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Yeast Yeast in Dog: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Yeast

Yeast in a dog

Dog's thrush - that sounds awful!

The first association with this disease is very bad-looking skin lesions that can also be dangerous for humans.

Is it really so?

Not completely.

Yeasts, which are most often found on dogs' skin are those of the genus Malassezia. The species most often isolated from dog skin is specifically Malassezia pachydermatis.

They are commensals, which means that under normal conditions they live on the skin, even in healthy animals, and only under certain conditions they cause infection.

These yeasts are found in small amounts around the mouth, in the ear canals, and around the anus in healthy dogs.

They are pathogens occasionally - when immunity decreases or the epidermis is damaged, then Malassezia multiplies intensively and may complicate the current infection.

  • Predisposition to yeast infection
  • Cases of yeast in the dog
  • Signs of yeast infection in the dog
  • The diagnosis of yeast infection
  • Treatment of yeast infection
  • Prevention

Predisposition to yeast infection

All breeds are predisposed to skin infections caused by Malassezia yeast, but they are particularly common in:

  • bassets,
  • dachshunds,
  • cocker spaniels,
  • poodles,
  • shar-pei,
  • bulldogs,
  • west highland white terriers.

It is worth mentioning that not only dogs can be infected - in cats, Malassezia is especially often found in sphinxes.

As I mentioned, Malassezia usually involves an existing infection or tissue damage.

It is very often found in scrapings and cultures, accompanying ectoparasite infestations.

Any weakening of the body and loss of immunity can cause Malassezia to multiply intensively.

Cases of yeast in the dog

In the event of an intensive yeast growth on the dog's skin, another primary cause should be found.

The most common are:

  • atopy,
  • food hypersensitivity,
  • contact allergy,
  • hormonal disorders,
  • disorders in the process of epidermal keratinization,
  • seborrheic dermatitis,
  • metabolic disorders,
  • steroid therapy or other chronic diseases causing immunodeficiency.

Signs of yeast in the dog

The presence of Malassezia should be suspected when our pet has redness, often associated with oily skin, around:

  • inguinal folds,
  • armpit folds,
  • on the facial part of the skull,
  • on the belly,
  • between the fingers.

Claws and ears can also be affected.

In the chronic form of the disease, discoloration, darkening of the skin are visible, and skin thinning may appear.

The hair becomes weak, breaks and falls out.

Hyperkeratosis, the so-called elephantine skin, is also a characteristic of this infection.

Where claws are involved, a brown bloom is observed around the claw bearing and the claw itself may become brittle and brittle.

Very often these symptoms are combined with inflammation of the external auditory canal - redness, peeling of the epidermis, intense smell combined with brown or yellowish waxy discharge are visible.

The diagnosis of yeast infection

The test confirming the presence of yeasts on the pet's skin is taking a sample of the material from the infected skin and its evaluation under a microscope.

The most frequently performed test is the adhesive tape test - a fragment of the patch sticks to the skin, thanks to which a layer of skin cells and microorganisms on it are collected.

The impression preparation also gives satisfactory results in detecting and identifying yeast invasions.

It's always a good idea to do a breeding test as well to make sure Malasezia is causing the infection.

Yeasts are also often found in scrapings, wound swabs and skin lesions.

It is believed that if yeasts are found in the material taken from the tissue altered in any way, in the amount of 5 cells in the field of view in the preparation, antifungal therapy should be introduced.

Malassezia in the ear canal causes primary otitis rather rarely.

Most often it is a complicating factor for an existing infection.

Not only Malassezia pachydermatis, which I mentioned earlier, are isolated from the ear canal. Other species found there are Malassezia furfur and obtusa.

Another yeast that can also cause dermatitis is Candida.

These are yeasts that physiologically populate the mucous membranes.

Their multiplication on the skin is caused by similar causes as in the case of Malassezia - they inhabit damaged tissues, affected by chronic inflammation, and damp tissue.

Immunosuppressive diseases and postoperative wounds that are not properly cared for are also factors predisposing to the development of candidiasis.

Skin lesions complicated by Candida look slightly different than those with Malassezia.

The skin is red, moist, erosion-like lesions and exudate appear.

They are covered with flaking scabs, and at the edges you can see a clear elevation of the epidermis.

Hair falls out in infected areas.

The lesions resemble superficial pyoderma.

Candidiasis can also appear on the mucous membranes in the form of:

  • thrush,
  • erosion,
  • shallow ulcers.

Most often, such changes are located on the border of the skin and mucous membranes.

Their appearance is characteristic - the edges of the lesions are red, slightly raised above the surface of the tissue, while the center is covered with a whitish coating that cannot be removed from the damaged tissue.

The diagnosis of candidiasis is exactly the same as in the case of Malassezia - it is also necessary to collect the material for evaluation under the microscope.

If you find characteristic, budding yeasts and pseudohyphae, it is worth sending the collected sample for a culture test to confirm the assumptions.

Treatment of yeast infection

Treatment of yeast infection

Treatment for yeast dermatitis can be divided into two types - local and general.

Currently, doctors try to select the preparation so that its therapeutic effect is maximum, with the smallest possible side effects associated with its use.

Therefore, topical preparations are increasingly used in dermatological therapies, especially if the infectious agent is located in shallow layers of the skin, to which the topical preparation has access.

In the case of Malassezia and cutaneous candidiasis, rinses, soaps and dermatological baths are used, depending on the location and size of the area where the infection has developed.

The main substances contained in antifungal preparations are:

  • miconazole,
  • clotrimazole,
  • posaconazole.

Additional antibiotics are also helpful in controlling infections - they limit the most common coexisting bacterial infections.

In the event of an infection involving the ear canal and auricle, special care is recommended in this area.

It is important to use appropriate ear cleaning preparations, preferably with a specific pH, which will be detrimental to the development of yeasts.

As for general therapy, it is worth carrying out such treatment if the infection is very severe, the symptoms are advanced, or there are contraindications to the use of local therapy.

Drugs recommended for general therapy are:

  • ketoconazole,
  • fluconazole,
  • terbinafine,
  • itraconazole.

Therapy should go on at least three weeks, and upon its completion, a follow-up examination should be performed to see if the infection has recovered.

In the case of infection located within the claws, oral therapy alone may not be sufficient, only the combination of local therapy with measures taken generally gives satisfactory results.

In the case of candidiasis located on the mucous membranes, therapy should be continued at least 4 weeks.

It should be continued for one week after symptoms have resolved

It is worth remembering to accurately diagnose your pet.

As I mentioned earlier, Malassezia and Candida rarely cause the primary infection, most often complicates an already existing infection, takes advantage of damage to the epidermis caused by external parasites or decreased immunity.

If the root cause is not established and treated, the yeast infection will recur.

Therefore, the prognosis depends on the general condition of the patient, the stage of advancement and treatment options for the underlying disease, as well as the correct diagnosis of the confusing factor.

When it comes to supportive treatment, a very important therapy factor is a properly balanced diet.

It must contain good-quality, easily digestible nutrients and cannot cause deficiencies.

It is imperative to exclude any components that could cause a food allergy.

It is worth including preparations increasing the body's immunity, such as beta-glucan, into everyday use.

A good idea will also be a daily supplementation of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in the appropriate preparation.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids support the regenerative processes in the body, in addition, they significantly affect the healing processes of the skin.


When it comes to preventing yeast infection, there are a few important points that you should always follow:

  1. First of all, avoid places where your dog can become infected.
  2. Contact with sick individuals should be significantly limited.
  3. A dog that has not been previously tested should not be brought home.
  4. Each skin change or discoloration of the hair should be carefully diagnosed.

It is worth remembering that Malassezia can be zoonosis - that is, it can cause infections also in people with immunodeficiencies, so it is worth maintaining special hygiene when dealing with an infected pet.

Washing your hands after each stroke and play is absolutely essential.

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