Yeast infections are caused by a fungus that can cause uncomfortable symptoms when the spores infect our pets. Today our Mandeville vets share some of the signs of yeast dermatitis in dogs and how you can help treat this fungal infection.
Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs
Dogs can develop yeast infections on their skin or in their ears when there is an abnormal overproduction of the yeast that is normally found on your pet's skin. Yeast is a natural spore-producing fungus on a dog's body that doesn't generally cause illness unless there is too much of it.
Yeast infections can also be called "Malassezia dermatitis, or Yeast Dermatitis" and it usually occurs in a dog's ears, between their paw pads, or in their skin folds. This condition can make the affected area of your dog's skin itchy, red, and irritated. Yeast infections in a dog's ear can also lead to deafness if the condition goes too long without treatment.
The Symptoms of Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs
There are a handful of signs and symptoms that could indicate your dog has yeast dermatitis or a yeast ear infection including:
- Skin redness
- Appearance of darkly pigmented skin
- Flaky or scaly skin
- Sores on the skin
- Musty odor
- Change in skin texture (elephant skin)
- Hair loss
- Head tilting and shaking (ear yeast infection)
- Hearing loss (ear yeast infection)
Typically the first symptoms your dog will develop is an odor as well as redness and swelling of the infected area but can progress to other symptoms including warmth and pain. If you notice your dog displaying any symptoms of yeast dermatitis call your veterinarian to schedule an examination for your pup.
The Common Causes of Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs
Yeast and other bacteria and fungi occur naturally on your dog's skin, and under normal circumstances don't cause any issues. However, if something causes your pup's skin condition to change or their immune system to become less effective opportunistic yeast infections can result. Some common causes of yeast dermatitis and ear infections in dogs include:
- An underactive or overreactive immune system
- Allergens (smoke, mold, dust, dander, cleaning products, etc.)
- Foods high in sugar and carbs
- Heat and humidity
- Poor hygiene
- Trapped moisture in skin folds, ears, or paw pads
- Frequent bathing (ear yeast infections)
- Swimming (ear yeast infections)
- Trapped object in the ear, ear wax, or discharge (ear yeast infections)
- Certain ear drops (ear yeast infection)
How Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs Can Be Treated
If you believe your dog has yeast dermatitis or a yeast ear infection the first thing you should do is call your vet, early treatment is key to relieving the condition with as few secondary effects or complications as possible. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose your pup's infection by culturing or with cytology, they might also take skin and hair samples from around the infected area for additional testing.
When your dog is diagnosed with a yeast infection your vet will prescribe an antifungal medication which may include an ointment to apply to the infected area or a medicated shampoo to relieve symptoms. If your dog's infection is more serious your vet may prescribe oral tables such as ketoconazole, fluconazole, or terbinafine.
If your dog has a yeast infection in its ear that caused deafness your pup might require total ear canal ablation surgery.
Things You Can Do at Home to Help Prevent Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs
If your dog is experiencing a yeast infection you should have them examined by a vet as soon as possible to ensure that no secondary infections or complications have occurred. There are also a few ways you can help to prevent your dog from developing yeast dermatitis such as:
- Completely drying your pup after a bath or playing in the water
- Cleaning your dog's ears of dirt regularly with a clean cloth or cotton ball
- Feed your pooch a healthy diet full of protein and other nutrients
- Brush your dog often as part of their regular hygiene routine to clear away dead skin and dirt
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.