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Malassezia is a type of fungi, further classified as a yeast, which lives on the skin of many species including canines. It usually affects warm moist areas of the body such as the underarms, in between toes, the groin, around the muzzle and inside the ears. Studies have shown that Bassets, amongst other breeds, are prone to this skin infection. Puppies and older dogs and those with lowered immune systems seem to suffer with this condition more than others. Due to the Basset's very deep ear canals, it most commonly starts in the ear. If the infection spreads to other areas of the body, the dog will bite and scratch at the affected areas often causing more damage than the actual infection itself. Hair loss, sore red patches, and a change in the pigment and thickness of the skin can occur.

Malassezia is often diagnosed using a scraping of the skin to examine under the microscope. Your Vet will carry out this procedure and advise you of the appropriate treatment. These treatments can include shampoo's (Malaseb) and other topical preparations. You may be advised to use an ear solution to clean the infection out of the dogs ears. Should the infection be very severe, oral anti fungal drugs may be required.

Obviously, Malassezia is very unpleasant for the animal, and should be prevented. Check your dogs skin on a daily basis and note any changes. It is also important in the Basset to maintain clean ears to prevent any kind of yeast overgrowth from occurring. For this reason, most Basset owners will clean out their dogs ears every 2-3 days. It is a good idea to purchase a good quality ear cleaner, as it will maintain the correct pH in the ear, inhibiting the growth of yeast. If such prevention is not keeping the skin infection at bay, you should see a Vet immediately, as of course, you want the correct treatment for your pet.

Many thanks to Veterinairy Nurse Claire Tomkinson for writing this page.

More information on this and many other conditions can be found at the Canine Inherited Disorder Database

A Photo of one of the Hounds

A Photo of one of the Hounds

A Photo of Jon with 3 of the Hounds

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