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Tackling Skin Problems

As a groomer I've come across many dogs with skin problems. Some serious, some not so.. My previous dog of 15 years a shi tzu; also suffered from persistent skin problems. We brought him countless times to the vets and spent thousands, trying to get him cured or at least try to make it better for him somehow. But still, nothing seems to be helping and he kind of passed away that way. Then I did not know yeast/ bacteria infection are rampant in animals, especially those that are residing in tropical countries; Singapore unfortunately being one of such.

There are various causes of skin problems. Some might be caused by an allergic reaction to food or environment. More often than not, the case of younger and older animals their weak immune system makes them more susceptible to fungal and bacteria infections. Coupled with Singapore's humid weather, it became the perfect breeding ground for fungal, yeast and bacteria. Fungal infections such as ringworm are zoonotic (can transmit from animals to humans) so proper maintenance and prevention is often crucial.

Symptoms of Yeast Infection

• Evidence of extreme skin itchiness

• Scratching, chewing, biting, licking and rubbing frantically at the skin which can lead to weeping sores on and around the ears, face, neck, tail base, armpits and elsewhere

• Skin irritation, redness and inflammation, especially in and around the ears, between the paw pads and toes, facial or other skin folds, around the anal area, under the armpits and on the neck

• Ear infection (severe; usually with a smelly discharge)

• Hair loss or greasy hair coat (sometimes, so much oil is produced that the dog leaves oily patches on its bedding or furniture)

• Foul-smelling, raised, crusty and Scaly rancid skin (often overwhelmingly offensive)

• Dark (hyperpigmented), thickened skin; described as elephant-like; lichenification; indicates a chronic or long-standing condition

• Behavioural changes associated with pruritis and pain, such as:

◦ Depression

◦ Loss of appetite (inappetence; anorexia)

◦ Weight loss

◦ Anxiety

◦ Aggression


Fortunately, yeast infections in dogs usually are not hard to treat. The goals of treating yeast infection are to eliminate yeast overgrowth, relieve the animal's itchiness and other symptoms of discomfort, identify and treat any predisposing conditions, resolve the accompanying skin scaling, greasiness and foul odour, eliminate or at least manage secondary bacterial, viral or fungal infections, and reduce the risk of recurrence.

There are a number of available treatments that vets usually recommends. In most cases, the vet will recommend application of tropical anti-seborrheic, antibiotic, anti-fungal and/or anti-yeast medications. These comes in a variety of formulations ie; medicated shampoos, solutions, creams, sprays, wipes etc. Most tropical medications are to be applied directly onto the affected area for a certain period of time. In cases of serious yeast infections or that the animal do not respond well to tropical treatments, oral medications are prescribed and the treatment usually lasts for a few weeks.


The prognosis for dogs with yeast infections is generally quite good. Some dogs will require periodic lifelong treatments to manage outbreaks. A veterinarian is the best person to provide advice as to the appropriate treatment options for any particular pet.

What can you do as a pet owner

  • Dry your pet throughly after every bath to reduce the possibility of creating a habitat for fungal growth

  • Have your pet groomed frequently as it helps maintain healthy coat and skin

  • Use a good pet shampoo; maintains skin PH, hygiene, promote a healthy coat. (Activex Spa Clay shampoo is a 3 in 1 shampoo that helps moisturise, conditions and maintain a healthy coat and skin)

  • If owners see any red spots, loss of fur or your pet has been frequently scratching at a particular spot please seek professional opinion as soon as possible.

Until Next time...


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