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Fungal Dermatitis(Yeast Infection) in Dogs

Fungal dermatitis is also known as a yeast infection or Malessezia dermatitis, as it’s caused by the fungus Malessezia pachydermatis.Fungal dermatitis is also known as a yeast infection or Malessezia dermatitis, as it’s caused by the fungus Malessezia pachydermatis.

The skin is host to innumerable bacteria and fungi. Under normal circumstances, these organisms do not cause a problem and are kept under control by the immune system. If conditions on the skin change or if the immune system is suppressed, these bacteria and fungi can cause infection. These types of infections are termed opportunistic infections. If the number of yeast organisms on the skin increase, a yeast skin infection results.

Some fungal infections can cause disease in otherwise healthy animals, while others require a host that is incapacitated or immunocompromised (by, for example, such stresses as captivity, poor nutrition, viral infections, cancer, or drugs like steroids) to establish infection.

Causes of Fungal Dermatitis in Dogs

Yeast infections in dogs are usually secondary problems. This means that there is some other issue that is weakening the skin’s defense mechanisms to allow the yeast to grow in higher numbers than normal.

It is very common to see yeast infections in a dog’s ears or on their skin if they have food allergies or environmental allergies. Other underlying issues that may cause yeast infections in dogs include hormonal problems or other diseases that suppress the immune system.

Signs and Symptoms of Fungal Dermatitis

When harmless malassezia changes to a pathogenic form, it can become problematic and result in symptoms such as:

  • Skin irritation
  • Inflammation
  • Intense itchiness
  • Flaky, crusty or scaly skin
  • Thickened/”elephant” skin
  • Ear infections

You may especially notice these signs between your four-legged friend’s paw pads and nails, and on the neck, nasal folds, armpits and anal area. Also check around his years. Secondary symptoms can include a sticky discharge, skin redness or sores.

Treatment of Fungal Dermatitis in Dogs

Topical Therapy

Topical therapy should be prescribed in all cases of yeast dermatitis for the purposes of mechanical removal of colonized keratinocytes from the skin surfaces. Shampoos are the most commonly used topical therapy.

Oral Medication

All cases with severe or generalized Malassezia dermatitis should be treated with oral medications. The duration of therapy depends upon reevaluation of cytology of previously affected skin and improvement of clinical signs. The most common systemic medications for yeast include ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole and terbinafine.


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