Like humans, dogs can develop annoying and painful infections. One infection dogs can suffer from is a yeast infection. But unlike humans, this type of infection mainly affect the ears. Here is your complete guide on how to recognize a yeast infection in your dog.
Dogs that are frequently scratching their ears or tilting their head may be suffering from an ear infection due to a yeast overgrowth. A dogs ear canal is actually shaped like a “L”, plunging downward and away from their ear opening – giving a yeast a favorable opportunity to grow. Dogs that swim or are bathed frequently tend to get water or debris trapped in their ear canal – ultimately leading to a yeast infection.
Allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, feathers, cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and specific foods can also cause this type of infection.
And while an outer ear infection is fairly easy to spot and treat, once the infection spreads to the middle or inner ear it can cause the dog to lose their sense of balance.
Yeast infections can also grow on other areas of your dog and can cause the skin to become reddened, scabby, or crusty.
Furthermore, these infections tend to be more prevalent in dogs with floppy ears such as Cocker Spaniels, Basset Hounds, Golden Retrievers, and Poodles.
The main symptom of a yeast infection includes excessive ear scratching – either by their paws or by rubbing it on the floor or furniture. Other symptoms include yellow, brown, or bloody discharge, an odor, crusted skin on their ear flap, swelling or redness, hair loss around the ear, and head tilting or shaking.
More serious symptoms include loss of balance or hearing as well as walking in circles and unusual eye movement.
To treat a yeast infection, a veterinarian will look at the dogs ear canal with an otoscope to determine the severity of it. And, they may also take a sample of the discharge or material in or around the ear to examine it.
If the infection is in the outer area of the ear canal, topical antifungal cream or ointment may be prescribed.
A middle ear infection is treated with injections or tablets. With this type of infection and treatment, it may take up to six weeks to see results and further tests or surgery may be needed.
Unfortunately, some dogs suffer from chronic ear yeast infections. However, there are special cleansers and solutions that can be used as an at-home treatment.
To help prevent yeast infections, regularly check for any odor, discharge or swelling around the ears. After your dog enjoys a swim or gets a bath, gently pat the outer part of the ears dry to avoid any built up moisture. Never insert anything into your dog’s ear canal, though, as that can severely damage the ear drum and cause problems.
If your dog is showing any of these signs or symptoms, make sure to contact your veterinarian immediately.