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Diagnosis is simple
Folliculitis is relatively easy to identify just by looking at the skin. The challenge is determining why it is there. Thankfully, there are several quick and easy tests that can be used to find the particular cause of the folliculitis.
Skin scrape and hair plucking: Demodex can be identified via a skin scrape. A sample of the cells, hair and debris on the surface of the skin can be examined under the microscope to look for parasites. Hair can also be plucked to look for demodex mites clinging to the hair shafts.
Fungal culture: A fungal culture can be performed to identify dermatophytes. Again, this is a relatively easy and inexpensive test, although it does take up to seven to ten days to get full results.
Skin cytology: This is similar to a scrape but is done to determine the presence of bacterial infection. Unfortunately, this test does not specify what strain of bacteria is present.
Bacterial culture: If the condition is chronic or unresponsive to previous treatment, a bacterial culture may be necessary. While this test can be expensive, it is often needed to ensure that the treatment chosen works properly.
If allergies are suspected, the allergens need to be identified and avoided. For example, a common type of folliculitis occurs on the chin, and is referred to as “chin acne”. It can result from contact with certain types of plastic, so switching out plastic food and water bowls to glass or ceramic eliminates the problem. Other options for addressing allergies include diet changes. Talk to your veterinarian if you suspect your dog’s folliculitis is related to allergies.