Merck Manual

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Overview of Systemic Pharmacotherapeutics of the Integumentary System in Animals


Michael Shipstone

, BVSc, FACVS, DACVD, Dermatology for Animals

Reviewed/Revised Apr 2022 | Modified Nov 2022

Drugs that may be used in the integumentary system fall into several therapeutic categories, such as antimicrobials (antibacterials Antibacterials for Integumentary Disease in Animals Most canine skin infections are caused by coagulase-positive Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (formerly S intermedius), which commonly produce beta-lactamase. Other staphylococcal... read more and antifungals Antifungals for Integumentary Disease in Animals The skin lesions of the subcutaneous ( sporotrichosis, phaeohyphomycosis, hyalohyphomycosis, and zygomycosis) and systemic mycoses ( blastomycosis, coccidiomycosis, cryptococcosis, and histoplasmosis)... read more ), antiparasitics Antiparasitic Drugs for Integumentary Disease in Animals Skin disease caused by ectoparasites is common in large animals. The most common equine parasitic dermatoses are chorioptic mange, pediculosis, habronemiasis, and onchocerciasis. In small animals... read more , NSAIDs, immunomodulators Immunomodulators for Integumentary Disease in Animals Immunostimulation is used to enhance a deficient immunologic response; however, animals that appear to benefit from these agents are not severely immunosuppressed. The most common use of immunostimulants... read more , hormones Hormonal Treatment for Integumentary Disease in Animals Glucocorticoids have profound effects on nearly all cell types and organ systems, particularly immunologic and inflammatory activity. They may be used in either an anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive... read more , psychotropic agents Psychotropic Agents for Integumentary Disease in Animals Psychotropic drugs have been used in an extralabel manner for treatment of feline psychogenic alopecia and canine acral lick dermatitis, syndromes characterized by excessive self-licking (also... read more , and vitamin and mineral supplements Vitamins and Minerals for Integumentary Disease in Animals Naturally occurring and synthetic compounds with vitamin A activity include retinol, retinoic acid, and retinol derivatives or analogues. At the molecular level, retinoids are important in regulation... read more .

Several factors may contribute to the development of the particular clinical presentation. Each factor should be identified and treated for treatment to succeed. For example, recurrent otitis may have a primary underlying skin disease but be complicated by both predisposing and perpetuating factors. Further, successful treatment of skin disease may require long-term or lifelong treatment and is frequently a matter of successful control rather than cure.

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