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tootsie 01-17-2008 01:37 PM

Yeast Infections
After re-reading the thread about the discolored claws, I just found this interesting article on Malassezia (Yeast) Infections. I really think this may be part of Maddies issues with her itchy chin, ears, and paws. This doesn't really mention the red nails, but maybe that is a symptom carrying over from the paw pad? So many of our boxers have the "itchies", I'm wondering if this may be part to blame. We are so quick to blame the food, but maybe this is something to consider. I know the symptoms fit Maddie to a tee, and I also kept thinking of Lola with her constant ear battles and all the other itchie boxers on here. Sharon or anyone ... thoughts on this?

Malassezia Infections
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith, Inc.

Malassezia pachydermatis is a yeast that is commonly found on the skin of most dogs and cats. The presence of yeast normally causes few problems, however, in some cases, Malassezia can grow and reproduce in abnormal numbers.

Where is Malassezia found?

Malassezia is commonly found in the ear canal, anal sacs, vagina, and rectum of healthy dogs and cats. Disease-causing infections with Malassezia can occur in dogs of all ages and breeds, but are not as common in cats. There are several dog breeds that appear to have an increased susceptibility to developing Malassezia infections including the Silky, Australian, Maltese, and West Highland White Terriers, Chihuahuas, Poodles, Shetland Sheepdogs, and German Shepherd Dogs.

Why do dogs get Malassezia infections?

Any hereditary or infectious disease that weakens the skin's immune system can allow a Malassezia infection to begin. Animals that have an underlying condition such as a bacterial infection, allergy, or seborrhea can have irritated skin that is then susceptible to becoming infected with Malassezia. Some animals, particularly of those breeds listed above, may have a weakened immune system, specifically with a type of cell called the T lymphocyte. These are the cells which help control Malassezia.

What are the signs of a Malassezia infection?

The signs of a Malassezia infection often appear in the high-humidity months of summer and will persist into the fall. Itchy skin is almost always present with these infections. Because of the scratching, the dog may further traumatize the skin. The yeast may be localized on the ear, muzzle, toes, anal area, or may be generalized, covering most of the body. Dogs with the generalized form will often have an offensive, greasy smell and may suffer from oily, scaly skin. Dogs with localized muzzle infections may rub their face or have episodes of intensely scratching their face. Dogs with infections on their toes may lick their feet constantly. Hair loss, redness, hyperpigmentation (blackening of the skin), and thickening of the skin may also be present.

Many ear problems in dogs are also associated with Malassezia. As with skin infections with Malassezia, the yeast start to grow when the environment in the ear canal changes due to another disease condition such as allergies or a bacterial infection. If the yeast infection is in the ear, the dog may shake his head and scratch at his ears.

How is a Malassezia infection diagnosed?

The best way to diagnose a Malassezia infection is with a positive identification of the organism under the microscope. The lesion can be scraped, swabbed, or scotch tape can be used to obtain a sample. Most infections will have a large number of yeast present that will confirm the diagnosis. Laboratory cultures can also be performed to identify the organism. However, because Malassezia can be present on a healthy animal, there may always be some doubt as to if it is the causative agent of the signs. Therefore, diagnosis is usually confirmed by response to treatment.

How are Malassezia infections treated?

Treatment can be approached in several different ways. For a long-term solution to the problem the underlying condition must be properly treated, whether it is a bacterial infection, allergy, or seborrhea.

To provide an inhospitable environment for Malassezia, lipids on the skin need to be removed. Chlorhexidine shampoos that are 1% or stronger, and shampoos containing benzoyl peroxide and sulfur can be used. Selsun Blue shampoo for people also has a good effect against Malassezia in some dogs, although it can be irritating. Human shampoos containing ketoconazole have also been used.

For localized treatment of very small areas, miconazole cream is applied twice daily for several weeks.

For dogs with more severe cases, or in those that are resistant to topical treatment, oral ketoconazole or itraconazole can be administered for several weeks. A response is generally seen within 1-2 weeks, however, therapy needs to continue for an additional 3-5 weeks. Both of these oral antifungal drugs are very effective, but because of their potentially toxic side effects and expense, they should only be used under direct veterinary supervision.

Ear infections with Malassezia are treated by cleaning the ears 1-2 times daily. Ear cleaners containing acids such as acetic or boric acid help to maintain a pH that inhibits the growth of yeast. After cleaning and allowing the ear to dry, appropriate topical medications containing nystatin, thiabendazole, or clomitrazole can be used. Again, the underlying condition must also be treated or treatment for the yeast infection will be unsuccessful.


Malassezia is a common yeast found on almost every dog. Infections with Malassezia are almost always associated with severe itching in dogs, and are often misdiagnosed as skin allergies. The organism can be readily identified with a skin scraping and treatment is usually successful. If your dog has itchy skin or hair loss and has failed to respond to conventional treatments make sure your veterinarian checks her for the ever-present Malassezia. ... icleid=321

HannaBanana 01-17-2008 01:56 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
Hanna has cronic yeast ear infections as a baby. *Then her feet would start. *If you think about it, they itch their ears with their feet (yeast can spread from ear to paw) then she would lick her feet to itch them ( hence itchy chin) and its just a cycle that can spead to one part to another.

Best is when you start to see the itching, and know its yeast to treat right away to make sure you get it before it spreads. *I just had another appointment for the itchies. * I have switched all my cleaning products to Seventh Generation, got off kibble, and any grain treats. *Mine I really think may be - Chicken! * Think about it - chix is in almost everything treat kibble ect. *Its the most inexpensive protein source. *I feed raw - the two protein are chix and turkey. * So I am going to go on a limb and try Lamb, beef or venison. *Cut out ALL treats, except apples, dehydrated duck heart, or beef roll treats.

I am going nuts over the itchies. * I dont want to be on meds forever either. * I am going to get a bottle of the Tea Tree Shampoo by Paul Mitchel Pet products. *I hardly ever bathe her, but its looks like something I want to try. *Also adding in more fish oil to her meal. *I am thinking air quality may be it along with a food alergy. *Its sooooooo frustrating!!!

01-17-2008 01:58 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
Thankfully *neither of mine are itchers and food allergy dogs yet...thank god...

sharonL 01-17-2008 02:23 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
Lisa that is a good article, but what I find interesting is is the treatment they offer suggestions as benzoyl peroxide and sulfur, Selsun Blue, Miconizole and Ketoconizole ....Those are all items to treat fungal infections...general fungi and ringworm type issues.... I have heard of *Malassezia, but not since being in school :-) If those products take care of it then something like Lamisil athlete foot med would too.....

Skylar 01-17-2008 02:25 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
Ok, Lucy is not itching or this something you need to treat?

sharonL 01-17-2008 02:32 PM

Re: Yeast Infections

Originally Posted by Skylar\";p=\&quot (Post 68274)
Ok, Lucy is not itching or this something you need to treat?

No, not unless you had an issue with Yeast or Funas and if you had a problem with this on your babies you would know it....:-)

tootsie 01-17-2008 02:47 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
Sharon..When Maddie was having all the issues with her chin, the Oxy pads really did work wonders. I haven't used them in a while and now she is itching again. Not as severe, but I can tell it's starting again. So I guess I should start using the Oxy pads again.
Her ears I clean twice a week with a tea tree oil cleanser, and I always get gunk out of them, especially her left one that looks like dried blood in there, but I don't see any scratch marks in her ears. She doesn't even scratch her ears at all, so I think the twice a week cleaning regimen is working for that. Can you apply the Lamisil in between her toe pads? I know she will attempt to lick it off and eat it! She is my soap eating girl!
Heather, I never thought of the fact that they can spread the infection from ear to foot to chin, but it makes perfect sense. And yeah, chicken is in just about everything! I also hear ya on the frustration! ARGH!!!!

nano 01-17-2008 06:03 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
I have Mr. Itchy also. *Recently I have been using the Chlorhexiderm shampoo on him. *It was every other day for a while then I went to twice a week and now has been almost two weeks since the last bath. *I use it on the bottom of his chin and put a little in the muzzle areas but you need to be really careful about the eyes. It has really helped with the yeasties. I also started him on the Nzymes yeast proticol with the oxydrops and the black leaf tincture. *I think this is making a major difference for him. *His face is sooooo much better and is not itching his toes like crazy. *You might want to give it a try. *We live in Florida for only 3 months of the year and the other 9 in North Carolina, but it is still very humid in the air here even in the winter althought the heat is on in the house and I'm sure that makes a difference.


nano 01-17-2008 06:09 PM

Re: Yeast Infections
Oh, Thanks for that info on yeast, by the way.


BurningRiver 01-17-2008 06:14 PM

Re: Yeast Infections

Originally Posted by sharonL\";p=\&quot (Post 68272)
Lisa that is a good article, but what I find interesting is is the treatment they offer suggestions as benzoyl peroxide and sulfur, Selsun Blue, Miconizole and Ketoconizole ....Those are all items to treat fungal infections...general fungi and ringworm type issues.... I have heard of *Malassezia, but not since being in school :-) If those products take care of it then something like Lamisil athlete foot med would too.....

I've not heard of Malassezia, but I have heard of Candidasis, which is what I associate with red yeast in the ears, the channels of the eyes and around the nail beds.

Yeast is considered to be a fungus. In human medicine, a drug that is typically prescribed for yeast infections is Nystatin. The brand name for Nystatin for pets is Panalog, which is a very old ointment that has been used for years. Miconazole is also the same thing as Lotramin (another brand name), which is commonly used to treat vaginal yeast infections (and why Monistat 7 [Lotramin]) works for treating tear staining on the face).

And, yes, tea tree oil is a great natural antifungal, antibiotic and antiseptic. I've not used it internally, so I'm not sure if it can safely be taken internally, but used topically, it is very affective.

Here is a link listing all of the brand names for Miconazole: ... 01203.html

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