Have you 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. Here, our Perry vets explain the potential causes, symptoms, and treatments for a yeast infection in your dog's ear.
What Are Dog Yeast Infections?
Yeast infections can develop on a dog's skin or in their ears if there is an excessive amount of yeast on 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.
What Are the Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Dogs' Ears?
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
- Change in color and texture of ears
- Head tilting and shaking
- Hearing loss
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.
What Causes 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
How Are Dog Yeast Infections Treated?
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 Westmoreland & Slappey Animal Hospital, 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 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.
How Do You Get 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 Westmoreland & Slappey Animal Hospital
Animal or 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 Perry 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-infections 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.