Occasionally your dog could develop yeast infections on their skin which is characterized by itchy, red and irritated skin. Today, our Montecito veterinary dermatologists discuss yeast infections in dogs including how they are caused, the symptoms, and how they can be treated.
What Are Dog Yeast Infections?
Dogs can develop yeast infections on their skin or in their ears when there is too much yeast on their body. 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" and it usually occurs in a dog's ears, between their paw pads, or in their skin folds. This condition can make the infected area of your dog's skin itchy, red, and irritated. Yeast infections in a dog's ear can also cause deafness if it goes too long without treatment. It is important to contact our dog dermatologists as soon as possible when you discover signs of a yeast infection.
What Are The Common Signs & Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Dogs?
There are many common signs and symptoms that could indicate your dog has a yeast infection including:
- Skin redness
- Flaky or scaly skin
- Sores on the skin
- Musty odor
- Change in skin texture and color
- 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 a yeast infection call your veterinary dermatologist to schedule an appointment for your canine companion.
What Are The Causes of Dog Yeast Infections?
There are many things that can cause a yeast infection in your pup including:
- 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)
What Is The Treatment For Dog Yeast Infections?
If you believe your dog has a yeast infection the first thing you should do is call your vet dermatologist, the sooner their condition is addressed the faster your dog will recover. Your 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 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.
Is it Possible to Treat Dog Yeast Infections at Home?
Though yeast infections should be attended to by a dog 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 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