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Dr Pete
Dr Pete, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 3009
Experience:  Bachelor of Veterinary Science (University of Melbourne, Australia)
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My dog (a lab/chow chow mix) currently has a yeast infection

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My dog (a lab/chow chow mix) currently has a yeast infection in both ears. His skin is also affected...reddish areas, hair loss, etc. This is a recurring condition. He has had it twice in the past 5 years. Among my 5 dogs, he's the only one that has had this problem. I realize now, from the online research I've done, that his floppy ears contribute to the problem and I need to be much more consistent with cleaning his ears, aside from proper bathing. I still have the Remicin ear ointment as well as the prescribed shampoo and conditioner from the last instance. They have not yet expired. I have already seen some improvement. I plan to take him to the vet if his condition worsens. In the meantime, would it be wise to give him probiotics? I read that acidophilus can benefit dogs with yeast infections. I bought one called Pet Dophilus at Whole Foods but have not given it to him yet. I was wondering if human acidophilus is also safe. I was deciding between getting the one intended for dogs and cats and the higher potency human acidophilus. I chose to be on the safe side. Thought I'd ask anyway. Any additional tips, home remedies to help my dog or provide him some relief would be greatly appreciated :)

*I am willing to pay a bonus for a helpful answer


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.

  1. 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”.
  2. 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.

Regards, Peter


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Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you very much for your thorough answer! I will definitely look into the products that you mentioned especially the Malaseb. In addition, do you recommend any particular diet for my dog at this time, or from this day forward? I kept reading about how a diet of raw chicken and bones, fish, and beef is much more appropriate for a dog with a yeast infection. Articles I read stressed the importance of a grain-free diet. Right now, I feed all my dogs Ol' Roy Complete Nutrition. It's been their dog food for years now. I'm willing to shift to a different diet altogether for my dog, Chandler, though. What are your thoughts on this? I don't know how comfortable I feel feeding him raw meat, but according to what I've read, their digestive systems can handle it, especially being that they are carnivorous to begin with. Therefore, way before commercial dog food came about, this is what dogs typically ate and they were fine and healthy. On the other hand, if there is a dog food you recommend that is available at the supermarket or pet stores, specifically PetSmart, I would love to know. Thank you for your time :)
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Sorry to ask yet another followup, but I neglected to mention this in my first question. My dog also has developed this fluid-filled pustule on the top of his head. The fluid is clear. It doesn't look like it's embedded deep into the skin, but appears to sit on top of his head, parting through his fur, almost like the appearance of a large pimple. I noticed it about 2 weeks ago, before I realized that the yeast infection was also becoming a problem. For that alone, I was planning on taking him to the vet, but then my focus shifted to his yeast infection. He doesn't seem to be bothered by it at this point. I am still concerned with that bump/pustule though. I tried using some warm compresses in the meantime. It is the same size it was when I discovered it but instead of feeling hard, it has become softer to the touch. Do you know if this is related to his current infection and will go away on its own? If not, I would like to take him to the vet regardless. If you happen to know what it is, I'd like to have an idea of what that could be, and if it is crucial that I take him to the vet immediately. Thank you.

Hi again

Sorry about the delay in responding. Different time zone here in Aus…it’s now early morning.

Just to go back over my suggestions. The Malaseb’s main value is to be used as a long term general shampoo and as an ear flush when the ears have the yeast. When the ears are in reasonable health then the Oti-Clens (or similar) are best used routinely. So you would use the Oti-Clens perhaps twice a week, but watching the ear canals all the time for any break out and then increase the frequency or revert to the Malaseb flush. But continue to shampoo him with the Malaseb. Be aware that the nature of the Oti-Clens (acidity) makes the ear canals look a bit red just after using it….nothing to worry about.

Diet….it's most important a dog gets a balanced nutritional value and even more so when there are skin issues. That balance is best provided with a good brand commercial food. There are a lot of these and the availability of different brands varies depending upon where you live. Many people feel that “fresh meat” is a dog’s natural diet and ask why is that not the best. The simple answer is that fresh meat is just the muscle of an animal and wild carnivores eat the whole carcass of their prey….that includes abdominal organs, brain, skin, bones, bowel, etc, etc. Each component provides different nutrition. That is an impractical way to feed our domestic pets of course. Much research has been done on the nutritional requirements of dogs and top brands comply with these requirements, labelling their product as “balanced” or “complete”. Good worldwide brands are Eukanuba, Science Diet and Royal Canin. These companies also produce special formulas optimised for dogs with skin problems…allergies, infections issues. This is what I would recommend for Chandler. N “omega oil” supplement may add some value if you wish.

The lump. Clear fluid suggests that this is a skin cyst., particularly if the surface is thin and translucent. Other possibility is a hygroma which will often occur due to blunt trauma but in this case the skin would look normal over the surface. Sounds like a cyst from what you describe. Clear fluid will mean no infection so this may not be anything urgent. Next vet visit bring it to the attention of the vet. He/she may drain it with a syringe but it may recur. Often surgical excision is the only long term fix. On the other hand if it doesn’t worry Chandler or uyourself it could just be left and monitored.

All the best, Peter

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