Mast cells dominate the ear canal of the canine. Mast cells respond to outside stimulation or allergens by producing prostaglandins, histamines and other inflammatory chemicals. The over production within the canal cause the ear to secrete ear wax. The excessive ear wax makes an ideal, gooey environment for bacteria and yeast to flourish. The floppy ear also helps warm up the ear canal and limit its ability to receive adequate air circulation so a humid sanctuary forms. It becomes an ear petri dish.
Ear mites will also thrive within the dog’s ears and cause the yeast spores to grow prolifically. An overgrowth of yeast also occurs if the dog suffers allergies to outside stimulants or foods.
Yeast Infection Symptoms
1) The owner may notice a waxy dark brown, black or pinkish buildup of wax within the ear or even on the out part of the ear if the dog’s ear flap is lifted.
2) The ear will have an unpleasant odor.
3) The dog will begin to shake its head excessively. It may paw or dig at its ear with its foot. In an extreme case the dog may claw at its ear until it bleeds in a vain effort to relieve the ongoing itching from the prolific yeast and inflammation.
4) A dog often exhibits a nasal discharge, sneezing or it may paw at its nose.
Any dog exhibiting these symptoms requires prompt veterinarian care. A veterinarian will exam the ear closely. He will take a swab of the ear to determine the exact cause of the infection. Most veterinarians will be able to diagnosis a yeast based ear infection from the symptoms and the visual appearance of the ear upon examination.
The veterinarian will normally prescribe a medicated ear wash that the owner must use daily. The solution will be deposited into the dog’s ear to loosen the wax and yeast. The owner will massage the dog’s ear after application and swab with a cloth.
A medicated drop will also be prescribed. It is very important to follow the directions provided by the veterinarian and to use all the medication prescribed so the dog does not build an immunity to the medication. Ceasing using the medication just because the symptoms have ceased can cause the infection to build up an immunity and render the medication ineffective when utilized.
Veterinarians will also prescribe an antihistamine to help relieve the itching and discomfort the dog is suffering immediately. If the symptoms are severe the dog may be placed on an steroid.
The veterinarian will also work to try to determine of the infection is caused from an external allergy, such as food. So any future infections can successfully be prevented.