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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14584
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Our dog has yeast in s ears and a rash on s skin. A few

Customer Question

Our dog has yeast in his ears and a rash on his skin. A few people have suggested a probiotic to help get him back in balance. most that I have seen have Brewers Yeast in it. Is that bad to give him?
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Jiggs and he is 4
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Jiggs?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to hear that your fellow Jiggs is having skin and ear troubles and has been diagnosed with a fungal infection in his ears.

Probiotics are used to rebalance gut bacteria, and are used for dogs with gastrointestinal absorption and digestion disease processes that lead to chronic nausea, diarrhea, and weight loss. They are not especially helpful in rebalancing skin bacteria populations. Those populations are responsive to skin pH, oil production, normal skin cell turnover (or lack thereof), moisture levels, and trauma to the skin due to licking and scratching. It won't hurt your pup to give him a probiotic, but it may not have the effect you had hoped.

The fungal infection present on his skin and in his ears is likely malassezia, which is a fungal strain completely different from Brewer's yeast. Brewer's yeast found in probiotics is a source of vitamin B, which dogs with primary digestion and absorption diseases are often low in. Brewer's yeast will not contribute to increased skin fungal spores.

Dogs with ear and skin fungal infections usually have allergies of some sort, either flea bite, inhaled or food allergies.

You would be better off addressing the allergies that predispose toward a skin environment that harbors more fungal spores than usual.

You can use a combination of antihistamines and high doses of omega-3 fatty acids to help with the symptoms of flea bite and inahled allergies. In combination fatty acids and antihistamines work synergistically, much better than either one alone. If his symptoms worsen seasonally I would think that inhaled allergens are a part of his problem.

You can try:

1)Benadryl (diphenhydramine only don't use the combination products with acetaminophen or decongestants as they can be toxic for dogs) at 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight or one 25mg capsule per 15 to 25 pounds of body weight orally every 8 hours.

OR 2)Claritin (loratidine) at 5mg per 25 pounds of body weight once or twice daily.

OR 3)Hydroxyzine at 1mg per pound of body weight orally every 8 hours.

OR 4) Chlorpheniramine at 4mg to 8mg per dog once or twice daily.

OR 5) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at 1/2 mg per pound of body weight orally every 24 hours. That would be one 10mg tablet per 20 pounds of body weight. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because dogs cannot tolerate decongestants.

Some dogs do better on one antihistamine rather than another. Give the one you pick a week trial and if it isn't working try another. Be aware antihistamines can cause sleepiness or hyperactivity in some dogs. These side effects do wear off with repeated use.

Omega-3 fatty acids are fish oil products. 3V by DVM or Derm Caps ES are good brand name products. Use the high end of the dosing schedule for your pup's weight. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 80 pound dog could take 1600mg of EPA per day.

Cool water baths with an oatmeal shampoo or chlorhexiderm shampoo (which is antibacterial and antifungal) and a conditioner with an antihistamine may help. The water rinses off allergens and the cool temperature soothes itchy skin. Do not bathe your fellow for 2 to 3 days before or after applying flea control products or the bath will interfere with the product's efficacy.

Food allergy is very possible with him as well if he seems to be itchy all year round. Dogs can develop allergies to any protein or carbohydrate so even if he is only fed one thing that can be what he is allergic to. Dogs with food allergies tend to lick and scratch their paws, face and ears the most, but any of the "allergy reactive areas" can be affected.

Make sure that the food that you put him on is a true hypoallergenic diet. The trouble with "limited ingredient" or "low allergy" pet store brands is that the same machinery is used on multiple lots of food without sterilization cleaning in between. So for example even if a food says it has salmon and rice if the previous batch had beef and corn then you will get traces of those ingredients in your bag of food. Not a big deal if your dog isn't allergic but a waste of money thinking that the food was hypoallergenic and not good for your dog if those happen to be allergens for your dog. The veterinary brand true hypoallergenic foods are more expensive because it isn't cheap to thoroughly remove all traces of a previous food mixture from the machines used to process food.
Generally what I recommend is trying to clear the skin and then adding one food item (chicken, beef, corn wheat etc) every month to see what they react to. Then we can find a regular food to try that does not contain ingredients he reacts to. As far as permanent diets I do tend to stick with Purina Pro Plan brands or Nature's Recipe as I find those rarely if ever have cross contamination. Purina Pro Plan Turkey and Barley or Nature's Recipe Vegetarian or Venison are pretty good products. I know that this isn't easy from personal experience (my dog is allergic to wheat) and it is time consuming, but worth it.

If you choose to try testing/treating him for a food allergy I recommend that you try a true hypoallergenic diet like Hills z/d or Purina Veterinary Diets HA. No treats, flavored medication or bones while on the diet and it must be used for a least 12 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. You should see some improvement in 6 to 8 weeks.

Another option if the antihistamines and omega 3's aren't enough is a product called Atopica. It suppresses the immune system a bit so it decreases allergic symptoms but it doesn't have as many harmful side effects as systemic steroids.

Another option is a brand newer drug called Apoquel (generic name oclacitinib) which interferes with the allergic pathway. It works very quickly to stop the symptoms of an allergy. Most dogs are reported to be much more comfortable in a day or so.

If you are interested discuss these medications with your veterinarian as they are prescription products.

Another option if you are interested, is trying immunotherapy. Your fellow would need to be tested to determine exactly what he is allergic to, and then he is given small amounts of the allergen to build up his tolerance to it, increasing the amount of allergen in the injection incrementally so that his immune system no longer responds to it. This isn't a quick fix, it takes time to slowly build up their tolerance and as he develops new allergens things may need to be added, but it is an option.

If it's been a while since his last exam parasites like cheyletiella, demodex or sarcoptes mites should be looked for by your veterinarian as well if he isn't improving as they can lead to very itchy skin and secondary fungal infections.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 3 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****