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Healthy Dogs

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Yeast Infection in Dogs: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

What Are the Signs of a Yeast Infection in Dogs?

You may notice your dog scratching his ear or rubbing it on the floor or on a piece of furniture. That's a sign that he may have a yeast infection. Here's what else to look for:

  • Brown, yellow, or bloody discharge
  • Odor
  • Redness or swelling
  • Crusted skin on the ear flap
  • Loss of hair around the ear
  • Head shaking or tilting
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of hearing
  • Walking in circles
  • Unusual eye movements


How Is a Yeast Infection in a Dog Treated?

Using an otoscope, your vet will be able to look at your dog’s ear canal to determine if the ear drum is intact or if anything is present in the ear canal that could be causing the infection. The doctor will probably also take a sample of material from in and around the ear, and examine this under the microscope.

If your dog has a yeast infection of the outer ear canal, the vet might prescribe a topical antifungal ointment or cream. Miconazole and ketoconazole are two antifungal medicines that are often effective.

An infection of the middle ear is treated with systemic medications (meaning tablets or injections), though further tests and even surgery may be needed. It can take up to six weeks for the infection to go away.

Your vet might recommend a full cleaning of the dog’s ear canal. If the problem is chronic, ask about special cleansers and ear-drying solutions that can be used at home.

Are Certain Dog Breeds More Susceptible to Yeast Infections?

Ear infections caused by yeast are more common in dogs with floppy ears, like cocker spaniels, basset hounds, golden retrievers, and poodles. Schnauzers, which have hair growing in the inner ear canal, are also more susceptible to yeast infection. So are dogs with allergies.

How Can Ear Infections in Dogs Be Prevented?

To keep pooch’s ears healthy, regularly check for discharge, odor, and swelling. After your dog bathes or swims, gently dry the outer part of the ears as well as you can. If your dog has hair in the opening of his ears, ask his groomer to trim or tweeze it. You can do it yourself if your dog will let you, but you need to be very careful. Only pluck hairs that are easily visible. Never insert any object into the ear canal, as you can damage the ear drum and cause severe problems.

WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on September 02, 2014
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