Yes…as you’ve found out yeast infections (usually Malassezia) tend to be a recurring problem with dogs. There are a number of ear treatments that contain anti-yeast compounds that are suitable for treating infected ears but these medications are prescription only and you would need to see your vet for them. I am sure you have already used this type of medication on your dog. Remecin is primarily an anti-bacterial medication with some anti-yeast properties. As with all these antibiotic medications they shouldn’t be used intermittently as bacterial resistance can occur and you can then be in more trouble. These medications should be used for several days in a row, preferably until the infection has cleared.
As you are also aware the yeast infection will often affect the skin too. The ear canal is in fact just an extension of the skin and will often suffer similar complaints. It may well be that the yeasts from the skin are responsible for the recurrences in the ears.
Because of the recurring nature of the yeast problem I often put aside “antibiotic” treatments and use other medications and treat the skin at the same time. I am aware that many of my clients have used Probiotics (human products). It’s hard to say whether this has been very effective or not but there is certainly no harm in using them. But I have two good suggestions for you that are relatively inexpensive and don’t require a vet visit.
- Oti-Clens or similar product (Propylene glycol, malic acid, benzoic acid, salicylic acid combination). This is a special ear cleanser that can be used intermittently when there is a current problem or continually as a routine. I recommend using it routinely perhaps weekly. It’s very watery and easy to apply. It acts as an antiseptic and by changing then acidity in the ear canal. Bacteria and yeasts do not develop resistance to this. I would start off using this once a day and then reduce to weekly once the ear seems healthy. It can also be used with antibiotic creams. Most vets will supply this “over the counter”.
- Malaseb. This is a shampoo designed to control yeasts on the skin. It’s very safe and also available at vets and many pet supply outlets. So you would use this twice a week for 3-4 treatments and then routinely or whenever you start to notice that classical yeasty smell from your dog’s skin. Now the other great thing about Malaseb is that it can be used as an ear wash as well. The instructions are as follows:
1. Dilute the Malaseb with lukewarm water at 1:30. It is best to use cooled, boiled water. Do not use cold water. Eg 1ml shampoo and 30ml water however, the volume doesn’t matter, just the concentration.
2. You will need a plastic syringe (from your vet) or a turkey baster will do. Use it once a day for a week.
3. Do the ear cleaning outside as well as squirting the solution gently into the canal. Allow your dog to shake the ears after washing. This will allow debris and excess solution to be removed.
4. Remove excess moisture from around the ear canal opening with a tissue (no cotton buds should be used in the ear), do not clean inside the ear canal.
5. Make a fresh wash solution each time – discard any unused wash solution.
6. The Malaseb should not be used at the same time as antibiotic drops if they have been prescribed by your vet. However flushing may be recommended to remove debris prior to starting antibiotic drops,
7. Then a maintenance routine of once or twice weekly ear flushes will continue, perhaps for the life of your dog.
I have good results with yeast infections using one or both of these procedures but I suggest you check with your vet first, in particular if he/she has already prescribed a medication.
I hope I have been able to help. Please contact me back if your require clarification in any way.