Skin and Dermatitis on small animals in the summer.

We have more problems with skin and dermatitis from various causes in the summer.  By doing skin scrapings and staining the slides from these we can see exactly what is causing the problem most generally.  Sometimes we need to take a punch biopsy of the skin and have a pathologist take a look.

One of the most common skin and dermatitis problems I see is a yeast infection.  This yeast is commonly Malassezia sp.  This is a common yeast coming from the environment and will start growing most anywhere if given the chance.  It is a commonly found in our environment and naturally occurring.  If the area is warm and moist, that is the perfect environment for this species to grow.

I see this as a secondary infection due to flea or tick infestation.  So a cure is to get rid of the fleas or ticks.  Then we can eliminate the yeast.


Another common place on your dog is in the ears.  We can get their ears wet from bathing, swimming, rain or sprinklers.  Here the yeast is normally at the bottom of the ear canal.  We must remember that a dogs ear canal runs down with a vertical canal and then turns in at about a 75-85 degree angle to go to the ear drum.  This is the perfect place for an infection of this sort.  Basically the ear doesn’t drain.  This is also why when we medicate the ears, we put the medicine in the ears and then put a cotton ball in the ear and then rub the base of the ear vigorously till we hear that smacking sound.  This is the same sound that is made when you smack you lips at the supper table.  We all were persecuted for making that rude sound as kids.  No with this treatment we want to hear that sound.

A way to prevent ear infections from bathing is to always put cotton balls in their ears before bathing.  Just make sure we get them out after the bath.  I also like putting a swimmers ear product in the ears and treating them also.  This swimmers ear product is for dogs.  It is pH attenuated for dogs and very gentle to their ears.  I have had people say they would put alcohol in their ears.  Well this will dry them out, but it will dry them out, too, much and that will make them itch more.  We are suppose to have some oil and wax in the ear to lubricate.


This article is about SKIN AND DERMATITIS