Impetigo is a bacterial skin condition that is highly contagious. It can appear anywhere on the body in various sizes from dime to quarter-sized lesions. The impetigo will first appear as a small blister that becomes open and moist, which is when it becomes infectious to anyone in close proximity. Severe cases of impetigo attack deeper within the skin, developing into ecthyma which is another severe skin disorder.
Impetigo is caused by Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that is most often found in the respiratory tract and on the skin. Another contributing factor to impetigo is Group A Streptococcus, another form of bacteria predisposed to the skin and throat. These types of bacteria are everywhere and difficult to avoid but the most common way to contract impetigo is to be closely exposed to anyone infected with the bacterial disease. Because of their active and curious nature, getting into anything and everything, children are more susceptible to impetigo according to the WebMd.com linked below.
Impetigo is not common in dogs and cats and by no means causes the bacterial disease. VetInfo.com states that it is the young animal that is most susceptible to the bacterial condition where puss-filled growths known as pustules form all over the abdomen and groin areas. The pustules can be very painful, especially as they burst, ooze out, spread and crust over. In this stage, the impetigo is very contagious to other animals and humans handling the infected animal, especially if the human already has any open sores or wounds.
Cats and dogs do not cause impetigo in humans but they are common carriers of the bacteria, namely streptococcus and staphylococcus. If the animal gets an open sore, it may contaminate anything it touches and lays on, including it’s human. The children play with the pet, caressing and petting it, touches other pets, kids and adults with the same hands, leading to further contamination. In fact, a simple housefly may sit on an infected animal or human with an oozing sore, passing the bacteria. On the other hand, an infected person with impetigo may hug their dog and pass on the disease. The pet may not get infected but is now a carrier to other animals and humans touching it. Having the infection is a constant vicious cycle that needs to be diagnosed and treated immediately.
In minor cases, pets may not need treatment for the impetigo bacterial infection. However, a more severely affected pet may require a topical or oral anti-biotic medical therapy per the recommendations of your veterinarian. In some instances, shampoos that contain benzoyl peroxide can be used along with anti-bacterial treatment to be more effective in ridding the bacteria. In addition to treatment, it is important to clean your pet’s environment such as floors and bedding to eliminate any of the bacterial contaminants that led to the impetigo.
Treating humans involves antibiotic therapy such as topical ointments and oral medications. For quicker results, use the topical and oral antibiotic simultaneously. To avoid further contamination, especially if you are aware of open lesions on an individual or your pet, wear gloves, wash hands often and seek appropriate treatment when in doubt. Links below are provided for you to get further information on impetigo between humans and pets.
http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/understanding-impetigo-basics http://new.vetinfo.com/impetigo-in-dogs.html https://www.healthtap.com/#user_questions/122060-can-impetigo-on-a-child-be-spread-to-pet-dogs-or-cats