What Is an External Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection in your dog is caused by an abundance of the Malassezia strain of yeast, this type of yeast isn’t usually a problem, and is always present on your four-legged friend in small quantities – on the skin, paws, and within the ear.
Infection occurs when the yeast begins to reproduce uncontrollably and grows to an unmanageable amount.
Then, rather than happily coexisting with your pooch, the yeast attempts to gain a foothold and conquer one – or all of the areas that it spreads to.
A yeast infection is an incredibly common problem in canines, and while it’s most likely to occur in hot and humid environments, it can also be a problem in cold and dry regions.
Ordinarily, on a healthy dog’s skin – the yeast that is present won’t grow to such an extent that it causes a problem.
Allergies, autoimmune conditions, and hormone imbalance are all known to be common factors in the overpopulation of yeast which causes dermatitis, or inflammation.
What Is An Internal Yeast Infection?
The Candida Albicans variety of yeast is ordinarily found living on the mucous membranes of your dog’s digestive tract; these yeast organisms survive in the dog’s body by feeding off of sugar and fat that enters the digestive system.
In small quantities, the yeast doesn’t have a detrimental impact on your dog’s health, and your dog’s body will be able to destroy this yeast easily by itself.
In a dog with an already weak immune system, the yeast is able to reproduce at an astounding rate and can cause a tremendous amount of harm, including stopping the immune system from functioning at a normal level.
The problem with this is that your dog is then vulnerable to a whole host of issues when his immune system isn’t working at full capacity, and as well as not being able to protect against potential illness – the body can’t fight off the yeast infection either.
Weak Immune System
You may be wondering what causes your dog’s immune system to become weakened, causing the yeast infection to occur in the first place.
This can be caused by a multitude of reasons, the most common of which are:
- Food Allergies
- Autoimmune Conditions
- Hormonal Imbalance
Who Can Suffer
All dogs are capable of contracting a yeast infection, with those living in warmer and more humid environments at the highest risk, especially when it comes to yeast infections of the skin, paws, and ears.
Internal yeast infections are affected by allergies.
However – they can also mimic and exasperate food allergy symptoms, so it’s difficult to diagnose a food allergy until the yeast infection has been successfully treated.
Certain breeds have been known to be more prone to developing an abundance of yeast, they include:
- Basset Hounds
- Cocker Spaniels
- German Shepherds
- Shar Pei
- Shih Tzu
- West Highland Whites
The first sign of a yeast infection is scratching and biting at the skin; this symptom is valid for both internal and external variables of this condition.
As a yeast infection interrupts the immune system, other symptoms are varied and extreme in some cases, including:
- Musty Smell
- Food Allergies
- Hot Spots
- Hair Loss
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Chronic Infections
- Bloating and Flatulence
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Abnormal Discharges
- Stiffness and Joint Pain
- Hypoglycemic Reactions
Yeast infections are no fun, for you, but most of all – for your poor pooch.
You’ve all heard the phrase, prevention is better than a cure – and so let’s take a look at some of the best ways to avoid this uncomfortable ailment from creeping up on your pup in the first place.
Keeping your dog’s immune system healthy and able to fight off the yeast bacteria is the best thing that you can do.
Yeast bacteria feed off of carbs, starch, and sugar – so try to avoid feeding too much of these macronutrients.
If your dog has an ongoing underlying condition that affects his immune system, you can still help him to defend against this problem by feeding a good quality probiotic as part of his daily diet.
Many dog owners, and for that matter – humans suffering from yeast infections; underestimate how much help a probiotic can do for the body.
It works, try it.
Especially important for dog owners living in humid and hot climates, giving your dog a weekly bath with an anti-fungal shampoo can help restore the balance of his skin.
While it is necessary not to over-bathe, don’t be tricked into thinking that avoiding bathing is the right choice for your dog.
If you notice that your dog is developing dry skin or a dull coat – then you can ease up on the bathing routine, otherwise – you’re good to go!
In the summer, it’s great fun taking your pooch out to the lake, or to the beach for some fun in the sun.
And what dog doesn’t love a game of fetch in the cooling water?!
But after such a fun day, make sure to rinse off all of that dirty water, and give him a good pat dry, otherwise; you’re providing the perfect environment for yeast to grow exponentially.
In the majority of yeast infection cases of the skin, there is some damage to the skin which weakens the body’s natural defenses.
When sores are present, or the skin has cracked – it only creates a better environment for yeast to thrive.
Keeping the skin healthy by frequently washing, using natural hygiene products, and grooming regularly to ensure a good blood flow!
Avoid Human Food
When your dog gives you those big puppy dog eyes at the table, you can be tempted to toss him a few scraps here and there, but this is one of those instances where you’ve got to be cruel to be kind.
Starch and sugar are the ultimate fuel for yeast, and cutting these out – or feeding limited amounts will significantly decrease your dog’s risk of developing a yeast infection.
There are a few different types of treatment, depending on the area that the yeast infection effects, these treatments include:
The first plan of action is a bath with a robust anti-fungal shampoo.
Your vet may send you home with this or do this at the clinic.
Salves and Ointments
Some creams and lotions can be applied to affected areas to kill the yeast, but, be careful – dead yeast makes an excellent place for new yeast cells to thrive, so if you do use this as a temporary solution – be sure to wash your dog thoroughly afterward.
Oral Systemic Antifungal Medications
Different types of oral medication can be prescribed depending on the specific circumstances, and your dog’s medical history.
Veterinarians will try to treat without using oral medication where possible, but for canines with delicate immune systems – this can be a better option to deal with the yeast infection quickly.
As soon as you suspect that your dog may be suffering from a yeast infection, it’s important to take them to your veterinarian for treatment immediately.
This condition affects the entire immune system, and leaves your dog open to developing several maladies, so by foregoing treatment for too long; it will not only make for a very unwell dog but a much greater vet bill for you!