Dog Ear Yeast Infections Explained

Yeast dog ear infections are the most frequently diagnosed canine ear problem. However, this dog ear infection is both easily prevented and entirely treatable.

Causes of Canine Ear Yeast Infections

Your dog's ears contain cells responsible for producing anti-allergenic hormones such as histamines. In the presence of an allergen, these cells cause your dog's ears to produce excessive earwax. Bacteria and yeast multiply quickly in the moist environment inside of a dog's ears, particularly if there is superfluous earwax. These conditions may lead to a yeast ear infection.

Preventing Dog Ear Infection

The simplest way to protect your pet against an ear yeast infection is to clean his ears regularly. Veterinary offices and pet stores carry a selection of medicated soap to be used for canine ear washing. Begin by cleaning both the inside and the outside of your dog's ears with cotton balls soaked in ear wash soap. Be especially gentle while cleaning the inside of your dog's ear canal. Next, pour a small amount of soap into your dog's ear to clean the areas that you can't reach without hurting your pet. Keep your dog's head tilted for a few seconds, then allow him to shake the soap out of his ear.

Symptoms of Yeast Infections

Unlike dog ear mites, ear yeast infections may not produce any visible irritation to your dog's skin. Keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms of yeast infections:

  • Excessive head and ear scratching
  • Oozing discharge from the ear
  • Foul smell

If you detect these or any behaviors that may suggest an ear yeast infection, have your dog examined by a veterinarian. The vet can determine if your dog has an ear yeast infection by closely examining your dog's inner ear for scar tissue or thickening.

Treatment for an Ear Yeast Infection

There are both natural and pharmaceutical treatments for canine ear yeast infections. A veterinarian may prescribe an anti-fungal or anti-microbial ointment to kill the fungus. However, natural treatments like diluted white vinegar rinses and the herb pau d'arco may prove equally effective and less costly.

If your vet prescribes one of these natural treatments, follow instructions carefully to avoid damaging your dog's ears. In most cases, you should gently rub the ointment or solution into your dog's ear canal three to five times per day for one week. Once the infection has dissipated, continue to treat your dog with ointment twice a week for two more weeks to prevent the infection from returning.

Vitamin C supplements help to boost your pet's immune system and may also be an effective means of defending your dog against future infections.

Ear yeast infections can develop into serious health concerns if left untreated. However, if you are aware of the prevention methods, warning signs, and treatments for canine ear yeast infections, you can make sure that your dog is free from infection for years to come.