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Yeast Infection in a Dog's Ear

Have you noticed an irritated, itchy patch with an odor on your dog's ear? This may be a sign of a yeast infection that requires the attention of a veterinary dermatologist. Today, our Irvine vets discuss yeast infections in a dog's ear, including the causes, signs, and treatment options.

Canine Yeast Infections

When there is an excessive amount of yeast in the body, a yeast infection can develop on a dog's skin or in their ears. Yeast is a naturally occurring, spore-producing fungus. While it typically doesn't lead to an illness or condition if kept in check, it can cause problems if not kept under control. 

Also referred to as "Malassezia dermatitis", yeast infections will often 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. If the infection is not cared for, it can result in deafness. 

Signs of a Yeast Ear Infection in Dogs

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
  • Hearing loss 
  • Head tilting and shaking 
  • Change in color and texture of ears 

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 yeast infection symptoms appear in your dog's ear or anywhere else on their body, contact your veterinarian to book an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

Causes of 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 to Cure Yeast Infections in a Dog's Ear

If you believe your dog has a yeast infection the first thing you should do is call your vet or a veterinary dermatologist. The sooner their condition is addressed, the faster your pooch will recover. 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, they will be prescribed an antifungal medication. This 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.

If your dog has a yeast infection in its ear that causes deafness, They might require total ear canal ablation surgery.

Preventing a Yeast Infection in Your 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. 

Is your dog showing signs of a yeast infection? Contact our Irvine vets to book an exam for your pup.

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