Fungal Skin Infection in Dogs

Your pup can experience severe discomfort and irritability if they develop a fungal skin infection. Today, our Tucson vets explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of fungal skin infections in dogs.

Fungal Skin Infection in Dogs

Fungal infections can make your dog itchy and uncomfortable, with skin that appears flaky, crusty, or moist. Inflammation, redness, and smell can also be a problem, not to mention recurring yeast dermatitis or staph infection.

Skin problems tend to be fairly common in dogs and can indicate underlying health issues that require treatment. Here, our Tucson vets offer some advice about what to do if your dog is being tormented by itchy uncomfortable skin due to a fungal infection.

Yeast Dermatitis (Malassezia Dermatitis)

Yeast dermatitis (Malassezia dermatitis) is an extremely common cause of skin disease in dogs. While the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis is naturally found on the skin of healthy dogs, it can lead to skin inflammation (dermatitis) if it grows excessively.

Signs of a Bacterial or Fungal Skin Infection in Dogs

Fungal Infection (Yeast Dermatitis)

If your pooch is suffering from yeast dermatitis you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Musty odor
  • Recurring or chronic ear infections
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Thickened skin (“elephant skin”)
  • Flaky, crusty, or scaly skin
  • Redness and itchiness

Causes of Fungal Skin Infections in Dogs

Many bacteria and fungi live on the skin naturally but are controlled by the immune system and do not cause issues under normal circumstances. If however the skin's condition changes or the immune system becomes suppressed, bacterial and fungal infections can occur.

Breeds that show a genetic predisposition to skin yeast infections include:

  • Poodle
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Maltese & Austrailian Terrier
  • Basset Hound
  • Silky Terrier
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Dachshund
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Chihuahua.

Diagnosing Fungal Skin Infections in Dogs

Our vets treat a wide range of skin, eye, ear, and nail conditions in pets. We use several techniques to collect samples and diagnose skin infections in dogs.

Yeast infections can be diagnosed through impression smears, skin biopsy, skin scraping, acetate tape preparations, or cotton swab samples.

Skin tests may also be required to find out whether the inflammation is caused by immune-related issues or an allergic reaction to something. A skin biopsy may be necessary, during which your veterinarian will swab the skin to determine which antibiotic should be used to treat the condition.

At our in-house lab, we can perform tests and get results quickly with our advanced imaging and testing equipment.

Treating Fungal Skin Infection in Dogs

If your dog is diagnosed with a yeast dermatitis infection treatment will include oral or topical treatments or a combination of both based on the severity of your pup’s condition. These medications are highly effective, though they must be given for a prolonged period (often several months). These drugs can have potential side effects on the liver that will require close monitoring with routine blood tests.

Discuss any supplements or medications your dog is currently taking with your veterinarian so they can choose the best treatment for your pet’s skin problem while helping to reduce the risk of interactions between drugs.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog showing signs of a fungal skin infection? Contact our Tucson vets today to book your pup an examination.