Malassezia dermatitis is a fancy name for a yeast or fungal infection affecting your pooch's skin. Her skin may thicken, discolor, become flaky or scaly, itch or smell funny. Topical antifungal medications, typically in shampoo form, are your go-to treatments for the condition. Consult your vet first for treatment advice.
If your four-legged friend has greasy or oily skin, as is often the case in pets who develop Malassezia dermatitis, she may benefit from use of a degreasing shampoo. Effective products usually contain selenium sulfide or benzoyl peroxide as active ingredients, but let your vet advise you on which to use. These shampoos remedy the oiliness the Malassezia pachydermatis thrives with. While these shampoos help get the yeast infection under control, they don't kill the fungus. Most also help with scaling and icky skin odors.
If your vet suggested using a degreasing shampoo for your pooch, use it first, then follow it up with the prescribed antifungal shampoo. Chlorhexidine, miconazole, ketoconazole and itraconazole are the four most commonly used medications in antifungal shampoos for dogs with Malassezia dermatitis. Many products contain a combination of two of these active ingredients. These are the ingredients that take care of business and kill the fungus infecting your doggy's skin.
Get clear instructions from your vet about how to use the shampoos he prescribes. Also, carefully review the manufacturer's instructions and precautions. Get your itchy canine companion into the tub and soak her with warm water. Lather her up with the degreasing shampoo, taking care not to get it in her ears, eyes, nose or mouth. Leave it on for five to 10 minutes, then rinse her well. Then, apply the antifungal shampoo. Lather it in, paying careful attention to trouble spots. Let it sit for 15 minutes, then rinse it off thoroughly. Standard prescriptions call for applications every three to five days for two to 12 weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
Antifungal shampoos are typically reserved for doggies with considerable skin area affected by the Malassezia pachydermatis fungus. If your pooch has a localized problem, your vet may recommend trying a spot treatment before going through the trouble of getting your furry friend into the bath. This is done with medicated wipes or ointments. Sometimes, oral antifungal medications are prescribed, often in conjunction with topical treatments for particularly nasty infections. Your vet also may suggest regular use of a shampoo specially formulated for managing allergic skin conditions if Malassezia dermatitis becomes a recurring problem for your pooch.
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.