permanently. In this article, we'll take a closer look at lip fold pyoderma, which breeds are predisposed to develop it, and what can be done to treat it.
What is lip fold pyoderma?
"Pyoderma" is the medical term for a skin infection that produces pus. In some breeds that have very large lower lips, gravity creates a natural fold where saliva and food can become trapped. This can cause irritation and eventually develop into a bacterial infection called Staphylococcus intermedius, which does not affect human beings. If left unchecked, this can produce a very strong, foul odor around the mouth area. In the worst cases, it can be detected simply when the dog enters a room!
Which breeds are affected?
Breeds that have naturally large lower lips and are predisposed to develop this condition include bloodhounds, Saint Bernards, Cocker and Springer spaniels. Because this condition is not considered a life threatening disease, little has been done to try to remove this feature through selective breeding. Potential owners of these breeds should be warned before buying a puppy that this condition has the potential to develop, but with foreknowledge much of the bad effects can be avoided. Those potential dog owners that wish to avoid dealing with this kind of condition would do better to seek out a different breed to adopt.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from lip fold pyoderma, the dog should visit the veterinarian as soon as possible. Lip fold pyoderma is diagnosed simply by red, moist areas around the natural folds of the bottom lip and, in the worst cases, will have a very strong, foul odor. This condition can also be mildly irritating to the dog and he may try to scratch the areas infected.
Lip fold pyoderma is usually very easy to manage, once it has been diagnosed. The veterinarian may suggest a special or medicated shampoo to help keep the affected areas clean and to discourage bacteria from forming. When an infection does occur, it will have to be treated with antibiotics. In those severe cases when infections reoccur even after using the special shampoo and antibiotics, surgery may be suggested by the veterinarian. Surgically removing the extra skin that causes the fold will remove the possibility of the infection returning permanently.