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Bacterial Disease of the Foot in Prairie Dogs

Pododermatitis in Prairie Dogs


Pododermatitis is a condition where a prairie dog’s foot becomes inflamed due to skin irritation. It is caused by bacterial infections, typically Staphylococcus aureus, in which the bacteria enter the prairie dog’s feet through tiny cuts or scrapes. If the pododermatitis infection is not attended to properly and promptly, it may lead to serious complications.




  • Inflammation of the foot
  • Skin abrasions
  • Pus-filled sores on the foot
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swollen joints




Staphylococ­cus aureus bacteria are often the cause for the development of pododermatitis in prairie dogs, especially captive prairie dogs that have rough or wire cage floors. The bacteria in the environment can then enter the prairie dog's feet through tiny cuts or scrapes.




Your veterinarian can diagnose pododermatitis infection by examining your prairie dog and through laboratory tests. Blood tests may determine the causative agent.