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Yeast On Dog SkinUpdated 8 months ago

An overabundance of yeast (Malassezia) can cause clinical signs like skin odor, skin discharge, scratching at skin, or chewing at paws. 

Skin discharge from a yeast infection can be brown, black, or sometimes yellow or white. Yeast are dark spheres (larger than bacteria) often with an extra smaller sphere, so they take on the shape of small “footprints”. Low numbers of yeast usually live harmlessly on the surface of healthy skin; so, it’s common and quite normal to find small (occasional) numbers under the microscope. If no yeast are detected (none seen), that’s normal too. 

Even though we share some types of skin yeast between pets and people, they aren’t contagious. This is because there’s almost always an underlying reason(s) the yeast overpopulates to cause clinical signs. If the yeast counts are high (1+, 2+, 3+, 4+) in your dog’s skin swab samples, and especially if with one or more clinical signs (like scratching at skin), then a physical exam of your dog’s skin is needed by a veterinarian. 

Treatment of yeast infections in the ear typically involves prescription antifungals. These can come as antifungal ointments topically applied to the surface of the skin or given by mouth, and/or antiseptic wipes, skin cleansers, or shampoos that inhibit yeast growth. 

Retesting with a skin cytology after treatment and a recheck skin exam, even if symptoms have improved, is commonly done by veterinarians to ensure that the yeast numbers have returned to normal (none seen or occasional).

Click here to learn more about yeast and skin infections in dogs

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