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Clinical and histopathologic features of dorsally located furunculosis in dogs following water immersion or exposure to grooming products: 22 cases (2005–2013)

Christine L. CainDepartment of Clinical Studies-Philadelphia, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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Elizabeth A. MauldinDepartment of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

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Abstract

Objective—To describe clinical and histopathologic features of furunculosis in dogs following water immersion or exposure to grooming products.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—22 dogs with skin lesions consistent with furunculosis and a history of water immersion or grooming prior to onset.

Procedures—Information collected from the medical records of affected dogs included signalment, clinical signs, bathing or grooming procedure, diagnostic tests, treatment, and outcome.

Results—German Shepherd Dogs (4/22 [18%]) and Labrador Retrievers (4/22 [18%]) were most commonly affected. Skin lesions, particularly hemorrhagic pustules and crusts, were dorsally located in all dogs and occurred a median of 2 days (range, 1 to 7 days) following water immersion or exposure to grooming products. Twenty (91%) dogs were bathed at home or at a commercial grooming facility prior to lesion onset; 1 dog developed skin lesions following hydrotherapy on an underwater treadmill, and 1 dog developed peri-incisional skin lesions after surgery. Lethargy, signs of neck or back pain, and fever were common clinical signs. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most common bacterial isolate from dogs with bacteriologic culture performed on skin samples (10/14). The main histologic feature was acute follicular rupture in the superficial dermis with suppurative inflammation and dermal hemorrhage. Systemic antimicrobial treatment, particularly oral administration of fluoroquinolones, resulted in excellent clinical response in 16 of 22 (73%) dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Acute-onset furunculosis with characteristic clinical and histopathologic features in dogs following water immersion or exposure to grooming products was described. Knowledge of the historical and clinical features of this syndrome is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of affected dogs.

Abstract

Objective—To describe clinical and histopathologic features of furunculosis in dogs following water immersion or exposure to grooming products.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—22 dogs with skin lesions consistent with furunculosis and a history of water immersion or grooming prior to onset.

Procedures—Information collected from the medical records of affected dogs included signalment, clinical signs, bathing or grooming procedure, diagnostic tests, treatment, and outcome.

Results—German Shepherd Dogs (4/22 [18%]) and Labrador Retrievers (4/22 [18%]) were most commonly affected. Skin lesions, particularly hemorrhagic pustules and crusts, were dorsally located in all dogs and occurred a median of 2 days (range, 1 to 7 days) following water immersion or exposure to grooming products. Twenty (91%) dogs were bathed at home or at a commercial grooming facility prior to lesion onset; 1 dog developed skin lesions following hydrotherapy on an underwater treadmill, and 1 dog developed peri-incisional skin lesions after surgery. Lethargy, signs of neck or back pain, and fever were common clinical signs. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was the most common bacterial isolate from dogs with bacteriologic culture performed on skin samples (10/14). The main histologic feature was acute follicular rupture in the superficial dermis with suppurative inflammation and dermal hemorrhage. Systemic antimicrobial treatment, particularly oral administration of fluoroquinolones, resulted in excellent clinical response in 16 of 22 (73%) dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Acute-onset furunculosis with characteristic clinical and histopathologic features in dogs following water immersion or exposure to grooming products was described. Knowledge of the historical and clinical features of this syndrome is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of affected dogs.

Contributor Notes

Presented in abstract form at the North American Dermatology Forum, Phoenix, April 2014.

Address correspondence to Dr. Cain (ccain@vet.upenn.edu).