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Yeast Infection in Dogs' Ears

If you have spotted an irritated, itchy patch with an odor on your dog's ear, they may have a yeast infection that requires the attention of a veterinary dermatologist. In this article, our Cordova vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of a yeast infection in a dog's ear.

Canine Yeast Infections

Yeast infections can develop on a dog's skin or in their ears if there is an excessive amount of yeast in their body. Yeast is a naturally occurring, spore-producing fungus. While it generally doesn't cause illness if kept in check, it can cause problems if it grows out of control. 

Also referred to as "Malassezia dermatitis", yeast infections typically occur in a dog's ears, in their skin folds, or between their paw pads. The condition can cause your dog's skin to become irritated, itchy and red. These infections can also lead to deafness if left untreated. 

Signs of a Yeast Infection in a Dog's Ear

These signs and symptoms may point to a yeast infection in your dog's ears:

  • Hair loss 
  • Sores on the skin 
  • Flaky or scaly skin 
  • Itching and scratching 
  • Musty odor
  • Hearing loss 
  • Head tilting and shaking 
  • Change in color and texture of ears 

Typically, the first symptoms to develop are redness and swelling of the infected area. That said, this can progress to other symptoms, including warmth and pain. If symptoms of a yeast infection appear in your dog's ear or anywhere else on their body, contact your veterinarian to book an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

Causes of Yeast Infection in a Dog's Ear

Many factors can be to blame for a yeast infection in your pup's ear, including:

  • Foods high in carbs and sugar 
  • Excessive heat and humidity 
  • An under-active or overreactive immune system 
  • Poor hygiene 
  • Too-frequent bathing 
  • Allergens (dust, smoke, mold, cleaning products, etc. )
  • Moisture trapped in skin folds 
  • Certain ear drops 
  • Trapped object in the ear, ear discharge, or wax 

Treating Dog Yeast Infections

If you believe your dog has a yeast infection the first thing you should do is call your vet, as the sooner their condition is addressed the faster your pooch will recover.

Yeast infections fall within the specialty of pet (veterinary) dermatology. At Memphis Veterinary Specialists, our veterinary dermatologist specializes in treating skin and ear conditions in pets, including infections and allergies. 

The veterinary dermatologist 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 tablets such as ketoconazole, fluconazole, or terbinafine.

If your dog has a yeast infection in its ear that causes deafness your pup might require total ear canal ablation surgery.

Getting Rid of a Yeast Infection in a Dog's Ear

Though yeast infections should be attended to by a veterinary dermatologist to make sure there are no secondary infections or complications, there are ways you can prevent your dog from developing yeast infections 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 animal friend 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

Some yeast infections will need veterinary attention. For those, treatment will depend on the cause and may include topical medications, oral antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory medications. 

Veterinary Dermatology at Memphis Veterinary Specialists

Veterinary dermatology involves the diagnosis and treatment of animals with disorders of the ears, hair, skin, and nails. Pet dermatologists also have training and experience in treating allergic disorders. 

Our veterinary dermatologist in Cordova is here to help. We understand that chronic and recurring skin problems, allergies, or ear infections can be extremely uncomfortable and irritating for your pet, not to mention frustrating for you as a pet owner. 

This specialist is extremely qualified in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious and non-infectious skin diseases, parasitic skin diseases, allergy and allergy-induced skin diseases, autoimmune diseases, and other skin issues. 

At your appointment, our pet dermatologist will study your pet's history, and then use advanced diagnostic tools in our in-house lab to identify the source of your pet's skin condition. 

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.

Do you suspect your dog has a yeast ear infection or other condition that requires a veterinary dermatologist? Contact our Cordova vets to book an appointment.

From Happy Pet Owners

  • “Forever thankful to kind, sweet, gentle, wonderful Dr. Tina Brown. Our 3 year old girl has been sick for months, but after one month she is back to feeling her happy, playful self again. It feels wonderful to have such an excellent support system in place when I need help.”
    Dale C.

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