Skin and Coat: Yeast Infection


Many fungal species may cause skin infections in dogs, like aspergillus, microsporum, malessizea etc, amongst all of these the maleessizea species is the most common reason for dog skin infection. Normally, the malessizea species inhabits in the nose and anal glands of dogs.  The "yeast" population increases only in the presence of predisposing factors. The dogs having oily skin, immuno deficiency and if environmental conditions favor the yeast, the yeast can reproduce in large populations over the skin.

Unhygienic and sometimes potentially humid conditions around a dog can lead to dog skin yeast infection.

Signs and Symptoms: 

With a yeast infection in dogs the skin appears rough, dull and with some initial hair loss.  Skin on physical examination appears oily, hardened, hyper pigmented. Hair loss is either sporadic or continuous depending upon the severity of the infection. Hairs usually are greasy or missing down to its root (called epilation).  Sebaceous glands at base of the hair can cause extensive greasiness in the area of the removed hairs, also the skin surface will appear smooth like the dog had no hair in the first place.

Lymph nodes on each side of the body (area of the body is called the 2 side lines) may appear as slightly enlarged and painful on palpation (when examined by touch).

Dogs may feel itchy and the hardened skin may make a dog restless. Dogs may scratch or rubs itself against hard objects, which may cause self injury.


The visible signs and physical examination can be helpful, but skin yeast infection should be differentiated from other forms of skin infections. Hardening of skin may be helpful in this regard. Dogs affected by yeast infection have relatively greasy skin and  hardened skin around the neck, chest and on the side lines of the body.

Examination of deep skin scrapings, samples from the surface of skin, otic (ear) discharges will be looked at under a microscope.  Examination will reveal the species of yeast and be able to differentiate the symptoms from other causes such as a mite infestation (mange or scabies).  Otic discharges (ear) may contain several species of bacteria along with yeasts.


There are two approaches for treating a canine skin yeast infection. One approach is topical (localized infection) and the other is oral (for generalized infection). 

Initially, dogs can be bathed with a anti–greasing shampoo containing benzoyl peroxide & tar combined with a quality anti–microbial shampoo containing ketoconazole or miconazole nitrate. Dog should be bathed initially after every 2nd day and then with decreasing frequency as recovery persists. A sulfur lime dip with 2% solution followed by conditioning of anti–microbial shampoos such as Dermisil is the most effective way to treat dog skin yeast infections topically.

Dogs can also be treated with a homemade remedy using  a 1:1 diluted solution of white vinegar and water. Dogs with yeast infections  can be rinsed by this solution every third day for a couple of weeks.

The generalized form of skin yeast infection can be treated by oral administration of ketaconazole tablets twice a day with food. Itraconazole & fluconazole are alternatives for a ketaconazole therapy, as ketaconazole has the potential to cause hepatoxicity – liver cell toxicity. Oral therapy should be continued for at least 3 – 4 weeks.

Regular grooming, bathing and providing dogs with high fat content foods can reduce the chances of getting a yeast infection in dog.