ISSN 2398-2942      

Therapeutics: fungal and protozoal infection


Synonym(s): Therapeutics: non-bacterial infection


  • The yeast Malassezia pachydermatis is a commensal and opportunistic pathogen of canine skin. It is a common cause of ceruminous otitis externa and seborrheic dermatitis in dogs. Resistance to Malassezia spp appears to be increasing. While antifungal agents still play a key role in managing M pachydermatis, other agents, such as chlorhexidine, are being employed increasingly to avoid selection of antifungal agent-resistant isolates. 
  • Few species of fungus cause infection. Infection can be acquired by inhalation, ingestion, or through the skin (for example, through a cut or wound), most commonly from soil. Some fungi can cause local or generalized infection in otherwise healthy, immunocompetent individuals. Local or generalized infection with other fungi is more common in stressed or immunocompromised individuals (eg poor nutrition, viral infections, immunosuppressive drug therapy, prolonged antibiotic therapy). Antifungal agents play a key role in managing fungal infections in dogs. 
  • Protozoan parasites, including vector-borne infections (eg Leishmaniosis) and intestinal protozoa (eg Giardia, Coccidiosis), are responsible for a number of different diseases in dogs. Some of these diseases have a worldwide distribution and others are of regional importance. Some are zoonotic (eg Leishmaniosis) making disease prevention in dogs key to protecting human health. Canine vector-borne disease can be prevented by consistent use of insecticides and acaricides as part of limiting exposure to ticks and other arthropod vectors and vaccination (eg for Leishmaniosis). Accurate, prompt diagnosis and appropriate, appropriate management measures (eg hygiene) and specific treatment and are critical to managing protozoan parasitic diseases in dogs.  

Yeast and fungal infections

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Antifungal agents

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Protozoal infections

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Antiprotozoal agents

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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
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  • Bond R, Morris D O, Guillot J, Bensignor E J, Robson D, Mason K V, Kano R, Hill P B (2020) Biology, diagnosis and treatment of Malassezia dermatitis in dogs and cats - Clinical consensus guidelines of the World Association for Veterinary Dermatology. Vet Dermatol 31, 28-74 PubMed
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