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Understanding Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs

If your dog is experiencing irritating, itchy, or flakey skin, the problem could be yeast dermatitis. In this post, our Cordova vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of yeast dermatitis in dogs.

Yeast on a Dog's Skin

Yeast infections on a dog's skin or in their ears can develop when there is an abnormal overproduction of the yeast that is typically 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 an excess amount of it. 

Also called Malassezia dermatitis or Yeast Dermatitis, yeast infections usually occur in a dog's ears, between their paw pads, or in their skin folds. This condition can lead to severe itchiness and redness. Yeast infections in a dog's ear can also lead to deafness when left untreated for extended periods.

What does yeast dermatitis look like on a dog?

There are a handful of signs and symptoms that could be an indication that your dog has yeast dermatitis or a yeast ear infection. These signs include:

  • Red irritated skin
  • Itching and scratching
  • The appearance of darkly pigmented skin 
  • Flaky or scaly skin
  • Sores on the skin
  • Musty odor
  • Change in skin texture (elephant skin)
  • Hair loss, bald patches
  • Head tilting and shaking (ear yeast infection)
  • Hearing loss (ear yeast infection)

The first symptoms that you will likely notice include a musty odor accompanied by redness and swelling of the infected area. However, these symptoms can quickly advance and become a painful experience for your pup. If your dog begins to show any signs of a yeast infection, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for your pup. 

Causes of Yeast Dog Dermatitis

Yeast, bacteria, and fungi occur naturally on your dog's skin but don't lead to health issues under normal circumstances. Nevertheless, if something causes your dog's skin condition to change or their immune system to become less effective, opportunistic yeast infections can occur.

A few of the most 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)
  • Various ear drops (ear yeast infection)

Treating Yeast Dermatitis in Dogs

If you believe your dog has yeast dermatitis, the first thing you should do is call your vet. The sooner their condition is addressed by a veterinarian, the sooner your canine companion will recover. Your vet 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. 

If 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.

Our Cordova dermatology specialist will be able to effectively diagnose and treat any dermatological issues your dog may have. If you notice any signs of a skin condition on your pup, don't hesitate to call us.

Home Remedies That May Help Prevent Canine Yeast DermatitiS

Though yeast infections should be managed by a veterinarian to ensure there are no secondary infections or complications, there are a few things you can do to help prevent your dog from developing yeast infections. These at-home remedies include:

  • 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. 

Is your dog showing signs of yeast dermatitis or another skin condition? Contact our Cordova vets right away to have your pup diagnosed and treated by our specialist.

From Happy Pet Owners

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