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Yeast Infection in Dogs' Ears

If you have spotted an irritated, itchy patch with an odor on your dog's ear, they may have a yeast infection that requires a vet's attention. In this article, our Benton vets discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of a yeast infection in a dog's ear.

What is a yeast infection in a dog's ears?

If a dog has excessive yeast in its body, yeast infections can develop on its skin or in its ears. 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 known as "Malassezia dermatitis," yeast infections typically occur in a dog's ears, skin folds, or between paw pads. The condition can cause your dog's skin to become irritated, itchy, and red. If left untreated, these infections can also lead to deafness.

How can you tell if your dog has a yeast infection?

Recognizing and treating a yeast infection early can prevent more serious complications and help your pet feel better faster. These signs and symptoms may indicate 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 

The initial symptoms of a yeast infection in dogs usually include redness and swelling in the affected area. This can then lead to other symptoms, such as warmth and pain. If you notice any symptoms of a yeast infection in your dog's ear or anywhere else on their body, it's important to contact your veterinarian and schedule an appointment for your furry 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 can we cure a yeast infection in dogs' ears at home?

Yeast infections in dogs' ears can cause discomfort and irritation. While a veterinary consultation is recommended to confirm the diagnosis and get professional treatment, some home remedies can alleviate your dog's symptoms and manage the infection.

  • Prepare the solution: If using a homemade solution, mix equal parts of water and vinegar. Vinegar helps create an acidic environment that yeast dislikes.
  • Apply the cleaner: Lift your dog's ear flap and gently squirt the solution into the ear canal. Be careful not to insert the nozzle too deeply.
  • Massage the ear: Gently massage the base of the ear for about 20-30 seconds to help loosen any debris.
  • Wipe away excess: Use a cotton ball or gauze pad to wipe away any debris and excess cleaner from the ear. Avoid using cotton swabs as they can push debris further into the ear canal.

If your dog shows signs of severe discomfort, pain, excessive discharge, or foul odor, it's important to consult a veterinarian. They can prescribe more pain medication and ensure no underlying condition contributes to the yeast infection.

How do you treat yeast infections in a dog's ear?

If you suspect that your dog has a yeast infection, you should first call your vet. The sooner your dog's condition is addressed, the faster it will recover.

The vet can diagnose your pup's infection by culturing or cytology. They might also take skin and hair samples from around the infected area for additional testing.

What do vets give dogs for ear infections?

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 tablets such as ketoconazole, fluconazole, or terbinafine.

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

How to get rid of a yeast infection in a dog's ear?

Though a veterinarian should attend to yeast infections to make sure there are no secondary infections or complications, there are ways you can prevent your dog from developing yeast infections, such as:

  • Thoroughly 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 require veterinary attention. Treatment depends on the cause and may include topical medications, oral antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory medications. 

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.

Do you suspect your dog has a yeast ear infection? Contact our Benton vets to book an appointment.

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