Allergic to Dogs and Allergies in Dogs Resource

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis (Folliculitis)

Canine eosinophilic furunculosis is an uncommon condition often considered similar to eosinophilic granuloma. Although the cause is not certain, it is believed to develop due to an acute allergic reaction; primarily to bites from venomous insects or arachnids e.g. bees or spiders, although a reaction to medication is possible (Mauldin et al. 2006). Dog breeds characterized by being inquisitive or curious e.g. Terriers, or those with long noses tend to be affected more frequently.

Folliculitis refers to inflammation of the hair follicles. A furuncle is more commonly known as a boil and furunculosis refers to a crop of boils which may be continuous or develop over a period of time. A boil is an infected hair follicle characterized as a red, inflamed and tender lump on the skin containing pus, and is typically associated with the bacterium Staphyloccus aureus

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis (Folliculitis)

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis (Folliculitis) Symptoms

Symptoms of the condition can include boils, papules, nodules, ulcerated lesions (can appear as blisters containing blood that then become pus filled and weep) and crusty deposits that tend to affect the face, ear flaps and in particular, the muzzle/bridge of the nose. The somewhat alarming appearance of the condition on the upper side (dorsum) of the muzzle (Curtis et al. 1995) characterized by reddening, soreness and possible necrosis, has been referred to as ‘nasal pyoderma’ and even ‘face rot’. Furthermore, the abdomen or chest may also be affected and the condition can be painful with localized swelling, possible itchiness and fever. Symptoms usually peak within the first day although the aftermath, even with treatment, can take weeks to clear and there remains the possibility of recurrence and permanent scarring.

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis (Folliculitis) Diagnosis

Diagnosis is determined through cytology (study of cells using microscopic observation) and histology (study of microscopic structure of tissue). Impression smears and biopsy of the skin will be taken and observed microscopically. Characteristics include inflamed hair follicles (folliculitis) and the presence of excessive numbers of eosinophils; other types of white blood cells e.g. lymphocytes, may be present in varying numbers. Differential diagnosis is a necessity i.e. ruling out other conditions that may exhibit similar symptoms such as demodicosis or ectoparasitic infections.

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis (Folliculitis) Treatment

Treatment will normally involve topical/systemic antibiotics to clear up and prevent infections, as well as using steroids which aid the healing process and can help prevent permanent scarring e.g. prednisone. Hydrotherapy (use of water for pain relief and treatment) is also sometimes used with this condition. As a precaution, the owner of any dog who has experienced the condition should adopt preventative measures to minimize the risk from future exposure to venomous insects and spiders.

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