Epidermal collarettes sound like some fancy canine neckwear. They are actually a skin condition occurring in dogs with pyoderma, a term translates literally into "pus in the skin." Take your dog to the vet if he exhibits any sign of a skin infection.
Canine pyoderma may be superficial -- consisting of lesions and pustules -- or deep, with the potential for blood poisoning. Fortunately, epidermal collarettes usually occur in dogs suffering from superficial pyoderma. Staphylococcus intermedius is usually the culprit, causing a superficial pyoderma. Symptoms include:
- constant itching
- secondary bacterial infections
- hair loss
- and foul odor.
Epidermal collarettes appear as circular lesions with scaly, peeling edges. They often show up on the abdomen but can appear anywhere on the animal's body. Epidermal collarettes usually form at the edge of areas of hair loss. They are a sign of skin infection, rather than an actual disease. Your vet won't treat the epidermal collarettes themselves but the overall pyoderma.
Epidermal collarettes are easily to find in short-haired dogs. Long-haired breeds, such as Shetland sheepdogs and collies, may have larger areas of hair loss, with the epidermal collarettes forming at the edge of where the hair loss continues to expand.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your vet makes a diagnosis based on your dog's symptoms and appearance. She may take a smear sample of the epidermal collarette or other lesions, to determine the nature of the infection. Treatment includes antibiotic therapy, both oral and topical. The topical antibiotic ointment is placed on the epidermal collarettes, as well as other lesions. Your vet will likely prescribe medicated shampoo and weekly or more frequent baths to remove bacteria and reduce odor.
Allergies often underlie pyoderma. Your dog may undergo allergy testing and subsequent treatment. If he's allergic to fleas, using a monthly topical or oral flea preventive should solve the problem, but food or environmental allergies take longer to get under control.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.