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Your Dog's Skin

Fungal & Yeast infections

Mastering Malassezia

What's going on?

Malassezia is the name of a type of yeast (fungus) found on the skin and in ears of dogs. An overgrowth of this agent causes a common skin condition.


Malassezia dermatitis, also called yeast or fungal dermatitis, is caused by a type of yeast (fungus) found on the skin and in ears of dogs.

Though a normal inhabitant of these areas, an abnormal overgrowth of this micro-organism can cause a skin inflammation or dermatitis.

It is often triggered by an underlying disease, such as parasites, an endocrine disease or allergies against fleas or food ingredients. Dogs with allergies or oily/flaky skin seems particularly prone to yeast overgrowth. 


An overgrowth of yeast causes skin irritation, hair loss, a reddened, greasy, smelly skin with affected patches becoming darker (hyperpigmentation).

In chronic cases, the skin will also become thicker. The arm pits, lower neck, ears, feet and nail beds are most commonly affected. The hair may become red with chronic infection. This is fairly common between the toes or on the chops.

Some breeds of dogs are particularly susceptible to Malassezia dermatitis, including Poodles, Basset hounds and West Highland White Terriers. 

Six tips to help master Malassezia

Disinfecting the skin to help restore its natural population of micro-organisms and soothing the irritation are the main goals of supportive care.

  1. Consult your veterinarian to identify the problem and treat any underlying condition. Remedies will depend on the diagnosis.
  2. Help control the condition by using a high quality shampoo, mousse or wipes to clean and soothe the skin and to maintain the natural skin's ecosystem. Choose special formulas with an antiseptic action.
  3. Regularly groom and brush your dog and clean skin folds, ears and between the toes.
  4. Keep your pet free from parasites: treat against fleas, ticks and worms on a regular basis.
  5. Feed your pet a high-quality, balanced diet. Supplement with essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals if and as recommended by your vet.
  6. Schedule regular check-up consultations with your veterinarian to watch your dog's skin condition. You can also send pictures of your dog to show the evolution

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