Effective Treatment for Pet Bacterial & Yeast Infections
Animal Dermatology Center of Chicago has the knowledge and experience to effectively treat skin problems caused by yeast overgrowth and bacterial infections. Special tests are necessary to diagnose these problems and allow us to recommend the right treatment to make your pet more comfortable.
Download our handout on Malassezia.
Malassezia is a non-contagious yeast that can infect the skin, feet, and ears. Infected skin has an appearance that varies from red and moist to scaly to oily and greasy skin, which will sometimes appear thick or leathery and can often darken in color (hyperpigmentation). In rare cases, the skin can look dry and flaky. These infections can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly seen on the paws, in skin folds, and nail beds, and they can cause ear infections as well. Yeast infections are typically very itchy and uncomfortable. Healthy dogs and cats may be carriers of this yeast, and it does not pose problems in most healthy pets.
The odor and appearance of the skin and ear discharge varies and may appear similar to bacterial infections and may occur along with them. Yeast infections can only be diagnosed by performing a test that involves taking a sample from the surface of the affected area, fixing it to a glass slide, applying specific stains to the slide, and then viewing the slide under a microscope. Special training is required for technicians and doctors to perform this type of test.
Remember: Treating your pet with antibiotics does not necessarily increase the risk of developing yeast infections as it does in humans.
Download our handout on Pyoderma.
A bacterial infection, pyoderma, can occur in different layers of the skin. A superficial pyoderma involves the surface layers of the skin and can often be recognized by the presence of pustules or pimples. These often break and can leave behind a small crust or a bald spot. A deep pyoderma can manifest as swelling and draining tracts.
Because one of the most important jobs that the skin has is to keep infections out, healthy animals rarely develop pyoderma. If the skin is injured or if there is inflammation or any other type of problem with either the skin or the body, then the bacteria can easily take advantage and produce skin infections. These infections can be very itchy. Allergic animals that scratch and have inflamed skin are very susceptible to pyoderma.
The best way to be certain if a pyoderma is present is to have skin cytology, and a bacterial culture may need to also be done. Tests to determine the causes of the pyoderma are variable and depend on the severity, how long it has been present, response to prior treatment, and the overall condition of your pet. Most animals with pyoderma have a good prognosis, especially if the underlying problem is found and can be corrected or controlled.