Fungus in a dog's ears: causes, symptoms, treatment

Carefully caring for your four-legged friend, the owner may encounter a problem when it is not always possible to clean the auricles from contamination. The resulting fungus in the ears of the dog causes inflammation - otitis.

Yeast fungi of the genus Candida or Malassesia cause a similar pathological process. Timely contacting a veterinarian and treatment started will help to avoid serious complications, such as complete or partial hearing loss, development of strabismus, problems with eating.

Causes of the development of fungus in the ears

The ear fungus in dogs is called otomycosis and this pathology is localized in the area of ​​the auditory canal. The causative agents of the disease are yeast fungal microorganisms that are constantly on the skin of pets. In certain situations, fungi begin their active growth and reproduction, becoming the cause of serious inflammatory processes.

Note! Fungal otitis media (otomycosis) is not contagious and does not apply to other animals. In addition, otomycosis is not terrible for humans.

The main causes of fungal infections in the ears of a dog are:

  • The processes inflammatory on the skin of the dog - as a result of such changes, the body's immune forces weaken significantly, and the fungal microflora against this background begins its active growth.
  • Ear mites - Rare cases, but otitis media that is caused due to the development of an ear tick is still diagnosed.
  • Allergic reactions in the animal’s body - if there is an allergen in the dog’s daily diet, allergies to certain substances can become a kind of springboard for the further development of fungi in the ear.
  • Weakening the body's defenses - The main reason for the appearance of otomycosis in dogs. In the presence of pathological processes in the animal’s body or severe stress, the immune system weakens, and fungi develop on the skin integument and in the auricles.
  • Antimicrobial therapy - long-term use of antibiotics can cause otomycosis. In addition, fungal microorganisms can spread throughout the dog’s body. In such cases, for the prevention of fungal diseases, veterinarians strongly recommend giving their pets specific drugs - probiotics. They have a pronounced prophylactic effect aimed at preventing fungal infections.

Note! Veterinary medical statistics say that most often inflammation in the ears due to the development of fungal microorganisms occurs in long-eared dog breeds. This once again proves that the health of a pet must be treated with maximum attention.

Other equally important reasons that provoke the development of otomycosis are:

  • change of residence, change of ownership, intense fear;
  • hypothermia - long baths in cool water, walks in the pouring rain;
  • long exposure to the sun;
  • eating disorders;
  • disruption of the endocrine system;
  • infectious lesions and helminthiases.

Microscopic fungi Malassesia, become the cause of not only otitis and dermatitis in dogs, but can also provoke the development of stomatitis, rhinitis and pathologies in the eyes. When secondary pathogenic microflora of bacterial origin are attached, the yeast causes uncomfortable sensations with inflammatory reactions.

Type of fungus - Fitosporum, belongs to the actinomycetes department and has two distributions:

  • Malaysia oval - a lipid-dependent species, detected exclusively in humans and causes seborrheic dermatitis.
  • Malaysia patidermatis - lipophilic fungus, independent of lipid metabolism and is found in most representatives of the animal world.

The first scientist who identified this type of fungus in a separate group was the Frenchman Louis Charles Malass. The complexity of working with this type of yeast is complicated by the fact that they grow unusually slowly compared to other species and require special environments.

Symptoms of the manifestation of ear fungus in dogs

The first obvious signs of the onset of the inflammatory process are considered when the four-legged pet strongly shakes its head. The onset of the disease is accompanied by severe discomfort in the form of itching. The dog scratches one ear, and the causative agent of the fungal infection penetrates deeper, spreading to the surface of the shell.

The main symptoms of the onset of otomycosis are:

  • itching in the ear canal in an animal;
  • increased dog anxiety;
  • discharge from the ear canal of a large amount of sulfur;
  • color change of earwax, in connection with the accession of bacterial microflora;
  • hyperemia of the visible skin of the ear;
  • the occurrence of edema and inflammation;
  • serous discharge from the auricle;
  • bad smell.

With untimely medical care, external forms of ear inflammation go to the next stages. These types of complications are fraught with the development of inflammation of the middle ear, deafness, and in some cases, the onset of the inflammatory process in the meninges is possible.

Note! With intensive combing of the ear, the dog carries fungal spores to the rest of the body. Fungal lesions of the paws, trunk and neck occur.

Most often, otomycosis is recorded in basset hounts, poodles, cocker spaniels, setters, Dalmatians and beagles. This is primarily due to the fact that in such breeds of dogs the natural ventilation of the auditory canal decreases, humidity increases, creating ideal conditions for the growth and reproduction of yeast fungi. Fungal otitis media in those dogs that have a physiological structure of the ear shell with large cartilaginous folds. Sharpei, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands are at risk.

It also happens that the owner does not always notice the development of the pathological process. This is due to a sluggish process, and otomycosis passes from an acute stage to a chronic one. Throughout life, the dog is sometimes tormented by acute inflammation, giving way to periods of remission. At the same time, advanced inflammation of the auricle leads to abscesses and hyperplasia of the tympanic membrane.

Diagnostic Methods

It is not possible to make an accurate diagnosis solely of external examination methods. A qualified doctor can only suggest the development of pathology based on clinical manifestations.

To differentiate the disease from ordinary inflammatory processes that do not have a fungal etiology, it is enough to palpate the base of the ear shell. In the absence of pain and other phenomena, suggests that deep sections of the auricle are not involved in the pathological process.

The main diagnostic method is the examination of the taken exudate under a microscope. The substrate from the ear is applied to a glass slide. The sign of the initial stages of an infectious lesion is the presence of two or more interwoven filaments of mycelium, spores and oval cells in the microscope field.

Note! If more than 10 fungal spores are detected in the microscope field, veterinarians talk about the advanced stage of the pathology.

Another type of diagnosis is the detection of pathogenic microflora grown from a smear in a special nutrient medium. The results of this diagnostic method are ready for 7-11 days. If a small amount of fungal spores is found during sowing, treatment is not prescribed, as this is a common condition for the skin of an animal.


The basis of therapy is to eliminate the underlying cause, which served as the beginning of the development of fungus in the ears of the dog. In the frequency of cases, these are allergic reactions and ear mites. If a first degree of damage and a mild form of otomycosis is detected, the treatment consists in the use of special drops aimed at destroying the fungus.

Before starting the administration of drugs, it is necessary to clear the ear canal of a specific secret, an abundant amount of sulfur and possible exudate.

For ear washings use warm saline or a solution of chlorhexidine at a concentration of 0.05%. It is necessary to carry out the cleaning and washing procedure several times a week. If there is a lot of secreted secretion, it is necessary to rinse the external auditory meatus every time before the introduction of antifungal ear drops.

Warm rinse is administered in small amounts while holding the dog’s ear. Slowly massage the base of the ear shell with gentle movements. You can let the dog shake his ears to remove the remnants of the solution. The used material - napkins, cotton pads, gauze must be carefully collected with subsequent disposal.

Note! Sanitation of the surface of the auricle for cleansing of plaque, films and crusts formed is best done using special solutions - Otomina and Otifri, designed specifically for these purposes.


Antifungal therapy is prescribed, including taking medications - Oricin, Tresadem, Oridemil, Nihlofem. In addition, it is important to prevent the occurrence of a bacterial secondary infection, and for this purpose antimicrobial agents - Gentamicin, Ceftriaxone, Amoxiclav. Supportive therapy consists of taking hepatoprotectors (drugs that support liver function) and immunomodulators to strengthen the immune system.

The most common immunostimulants for dogs are:

  • Salmozan;
  • Gamavit;
  • Globfel;
  • Immunofan;
  • Maxilin;
  • Katozal.

If a pet is diagnosed with otitis media due to a fungal infection with the addition of pathogenic bacterial microflora, the treatment will be more complex, including strong antibiotics. All this can be done at home and there is no need to be in a hospital of a veterinary clinic. In some cases, several antimicrobial agents are prescribed at once, allowing to eliminate the problem and protect the animal from a possible relapse.

Note! When conducting antibiotic therapy and the introduction of immunostimulants, the development of addiction is possible. You can prevent this effect by changing medications and determining the threshold of sensitivity.

Fungal and bacterial infections develop in those dogs that have a weakened body that is not able to withstand the penetration and multiplication of pathogenic microflora. It is important to monitor the condition of the skin and all visible membranes of your pet, in order to avoid the development of otomycosis and other diseases. In the presence of the slightest deviations in the condition of the animal, it is necessary to consult a veterinarian for advice in order to avoid the development of complications.