Malassezia pachydermatis is a yeast organism found on the skin and ears of dogs, and overgrowth of the yeast can cause dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin.
What causes a yeast infection?
The exact reasons behind this disease are not yet known, but it has been linked to allergy, seborrhoea, and possibly genetic and hormonal factors. High humidity and temperature may increase the frequency of the cases. Other factors include concurrent infections and food and flea allergies. Although Malassezia dermatitis can affect any breed, poodles, basset hounds, West Highland white terriers, cocker spaniels, and Dachshunds are predisposed to this disease.
What are the symptoms of yeast infection?
- Irritation of skin
- Loss of hair
- Scaly skin
- Redness of affected areas
- Malodorous discharge from lesions
- Patches of skin becoming darker (hyperpigmentation) and skin thickening (seen in chronic cases)
How is this infection diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will take a thorough history of your dog’s health, including the onset and nature of the symptoms. He/she will then perform a complete physical examination as well as a biochemistry profile, urinalysis, and complete blood count to rule out underlying disease. A skin sample will also be taken to demonstrate the yeast in the sample, which will help identify the causative organism.
How is the infection treated?
The ultimate goal is to reduce the number of yeast and bacteria. Your veterinarian will suggest medications for application on the skin and will also recommend medicated shampoos, which should help remove scales and resolve foul odour. Concurrent infections will be treated with antibiotics. You will need to regularly visit your dog’s veterinarian for evaluation of disease and treatment progress.
Yeast infection, like any other skin ailment, takes quite some time to cure once it appears. Follow guidelines strictly and apply the topical medications as prescribed. Watch your dog for any untoward symptoms and call your veterinarian if you suspect a recurrence.
Here’s to a happy pet!
Dr. Ashitha Suresh