Malassezia skin infection
Zoe was presented for a chronic skin problem. His owner had been treating the condition with home made and pet shop remedies to no avail.
He had a greasy smelly coat and had lost hair on his ear flaps, face and groin.
A Dif Quik stain of swabs taken for the ears and skin revealed a yeast infection in the ears and a bacterial infection in the skin. Skin scrapes ruled out a Demodex mite (mange) infection.
We suspected an underlying allergy to something at home or on his walks. The condition deteriorated once the bacteria that normally live on the surface of the skin were able to get into the deeper skin layers due to the damage inflicted on it by the scratching and inflammation.
In many contact allergy cases, the offending agent is long gone e.g. cement dust from renovations, a weed that grows for a few weeks. The secondary "invaders" (bacteria and sometimes Malassezia yeast) keep the itchiness (pruritis) going.
Malassezia yeasts are common secondary invaders for skin problems and are the number cause of ear infections in pets. The skin has a typical thin hair coverage, greasy fell and smells.
We placed Zoe on:
- 6 weeks of antibiotics (most chronic skin problems need 6 or more weeks of antibiotics to clear completely)
- Dermcare Malaseb Shampoo twice a week for the whole body followed by Dermcare Aloveen Conditioner
- Medicated ear drops which contained and anti-yeast drug, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs for 10 days. We applied these both inside the ear canal and onto the ear flaps directly to kill the Malassezia and give some pain relief.
By 2 weeks things were looking a lot better and by 4 weeks, Zoe was a much happier dog.
As to the underlying allergy causing agent, we are not sure. Next Spring we will have to watch him closely for any early signs of a relapse and maybe consider some skin tests by a specialist to see what is causing his allergy.