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Symptoms of Yeast Infections in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015
Yeast Infection

Effects of Yeast Infection – From the Dog’s Point of View

Yeast infections of the skin, also known as yeast dermatitis, are extremely common in companion dogs. The ears are the most common target, although yeast infections can show up anywhere on a dog’s skin and are also fairly common between the toes, under the armpits (in the axial area) and in facial and other deep skin wrinkles and folds. Yeast infections can be incredibly annoying, both for affected animals and for their owners. At a bare minimum, dogs with yeast skin infections are uncomfortable. The dog’s discomfort can range from mild to severe. It can even become debilitating, depending on how severe and widespread the yeast overgrowth is. Almost all dogs with yeast infections become intensely and inconsolably itchy (pruritic) at the infection sites. This usually leads to a tremendous amount of self-induced trauma and pain from the frantic scratching and chewing that virtually always accompanies skin yeast infections.

Symptoms of Canine Yeast Infection – What the Owner Sees

When the yeast reproduction cycle gets out-of-control, the multiplying yeast organisms invade and colonize areas of the dog’s skin beyond those where they normally live without causing damage or discomfort. The most obvious things that might be seen by an owner of a dog with a yeast infection include one or more of the following:

  • Evidence of extreme skin itchiness
  • Scratching, chewing, biting, licking and rubbing at the skin; frantic and frenzied; can lead to weeping sores on and around the ears, face, neck, tail base, armpits and elsewhere
  • Skin irritation, redness and inflammation, especially in and around the ears, between the paw pads and toes, in nasal, facial or other skin folds, in the anal area, under the armpits and on the neck
  • Hair loss
  • Scaly skin (dandruff)
  • Oily skin
  • Greasy hair coat (sometimes, so much oil is produced that the dog leaves oily patches on its bedding or furniture)
  • Foul-smelling, rancid skin (often overwhelmingly offensive)
  • Dark (hyperpigmented), thickened skin; described as elephant-like; lichenification; indicates a chronic or long-standing condition
  • Ear infection (severe; usually with a smelly, yellowish-green discharge)
  • Raised, crusty areas on the skin
  • Behavioral changes associated with pruritis and pain, such as:
    • Depression
    • Loss of appetite (inappetence; anorexia)
    • Weight loss
    • Anxiety
    • Aggression

Dogs at Increased Risk

Yeast infections are common in dogs of all ages, breeds and mixed breeds and of both genders. Certain breeds seem more prone to developing these infections, either because of genetics or because of breed characteristics that provide an environment especially suitable for yeast overgrowth, such as thick, wrinkled skin or pendulous ears. Those breeds include the West Highland White Terrier and other terriers, Shih Tzu, Chinese Shar-Pei, Poodle, Basset Hound, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd Dog and Dachshund. Other spaniels and hounds may also be predisposed to yeast skin infections, especially in the ears.

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