Determining if Your Dog has an Ear Yeast Infection
By Mishaun Taylor
As a responsible pet owner, you should know that there are several steps to take to discover if your dog has an ear infection due to yeast.
It's important, as a dog owner, to be very familiar with your dog's regular routine and behavior, so that if a change occurs, you'll notice that the dog is behaving differently. First, know how energetic the dog normally is, and be able to describe his normal energy levels and routines to a veterinarian. Does your dog frequently take time to lie down or is he always on the go? Is he eager to go outside for walks, or does he remain on his bed when you open the door? These are just a couple of lifestyle habits you should be aware of.
Second, does your dog regularly fidget, lick, shake his head, or scratch certain parts of his body? Or is he free from habitual scratching, only indulging occasionally? From the time you first get your dog, you should take the time to get to know its habits.
If you do notice odd behaviors, it's important to keep notes so you can inform the vet. The vet will want to know what behaviors have changed, and if there has been an accompanying change in the dog's activities or surroundings. For instance, if your dog is usually landlocked, but you recently took him swimming, and now you're noticing a change in behavior, the vet will need to know this information. You also will need to describe in detail the behaviors that are alarming. Some of the common behaviors in a dog with a yeast ear infection include scratching the ear, whining, rubbing the ear on the carpet or furniture, shaking the head and moping around with less energy than usual. Symptoms you might notice on the ear itself are redness, swelling, crustiness, discharge, and a foul smelling odor.
Once you are able to describe your concerns and the events you've noticed, the vet will take a sample from inside the dog's ear to determine if yeast is really the problem. Bacterial infections may present with almost exactly the same symptoms, but will need different treatment. In addition, the vet will need to examine the dog and his entire ear, inside and out, to rule out other problems like matted hair or an object lodged in the ear. Sometimes, if a dog has grass stuck far inside the ear, or if the dog has contracted ear mites (from contact with an infected dog), the symptoms will mimic those of a yeast infection.
If your vet, upon examining the sample under a microscope, confirms the overgrowth of yeast, he will be able to prescribe a topical solution to kill the fungus. He will also advise you about how to avoid recurrence.
Once you know your dog very well, and familiarize yourself with telltale symptoms of yeast, you will be able to save your dog from any further problems with yeast infection in the ears.