Though yeast infections can occur virtually anywhere on your dog, the anatomy of a dog’s ear make the ears the place where conditions are most habitable for the yeast and that is where the infection frequently occurs. A dog’s ear plunges downwards and then curves away from the opening, with less airflow deeper in the ear canal.
An overgrowth of yeast which may or may not be linked to a fungal infection is what constitutes a yeast infection. If left untreated your dog will unfortunately develop other health problems. However, before you can treat a yeast infection in your furry friend, you must first understand what causes it and the signs and symptoms it produces.
Causes of yeast infections in dogs ears
Yeast infection in a dog’s ear is not partial to any breed of dogs or any age group. Due to the fact dogs are always rummaging and sniffing around with the reckless abandon of a child we are often unaware of just how delicate they can be.
If your dog is one of those who love to swim or take baths regularly then water and tiny debris trapped in the ear canal can most definitely lead to a yeast infection, however even the high humidity level of summer can help create the environment yeast love.
Thus, spring is one of those seasons where the chances of your dog developing a yeast infection in the ear is higher. Yeast infections are sometimes a secondary infection brought on by other things like allergies to pollen or dust. You might want to take your dog to the vet before spring begins and ensure his body is pack with the necessary vitamins to fight these allergies to avoid a yeast infection.
Cigarette smoke is another culprit. If you are a non-smoker you may have sat with smokers inhaling second hand smoke and before you know it you are sneezing, coughing and your eyes and ears become itchy. Well, the same thing can happen to your dog and this is a gateway for a yeast infection to develop. Mold also has the same effect.
Sugars and carbohydrates provide energy sources for yeast infections. Be very selective of the things you feed your dog as a treat and how often you do. A little bit of sugar and carbs is necessary however, do not go overboard as you will not only be providing the yeast with a place to stay but also with all the food source it needs.
Other things like cleaning products can sometimes set off an allergic reaction in your dog and lead to yeast infection. Send your dog outside for a little recess time when you clean and air the house out before you let him back in.
Where in the ear does a dog yeast infection occur?
There are three places on your pets ear for a yeast infection to occur:
- Outer Ear
This part of the ear begins from the outer lobe and extends down to the ear drum. This infection is most often more visible and is called the otitis externa. Otitis externa is the most common type of ear infection in dogs.
- Middle Ear
This part of the ear consists of the ear drum and more internal canal. Infections in the inner ear are called otitis media and usually develop from an untreated outer ear infection.
- Inner Ear
This where the real more internal problems start as an infection in the inner ear can affect hearing, sight and balance. This infection usually develops from an untreated middle ear infection and can cause permanent damage. Luckily this type of ear infection is much less common.
Signs and symptoms your dog has a yeast infection in her ear
A yeast infection is a slow developing infection that festers or remains close to dormancy depending on how suitable an environment is provided by its host. The following are signs of a yeast infection in the ear.
- If your dog is constantly scratching or rubbing his ear on the floor, furniture or just about anything else, he has a yeast infection.
· Hair loss around the ear is a sign of advanced yeast infection.
- Odour coming from the ear as well as yellow or brown discharge.
- Redness and swelling along with crusted shin over or around the ear flap.
- If your dog is walking in circles, loses his balance easily has unusual eye movements then you could be facing an inner ear infection. If this is the case, see your veterinarian immediately.
- Constant tilting or shaking of the head
- Reduced or declining hearing ability. Some owners of older dogs usually chalk this up to old age but it could be a yeast infection.
Treatment for a yeast infection in your dogs ear
Ear yeast infection home remedies
There are two common home remedies for a yeast ear infection in your dogs ear
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a solution that has been proven to retard the growth of bacteria. Simply mix a 1:1 ratio of apple cider vinegar with water, use an oral syringe and fill 5 millilitres of water per 20 pounds that your dog weighs and flush your dog’s ears with the solution. Remove any excess from with a cotton ball. If the outer ear is what is infected then clean with a cotton ball, however still go ahead and flush as yeast is slow developing and an outer ear infection can lead to an inner ear infection. This method yields mixed results.
Yogurt is a kind of probiotic as it promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the body and retards the growth of harmful bacteria. Simply mix it with your dog’s food twice per day or you can opt to remove all sugary treats and feed your dog yogurt as a treat instead. Yogurt yields questionable results.
Pharmaceutical treatments for ear yeast infections
For outer ear infections a topical antifungal cream is usually prescribed. Though there are several on the market, veterinarians highly recommend both ketoconazole and miconazole. These tend to work within a week to do away with yeast infections.
For middle and inner ear infections a more invasive treatment is needed. For this vets usually administer a series of injections or prescribe take home pills. Be it injections or tablets fluconazole is what is usually used for these more advanced cases. It works by impairing the cell wall growth of the organism which leads in death and eradication.
Possible side effects from treatment
For the homeopathic treatments there are no known side effects to yogurt, although vinegar is sometimes known to cause burning. In the case of the topical antifungal ointment or creams sometimes there can be an allergic reaction characterized by redness and further itching, however this is not a standard reaction.
In the case of the invasive fluconazole side effects most often include loss of appetite and so more treats and lots of water and juices are recommended for your dog. However be sure to avoid treats and juices with high sugar content as this will feed the yeast defeating the purpose of the treatment to begin with.
Side effects of lesser occurrence such as vomiting and diarrhea can also occur.
Yeast infections are sometimes unavoidable, however you can lower the chances of it occurring by ensuring to dry your pets thoroughly and especially in and around the ears. In the spring ensure to check regularly for signs of allergies and get your pet treated before a yeast ear infection can develop.