Yeast dermatitis is a condition caused by the abnormal overgrowth of the yeast that is naturally found on your dog's skin. It can cause irritated, itchy, or flaking skin. Today, our South Lebanon vets discuss the signs, causes, and treatments available for yeast infections in dogs.
Yeast Infections 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 or discomfort unless there is an overgrowth of it present.
Yeast infections, otherwise known as Malassezia or yeast dermatitis, usually occur 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 more serious issues, such as deafness if left untreated.
What does yeast dermatitis look like on a dog?
Some common signs and symptoms that your dog might be suffering from yeast dermatitis are:
- 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 are odor, redness, and swelling of the infected area. If you notice your dog displaying any symptoms of a yeast infection call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment for your pup.
What causes yeast dog dermatitis or yeast ear infections?
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, yeast can take this as an opportunity to overproduce. 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
- Trapped object in the ear, ear wax, or discharge
- Certain ear drops
What is the best treatment for my dog's yeast infection?
If you believe your dog has yeast dermatitis you should contact your vet as soon as possible to be prescribed the correct medication for your pup. 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 severe your vet may prescribe oral tablets such as ketoconazole, fluconazole, or terbinafine.
Serious yeast infections in the ear may require more serious intervention and surgery may be recommended.
Can I use home remedies to prevent my dog from developing yeast dermatitis or yeast ear infections?
Though yeast infections should be attended to by a veterinarian to make sure there are no secondary infections or complications, there are a few ways you can help to prevent your dog from developing yeast infections such as:
- Completely drying your pup after a bath or playing in the water, paying particular attention to their ears
- 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.