Pet Care Resources Malassezia Dermatitis


Malassezia Dermatitis

Malassezia dermatitis is an infection of the skin caused by a yeast named Malassezia pachydermitis. This is a common yeast that is normally found in small amounts on the skin of dogs and cats.

In animals with allergies, hormonal diseases, scaling disorders or in those pets that have been treated with steroids, the yeast increase in number and the pet may develop Malassezia dermatitis. West Highland white terriers, Basset Hounds, American Cocker Spaniels, Shih Tzus, English Setters, Springer Spaniels, and Dachshunds are more susceptible. The yeast is not contagious. Yeast consumption plays no role.

Clinical signs

These include itching, reddened skin, a yellow, greasy, crust on the skin, a brown/gray waxy discharge from the ears, shaking the head, and a rancid or yeasty odor coming from the skin or ears.


This involves using topical therapeutics such as shampoos, conditioners, and ear drops in combination with oral medication. Topical therapeutics will almost always be necessary to help prevent recurrence of Malassezia dermatitis.

By Lauren R. Pinchbeck DVM, MS, DACVD |
January 24, 2022