Dog Ear Yeast Infection: Causes And Treatment
A dog ear yeast infection is an overgrowth of yeast in your dog’s ear that can result in a variety of symptoms, including redness, irritation, a foul-smelling odor, and itching. The most common cause of canine ear yeast infections is an overgrowth of the Malassezia pachydermatis yeast, which is a naturally-occurring yeast found on the skin. This yeast is usually not problematic, but when conditions are right, it can create an imbalance in the ear, leading to an infection.
Other causes of dog ear yeast infections include excessive earwax, underlying skin conditions, food allergies, environmental allergies, and an underlying medical condition such as hypothyroidism. If left untreated, yeast infections can cause more serious complications such as irritation, damage to the ear, hearing loss, and even systemic infections. In these cases, it is important to seek prompt veterinary care to prevent further health complications.
Dog Ear Yeast Infection: Causes And Treatment
Ear yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of the yeast species Candida albicans. This fungus often lives in the ear canal of healthy dogs, and its overgrowth can lead to infection. Common symptoms of ear yeast infection in dogs include reddened, inflamed skin in the ears, scabs or crusts in the ears, an unpleasant smell from the ears, or a black or yellow discharge from the ear.
The most common treatments for ear yeast infections in dogs include the use of ear cleaner, topical medications, and antibiotics. Ear cleaners, such as those containing miconazole or ketoconazole, can be used to break down the accumulated debris and wax in the ear as part of the treatment process. Additionally, a veterinarian may also prescribe a topical ointment or solution to decrease the yeast. If the infection is severe, a course of oral antibiotics may be required.
In addition to medication, a preventative approach is the best way to reduce the chances of an infection recurring. Regular cleaning of your dog’s ears with a recommended cleaner can help reduce the chances of any fungus or bacteria building up. Additionally, making sure your dog’s ears dry completely after swimming or bathing can also help reduce the likelihood of an infection.
What Are Ear Yeast Infections in Dogs?
A dog ear yeast infection is caused by a fungus called Malassezia pachydermatis. It is a normal part of the skin flora of dogs, but when it becomes overgrown, it can cause an infection. The most common symptom of an ear yeast infection in dogs is an excessive amount of dark, brown or reddish waxy discharge in the affected ear(s). Other symptoms can include head shaking, ear scratching, bad odor emanating from the ear(s), and in extreme cases, swelling and discharge from the ear(s), as well as hearing loss.
Dog Ear Infection Yeast vs Bacterial
Dog ear infections are often caused by yeast or bacterial infections. Yeast infections are usually caused by an imbalance in the pH of the ear canal which allows bad bacteria to take hold and replicate. These infections can occur in any breed of dog but are more common in long-eared breeds, such as beagles, spaniels, and basset hounds. Symptoms of yeast infections include scratching the ears, head shaking, foul smell in the ears, and brown waxy discharge.
Bacterial ear infections are typically caused by an underlying condition that affects the immune system such as allergies, skin infections, or a reaction to ear mites. Symptoms of bacterial infections include redness and swelling of the ear canal, smelly ear discharge, and pain when the ear is touched. The treatment for both types of infections usually involves cleaning the ear canal, taking antibiotics, and using anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Additionally, surgical treatments such as ear flushing and steroids may be used to control infection.
Causes of Yeast Ear Infection in Dogs
- Moisture Exposure: Yeast ear infections are most commonly caused by an excess of moisture in the ear. Dogs with long, floppy ears are particularly prone to this type of infection, as the long ear flaps can create a closed environment where moisture easily accumulates.
- Allergies: Allergies are a common cause of ear infection in dogs, and yeast is one of the primary culprits. It is important to identify and treat the underlying cause of the allergy in order to reduce the risk of recurrent yeast ear infections.
- Bacterial Infection: Ear infections caused by bacteria can sometimes lead to an overgrowth of yeast, which further aggravates the infection.
- Foreign Objects: In some cases, a foreign object such as a grass seed or insect can get lodged in the ear and cause an infection. If left untreated, this can lead to an overgrowth of yeast, resulting in a yeast ear infection.
- Hormonal Imbalance: Dogs with an underlying hormonal imbalance might be more prone to developing a yeast ear infection. Conditions such as hypothyroidism can increase the risk of yeast overgrowth.
What Foods Cause Yeast Infections in Dogs’ Ears?
- High-sugar foods like treats, dairy products, and table scraps
- High-starch foods like bread, pasta, and potatoes
- Organ meats like liver and kidney
- Greasy foods like butter and meats
- Allergens like wheat, corn, and soy
- Fish that’s not cooked properly
Are Certain Dog Breeds More Susceptible to Yeast Infections?
Yes, some dog breeds are more likely to develop yeast infections than others. These breeds include Basset Hounds, Poodles, Bichon Frises, Bulldogs, Shih Tzu’s, Cocker Spaniels, and Maltese. Dogs with chronic allergies, skin folds, long ears, and a suppressed immune system may also be more prone to developing yeast infections.
What Are the Signs of an Ear Yeast Infection in Dogs?
The primary signs of an ear yeast infection in dogs are red, irritated, and/or itchy ears, white discharge with an unpleasant odor, and head shaking. In chronic cases, swelling of the ear flap may occur. Other signs include matted fur near the ears, excessive head scratching, and head tilting.
How Do Vets Diagnose Ear Yeast Infections in Dogs?
Vets will typically diagnose an ear yeast infection in dogs through a combination of physical exams, taking an ear swab, and looking at the results under a microscope. During the physical exam, the vet will be looking for any signs of inflammation, irritation, excessive wax, redness, and bad odor. They may then take an ear swab to look for yeast cells in the swab sample. By looking at the physical exam and the sample under a microscope, the vet can confirm the presence of yeast. Other diagnostic tests may be used, such as blood tests and imaging, in order to determine the underlying cause of the ear infection.
How to Clean Your Dog Ears with a Yeast Infection
- Make sure your dog is in a comfortable position. Sit or lay down and be sure to have a muzzle on if necessary.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 1 cup of warm water together and soak a cotton ball in it.
- Gently squeeze the cotton ball to remove any excess liquid and hold it against the opening of the ear canal.
- Gently massage the ear to help loosen any debris, wax, and dirt.
- Remove the cotton ball and dispose of it.
- Rinse out the ear with warm water to flush out the debris.
- Apply a small amount of an anti-yeast/anti-bacterial ear cleaner to the affected area.
- Place a cotton ball in the ear to absorb any excess fluid and leave it in place for several minutes.
- Remove the cotton ball and dry the area with a cotton swab.
- Keep your dog from shaking its head to allow the medicine to remain in the ear.
- Repeat daily as needed for several weeks to clear up the infection.
Best Ear Cleaner for Dogs With Yeast Infection
The best ear cleaner for dogs with a yeast infection is one that is specifically formulated to treat infections, preferably one that contains an anti-fungal active ingredient such as ketoconazole. It may also contain other ingredients to help soothe inflammation such as aloe vera, chamomile, or tea tree oil. Additionally, you should look for an ear cleaner that does not contain harsh chemicals and will not irritate the skin. If you are unable to find an ear cleaner with the mentioned ingredients, you can always create your own solution with a mixture of white vinegar and water.
Treating a Dog Ear Yeast Infection
- Visit your veterinarian: A visit to the vet is always the first step when a pet appears to have a health problem. Your vet will prescribe the appropriate medication to help clear up your pet’s condition.
- Clean the ear: Before beginning any medical treatment, it’s important to clean the ear to alleviate the yeast build-up. Use a veterinary-approved ear cleaner such as Vetericyn Plus Ear Rinse to gently clean your pet’s ear.
- Apply medication: Depending on the severity of the infection, your vet may prescribe either an ointment or an oral medication. Follow the instructions from your vet carefully when applying the medication.
- Monitor the infection: It’s important to monitor your pet’s response to the treatment. Allow the medication to work, and if your pet’s symptoms have not improved after a few days, contact your vet immediately.
- Maintain good hygiene: After the infection is cleared up, make sure to practice good hygiene to avoid re-infection. Clean your pet’s ears regularly with the vet-approved cleaner, and if necessary, use a high-quality ear powder to help keep ears dry.
Soothing Home Remedy For Yeast Infection In Dog’s Ear
- Clean the ear thoroughly with a soft cloth or cotton ball dipped in warm water.
- Use an apple cider vinegar solution (1 part vinegar and 1 part water) and pour it into your dog’s ear. Gently massage the ear to help the solution reach all parts.
- Let your dog shake its head to get rid of the excess solution.
- Use a high-quality anti-fungal ear drop solution like Gentian Violet or Miconazole Nitrate to help treat the infection.
- Keep the ear dry and clean by using a gentle ear cleaner specifically for dogs.
- Use a homemade mixture of ground oatmeal mixed with water to create a paste to apply to the infected area. This can help reduce inflammation and itching.
- Use a quality probiotic specifically formulated for dogs to help boost the good bacteria to help fight off the infection and reduce future outbreaks.
- Make sure your dog’s diet is healthy and balanced to reduce the risk of future infections.
Preventing Yeast Infections in Dogs
- Keep your dog clean: Clean your dog regularly and pay close attention to areas prone to yeast infections such as the paws, ears, and genitals.
- Avoid certain foods: Yeast-containing foods, such as bread and sugary treats, can contribute to yeast infections in dogs. Consult your veterinarian about a suitable diet for your pet that doesn’t include these ingredients.
- Care for your pet’s coat: Brush your dog regularly and bathe her weekly to help keep skin healthy and discourage yeast growth.
- Dry your dog completely: After bathing or swimming, make sure to dry your dog completely, including your ears and feet. Moisture can encourage yeast growth.
- Start a preventative program: Ask your vet if your pet’s lifestyle would benefit from a preventative program such as oral antibiotics or antifungal medications.
Q. What kills a yeast infection in dogs’ ears?
A. The most effective treatment for a yeast infection in a dog’s ear is typically a topical antifungal medication that is prescribed by a veterinarian. The medication can help reduce the symptoms of the infection and eliminate the cause. In addition to medication, removing any moisture or debris from the dog’s ears through gentle, regular cleaning is also important in treating a yeast infection.
Q. What do I do if my dog has a yeast infection in his ear?
A. If you think your dog has a yeast infection in his ears, you should take him to the vet to get it diagnosed and treated. The vet may prescribe topical or oral antifungal or antibiotic medication, depending on the severity of the infection. Additionally, you can clean the ears with a gentle cleaner twice a day to reduce irritation and inflammation. In severe cases, the vet may need to flush the ear canal to remove any wax or debris that could be causing or exacerbating the infection.
Dog ear yeast infections can start out small but can become very serious if left untreated. It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection and to seek veterinary care if you suspect your dog may have one. Treatment may include shampoos, topical or oral medications, and dietary changes. With prompt diagnosis and treatment, an ear yeast infection can be resolved.