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Nursing intertrigo in the dog

02 October 2018
10 mins read
Volume 9 · Issue 8


Intertrigo is a dermatitis caused by friction between two skin surfaces that are intimately apposed and rub against each other. Any skin fold can be affected but common sites include the lips, face, vulva, tail, neck and general body folds. In all cases, lesions are characterised by erythema, exudation and a malodorous discharge. Cytology of lesions is easily achieved and is essential in the selection of appropriate topical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the fold.

Intertrigo or skin fold dermatitis is commonly encountered in primary care practice. Inflammation in skin folds is created by friction as skin rubs on closely apposed skin. Although any area where intimate skin-to-skin contact occurs can be affected, the rise in popularity of brachycephalic breeds such as the French Bulldog, Pug and English Bulldog has meant more dogs are presenting with intertrigo. Typically these breeds develop facial, neck and body fold intertrigo. Other forms of intertrigo can affect lip folds, vulval folds and mammary and scrotal folds (Miller et al, 2013; Paterson, 2017).

Cytological assessment of lesions is easily achieved and important in the selection of therapy. Early recognition of intertrigo allows management with topical cleansers and protectants (Paterson, 2017). However, if the disease goes unnoticed, it can develop into a painful, ulcerated dermatitis that is difficult to manage as a result of both owner and pet resistance (Paterson, 2017). Where severe disease is present and medical therapy impossible, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove the excess skin (Paterson, 2017). The practice nurse can play an invaluable role in checking puppies of susceptible breeds when they come in for their first check-ups and advising owners on the management of skin folds to prevent disease.

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