Recently, my dog's ears have been giving out a foul odour. He has also been scratching a lot. The skin on his face seems oily and he has constantly been licking his toes. Can you advise me on what treatment I can use for this?
Many skin diseases have similar symptoms and an immediate diagnosis may not be possible.
The above mentioned symptoms could be due to a yeast infection. Malassezia pachydermatis is a yeast that is commonly found in the ear canal, between the toes, anal sacs, vagina, and rectum of healthy dogs.
Any hereditary or infectious diseases such as bacterial dermatitis (skin infection), allergies or seborrhea that weaken the skin's immune system can allow a yeast infection to begin. In addition, increased oil levels in the skin, or ear wax, can lead to an infection.
The yeast may be localised on the ear, muzzle, toes, anal area, or it may be generalised, covering most of the body.
Hair loss, redness, hyper pigmentation (blackening of the skin), and thickening of the skin may also be present. If an infection develops in the ear, the dog may shake his head and scratch his ears constantly. There may also be a foul odour from the ear, such as the one you have described.
Due to the mentioned symptoms, your dog needs to be seen by a vet for exact diagnosis and treatment as this is something that you should not attempt to treat yourself. Diagnosis is mainly by skin scraping examination. Laboratory cultures can also be performed to identify the organism.
Treatment involves removal of lipids or fats on the skin and for that your vet will advise you on the correct shampoo to use. A response is generally seen within one to two weeks; however, therapy needs to continue for an additional three to five weeks.
Ears that have a yeast infection are treated by cleaning the ears one to two times daily; ask your vet to show you the correct way to do this. After cleaning, appropriate topical medications can be used.
After a dog has suffered from a yeast infection it is possible for a re-occurrence, especially in hot, humid weather or during times of stress so the best way to avoid this is to keep your dog in the best of health through a good diet, plenty of exercise, keeping him fully vaccinated and avoiding stress where possible.
Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA. Please send questions to email@example.com.
BSPCA's Cat of the Week is Cash
Age: Approximately 13 months
Cash looks different from the other cats at the shelter. He is a big faced gentle beauty who is desperate for love. His previous owner could not keep him and we now need to find a new home for him, where he can go back to having the regular cuddles he is so obviously used to. Come and meet Cash and let him show you how affectionate he can be, you might just have to take him home with you. Cash does need regular grooming but enjoys it so much, it's very easy to do. Cash is neutered and fully vaccinated.
BSPCA's Dog of the Week is Stanley
Age: Approximately one year
Stanley came to the shelter a couple of weeks ago and in that time has delighted all the staff. He is a fun and playful dog; he loves playing with the other dogs but his favourite thing in the whole world is getting human visitors. He bounces around in excitement when anyone approaches his pen and waits for the fun to begin. When he eventually tires of playing, he cuddles up for some love and affection. Stanley is neutered, frontlined and fully vaccinated.
-- By BSPCA Pet Reporter Louise Edwards
l If you are interested in adopting Cash, Stanley or any of our other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies, please visit the Animal Welfare Centre in Askar or log onto the website www.bspca.org for directions.
We have been informed that people are still taking animals to the old shelter in Shakoora, which is no longer used by the BSPCA. The new BSPCA Animal Welfare Centre is located in Askar.
The shelter is open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm on Sundays to Thursdays, and 9am to 1pm on Fridays and Saturdays and we accept animals 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week.
The BSPCA is a charity and can only operate on the generosity of the public's donations. If you wish to help the rescue, unwanted or abandoned animals, you can sponsor a dog or cat kennel at the shelter in Askar. To donate e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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