Treatments for your Dog's Ear Yeast Infection
By Christopher Taylor
You notice your dog scratching his ear, shaking his head, whining, and generally being less frisky than usual. When you give him a little attention, you see that his ear is red, warm to the touch, and seems swollen. If discharge and a really foul odor are also present, it's a pretty good guess that the dog has an ear infection of some type. The problem could originate from bacteria, mites, matted hair, or a foreign object lodged in the ear. You will have to let the veterinarian examine your dog thoroughly. If all of the above causes are ruled out, you may be dealing with a dog ear yeast infection. Yeast can affect any tissue in the body, given the right environment. Tissue that is compromised by being scratched or torn, or that is continually moist, is susceptible to a yeast infection. Once your veterinarian has verified the yeast diagnosis by examining a sample of the affected area under the microscope, you and he can discuss a few different options for treatment.
Some veterinarians will recommend that you attempt certain natural treatments before using a powerful OTC medication or a prescription. White vinegar removes dirt and debris and restores a healthy balance in your dog’s ears. You'll dilute the vinegar, pour the recommended amount into your dog’s ear canal, allow it to soak as you massage it briefly, then wipe out excess with a soft cloth. Cleaning your dog once a day may help his dog ear yeast infection. When his ear infection is better, use this solution a few times a week to keep your dog’s yeast at bay.
An herb called pau d’arco kills yeast infections. To use pau d'arco, mix it with mineral oil and massage it into the affected ear a few times a day for several days. Some vets and pet owners put a lot of faith in boosting the animal's immune system to prevent future yeast infections. To that end, your veterinarian may recommend dosing your dog with vitamin C. Your vet will tell you the correct amount for your dog's weight. Also, make sure your dog eats only a high quality pet food. Avoid table scraps, as they contain preservatives, sugar, and additives that are unhealthy for dogs. Keep your dogs ears clean, dry, and free of excess hair growth. Yeast will breed best in a dark, moist, environment, so whatever you can do to keep your pet's ears exposed to air and sunshine will help the problem.
If the dog's yeast infection problem isn't helped by these milder steps, your vet may recommend Zymox, a non-prescription treatment containing enzymatic anti-microbials. One daily dose of Zymox cleans and medicates. Another option will be to treat with Chlorhexidine 4% and clotramizole ointment. Brand names may be Malotic, Baytril Otic, or Panalog.
Remember to treat your dog's ear problems by keeping the whole dog healthy and clean. Then, if he does get a dog ear yeast infection, you and your vet can more effectively conquer the problem.