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Malassezia Dermatitis in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

Malazzezia dermatitis is basically a fancy name for a skin condition that your dog can acquire on account of something else, such as an allergy or a different disease altogether.  And while there is some evidence that this disease is hereditary in some cases, it is believed that more than half of cases where dogs present with Malassezia dermatitis do so as a secondary condition.

And because…

We here at IndulgeYourPet hate to see any animal suffer needlessly we decided that we would write this article so that we can shed some light on this disorder and hopefully provide you with the insight you’ll need to better care for your dog’s condition.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Malassezia Dermatitis

Malassezia Dermatitis occurs when Malassezia pachydermatitis (that is a type of naturally occurring yeast that normally lives under the surface of a dog’s skin) turns nasty.

Either through…

Scratching or trauma to the infection site the bacteria is able to leak out of the skin, causing itching, swelling and pain. This then triggers a vicious cycle whereby the affected dog’s body will then begin to produce more of the bacteria because there isn’t enough in the correct places; and so, the cycle continues.

This “new” bacteria…

Then forms wounds in the flesh which still itches, so you can imagine the discomfort level.

Now it’s important to…

Point out that this yeast dermatitis should not be confused with atopic dermatitis in dogs.  Because atopic dermatitis, occurs as a response to an allergy and is usually caused by an immune response to a household product. Atopic dermatitis covers things like:

  • Dog-Hay-fever, where a skin rash on the underbelly is the most prominent clinical sign.

Where as…

Malassezia will present anywhere on the body and it will not be constricted to certain areas. Even so, your vet may want to take a biopsy to check the particular type of Dermatitis from which your dog is suffering

It should also be pointed out that…

Seemingly healthy dogs can get Malassezia from food allergies.  In cases like these, it is generally believed that the affected dog probably inherited his or her condition from a parent.

Symptoms of Malassezia dermatitis

Pruritis – or severe itching of the skin – will be one of the first clinical signs of an infection. Malassezia yeasts will break through the skin causing lesions as the dog scratches. Normal dogs are most likely to acquire this condition in the armpits or any other body part where yeast organisms thrive. In loose skinned dogs, it is likely to appear between skin folds. This allergic skin disease is extremely likely to develop in the dog’s ear canal, causing them to scratch until they yelp.

In many cases…

The itching with this disease is so intense that your dog is likely to scratch until it draws blood, thus forcing more of the yeast organisms to the surface of the skin, widening the lesions and drawing further blood. In cases like these, your pup will likely need a medical intervention to break the cycle, fortunately it is reasonably easy to treat.

Breeds affected by this condition

Breeds likely to suffer from this condition include any atopic dogs and any dogs that have loose skin. It is a condition that can strike any dog should they come into contact with something that causes an allergic reaction, but it is known to affect pedigree breeds in a hereditary manner as well as via allergen. These breeds are:

High humidity can also bring about this condition so dogs in warmer countries are more susceptible than those from cold places. It also presents in a high rate in dogs with loose skin, making the Pug and the Chinese Shar Pei likely candidates.

Treatment Options

There are various treatment options but prevention is better than cure in this instance. First, you’re going to want to find the original allergen and remove it from contact with your pet. The problem is…

“What could that allergen be?”

This is will most likely turn into a guessing game, but if you have recently changed a home-based product or if you have recently changed your dog’s diet, these are good places to start.

From there…

You’ll simply want to start eliminating potential allergens one at a time until the condition starts to improve – while all the same time administering a topical therapy from your vet to treat the symptoms and ease pain as you go.

A patch test…

May eventually need to be conducted if you cannot find the source of the itching. Other treatment options include anti-fungal medications which will take down the yeast level and provide some relief.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have Malazzezia dermatitis (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!


The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Which is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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