Dog Yeast Skin Infection

Many cases of dog skin infection are due to yeast and are fungal in nature. Yeast live normally on your dog's skin, especially in his ears and anal glands. If conditions on your dog's skin become favorable enough to encourage the growth of yeast on other areas, then your dog will develop a skin yeast infection.

Causes of Dog Yeast Skin Infection

Yeast is always present on your dog's skin, but when skin conditions change and create an environment favorable to the yeast, it can grow out of control and cause a skin infection. Usually, this happens when allergic reactions cause an increase in production of sebaceous oil by your dog's skin. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust, mold and other irritants. Some dogs are allergic to the yeast itself, which worsens the symptoms of yeast infection.

Some dogs may find themselves especially prone to yeast infections due to an autoimmune disorder or a weakness of the immune system. Dogs with seborrhea, a condition in which the skin produces too much oil, are also prone to yeast infections of the skin.

Some breeds seem more susceptible to yeast infections of the skin than others. These breeds include:

  • Poodle
  • Chihuahua
  • Silky terrier
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Shetland sheepdog
  • Basset Hound
  • Dachshund
  • Lhasa Apso

Symptoms of Dog Skin Yeast Infection

Yeast infections create an itchy, crusty rash that often emits a foul odor. The rash may begin as a mildly itchy spot and worsen until your dog's skin becomes thickened and discolored. Yeast infections can cover the entire body and they almost always smell terrible.

Diagnosing Yeast Infections of the Skin

In order to diagnose a dog yeast infection of the skin, your vet will take samples from the infected area. He may take a skin scraping or swab some of the yeast organisms. If your vet wants to investigate further into possible causes of the yeast skin infection, he may perform a skin biopsy. The small piece of skin this removes will provide your vet will all the evidence he needs to determine what's really causing your dog's skin yeast infection.

Treating Dog Skin Yeast Infections

Your vet will recommend a combination of oral and topical treatments. Topical creams and ointments can be applied directly to the rash, and, if the rash is severe, oral anti-fungals can help your dog's body bring the yeast under control. Shampoos can also help change your dog's skin condition to make his skin less hospitable to yeast fungus.

Treatment of dog skin yeast infections can take several weeks to complete, though symptoms will begin to resolve within the first week.

Yeast skin infection usually happens as the result of an underlying condition, ranging from allergies to a skin disorder or an immune system problem. Your vet should seek out and treat the underlying cause of yeast skin infections. If he doesn't, your dog will almost certainly suffer from recurrent yeast infections of the skin.