Dogs can either acquire a fungal infection on its own, or as part of a secondary infection because of a skin allergy.
The typical scenario as part of a skin allergy is that contact allergy from grasses makes the dogs feet and pads itch. The only way to fix the itch is to lick incessantly at the itchy foot. Continually wet feet are a perfect way for a fungal infection to take hold.
Compounded to this is the fact that a dog suffering from skin allergies may have airborne allergies as well. With its immune system compromised the fungal infection takes a stranglehold and a co infection of bacteria can thrive.
With the dogs white blood cells diverted to fixing the problem with their feet, a dangerous ear infection often occurs. That is fungal infection in the moist environment of the ear flourishes and can lead to a painful ear condition that can even lead to removal of a dogs ear drum.
Amazingly out of all of the fungus out there, there is typically one main type of Yeast dermatitis or Malassezia dermatitis that occurs in the dog.
And of course it is the fungus Malassezia pachydermatis that is the very common cause of skin disease in dogs (as a secondary infection) along with bacteria.
Clinical signs of a dog yeast skin infection
Malassezia dermatitis (fungal infection in dogs) is often characterized by:
- Thickened skin commonly called elephant skin
- Scales and crusty, flaky skin
- Musty odor – particularly in the ear
- Hyper-pigmentation (darkly pigmented skin appearing as freckles)
- Itching and redness
- Chronic or recurrent otitis externa or ear infections