It’s a sad fact that dogs with floppy furry ears are particularly prone to yeast infections in their ears.

If your dog is rubbing their ear or tilting their head, they may have an ear infection caused by an overgrowth of yeast. In addition to rubbing, signs of yeast infection include a waxy residue, scabbing around the opening of the ear, and a smell that is quite unpleasant. A yeast infection is painful for dogs, and if untreated can lead to deafness.

It turns out that dogs have ear canals shaped like the letter “L”. This shape gives yeast a favourable environment in which to grow. If your dog swims or is bathed frequently, trapped water or debris in the ear canal can lead to yeast infections. Pollens, mould, grass seeds, and certain foods can also lead to ear infections in dogs.

Fortunately, if caught early enough, yeast infections are not difficult to treat. Your Vet will look down your dog’s ear with an otoscope to determine if the eardrum is intact or if anything is present in the ear canal that could be causing the infection. The Vet will probably also take a sample of material from in and around the ear and examine this under the microscope. It is important to determine whether the infection is caused by yeast, bacteria, or both.

If your dog has a yeast infection of the outer ear canal, the Vet might prescribe a topical antifungal ointment or cream. An infection of the middle ear is treated with systemic medications (meaning tablets or injections). It can take up to six weeks for the infection to go away. For dogs with floppy furry ears, experience has shown that keeping fur around their ear canals nice and short helps their ears to ‘breathe’ and prevent recurrence.

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