If your dog has an irritated, itchy spot that smells, they may be suffering from a yeast infection. Our Franklin vets are here to talk about the condition, what it looks like and how to treat it.
What Are Dog Yeast Infections?
Dogs can develop yeast infections either 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. Chronic dog yeast infections can cause the skin to become thickened and leave brown or black spots. Yeast infections in a dog's ear can also cause deafness if it goes too long without treatment.
What Are the Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Dogs?
There are a handful of signs and symptoms that could indicate your dog has a yeast infection including:
- Musty odor
- Skin redness
- Flaky or scaly skin
- Sores on the skin
- 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 veterinarian to schedule an appointment for your pooch.
What Causes Dog Yeast Infections?
There are many things that can cause a yeast infection in your pup including
- Swimming (ear yeast infections)
- Poor hygiene
- Foods high in sugar and carbs
- Heat and humidity
- Allergens (smoke, mold, dust, dander, cleaning products, etc.)
- Trapped moisture in skin folds, ears, or paw pads
- Frequent bathing (ear yeast infections)
- An underactive or overreactive immune system
- Trapped object in the ear, ear wax, or discharge (ear yeast infections)
- Certain ear drops (ear yeast infection)
How Are Dog Yeast Infections Treated?
If you believe your dog has a yeast infection the first thing you should start by calling your vet, the sooner their condition is addressed the faster your pooch will recover. 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 help with the 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.
Are There Home Remedies to Prevent Yeast Infections in Dogs?
Though yeast infections should be attended to by a veterinarian to make sure there are no secondary infections or complications, there are ways you can prevent your dog from developing yeast infections such as:
- Cleaning your dog's ears of dirt regularly with a clean cloth or cotton ball
- Completely drying your pup after a bath or playing in the water
- 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