What is Fungal Infection (Yeast)?
Fungal infections in dogs are generally caused by an overgrowth of fungal yeasts. Although fungal yeasts are naturally present in and on the body, certain circumstances can promote overgrowth of these organisms which can disrupt the natural functioning of the body.
Overgrowths of normally benign fungal yeasts can cause disruptions to the natural functioning of the body in the area of the overgrowth.
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Symptoms of Fungal Infection (Yeast) in Dogs
The symptoms of a yeast infection will vary depending on where the overgrowth is located.
Infection of the urinary tract
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Hematuria (blood in urine)
- Inappropriate urination in house trained dogs
- Loss of appetite
- Pain or straining during urination
- Tenderness or pain in the bladder area
Infection of the mouth
- Foul smelling breath
- Pain or discomfort in mouth
- Reluctance to eat
- Thick white coating on tongue
Infection of the skin (includes ears, feet and genital areas)
- Chewing of feet
- Excessive head shaking
- Excessive itching or scratching
- Foul smell from affected areas
- Hair loss or red raw skin
- Oily or scaly patches of skin
- Skin lesions
Candida yeasts are opportunistic pathogens that tend to be concentrated in the digestive system, mouth, rectum and genital areas. A thick whitish coating of Candida fungi in the mouth and tongue area is commonly identified as Thrush, and Candida overgrowth in the genital area is often referred to simply as a “yeast infection”. The Candida yeast can also infect the lower intestine and the urinary tract system.
Malassezia pachydermatis is a fungal yeast that takes up residence in the ear canal and the folds of the ear, in folds of skin, and in between the toes. It is the most common cause of yeast infections in these areas and can cause scaly or smelly build-up on the skin, hair loss and excessive itching in the affected areas.
Causes of Fungal Infection (Yeast) in Dogs
The yeasts that cause these infections are part of the normal flora in the body of the dog as well as on its skin. Many circumstances can promote overgrowth in these organisms which can cause disruptions in the proper functioning of the colonized system. Conditions that may contribute the overgrowth of fungal yeasts can include, but are not limited to:
- Antibiotic use
- Corticosteroid use
- Dietary imbalance
- Genetic predisposition
- Irritated or inflamed skin
- Urinary catheter
- Weakened immune response due to congenital disorder, or acquired disease or disorder
Diagnosis of Fungal Infection (Yeast) in Dogs
In order to make a diagnosis your veterinarian will first ask for a full history of the animal, as well as a general physical exam, taking particular note of any abdominal swelling or pain, as well as any unusual odors or skin abnormalities. A scraping may be taken of the skin if any abnormalities are present and any unusual discharges will be tested. Viewing the samples under a microscope may show evidence of the yeast infection, as well as revealing other possible irritants such as bacteria, viruses, and even mites. A complete blood count, biochemistry profile, and urinalysis would be ordered and cultures may be requested on any samples that were collected. Yeast infections in dogs commonly have an underlying cause, and your veterinarian may also be able to use the information from these tests to determine if that is the case. Depending on where the infection is located and the severity of the symptoms a treatment plan may be put into place even before culture results have been returned.
Treatment of Fungal Infection (Yeast) in Dogs
The treatments for yeast infections in canines can vary widely depending on the placement and severity of the infection, the type of yeast involved, and what underlying causes may be contributing to the overgrowth. Treatment or management of any underlying triggers (such as dietary factors or the use a catheter) will be initiated as soon as feasible, often before the results from the culture have been made available. In some situations, treating the underlying cause is enough to resolve the problem but in many cases, additional steps will need to take place. In the case of fungal infection of the skin, a topical anti-fungal/anti-yeast medication is usually the first recommendation to treat the infestation. Topical medications usually require an application to the area several times a week, if not several times a day. Instructions for topical medications should be read thoroughly and followed carefully to ensure safety and effectiveness. If the yeast infection is in an internal system or if it does not respond to topical antifungal treatments, oral antifungal medications are often prescribed. Both Candida and Malassezia pachydermatis are known to respond to antifungal medications in the azole family, and it is not uncommon for a full course of antifungal treatments to take four to seven weeks to complete.
Recovery of Fungal Infection (Yeast) in Dogs
During the recovery period, it is best to have a comfortable and quiet space available for your companion to recuperate with plenty of access to food and water if they need it. Your pet may be asymptomatic during all or part of their treatment, and do not need to have their activity restricted unless instructed by your veterinarian or other signs of distress are noted. Infections by both varieties of fungus are zoonotic and can be transmitted to humans. The very young, the very old and those with compromised immune responses should avoid contact with the infective yeast to prevent transmission. Both topical and oral antifungal treatments can take several weeks to completely clear up an infection and your veterinarian may request that you bring your pet in for further cultures and testing, both during treatment and after. Although some dogs may require lifelong treatments to manage outbreaks, the overall prognosis is favorable.
Fungal Infection (Yeast) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I have a black lab. He is 8yrs old. He has been at the vet 3 times since June 2017. The vet says he has yeast. She gives steroids and antibiotic for 10 days. When he is finished with that round of medications with in 7 days he has the same symptoms again. So far 3 rounds of the medication and now he has severe hair loss with the fishy smell new symptoms of what looks like sores from neck to tip of noise. Now they look as if the sires have busted and it looks like they are bleeding. Don't know what to do
Re, needs healing on a cellular level. Food, treats, environmental, all factors
I'm am not a vet but I am a nurse. It is my understanding that many times yeast overgrowth is due to a gut issue. Meaning what your feeding your dog may be the underlying issue and result if the yeast. Additionally, antibiotics compound a yeast issue because they destroy all the good bacteria in the gut making it easier for the yeast to thrive further contributing to or causing a "leaky gut" which then creates additional symptoms or worsens the ones that were originally occuring creating this cycle and concurrent use of steroids. Steroids are not good for the immune system they shut it off temporarily meaning they stop the inflammatory process occuring in the body. In this case the cascade of symptoms being set off from the yeast ...they are being suppressed then once the steroids are stopped all the symptoms return because the true problem was not diagnosed and treated.
One thing many people don't realize is the immune system resides in the gut. So if one has a poorly functoning gut they will have one or multiple issues ranging from food intolerances to chronic disease. I recently began caring for a 1 yr puppy and noticed this fishy smell some call it cheese or cheeto smell. In any case she was licking obsessively at her paws, vaginal and anal area along with intense scrating to her ears, hind quarters and then bitting at her paws ultimately causing hairloss to the area and red abraided skin as well as but scooting. I mentioned I am a nurse not a vet so I took the my puppy to the vet they said it was yeast and suggested trying her on antibiotics and steroids and to also have her anal glands expressed. I declined everything but the expression of her anal glands in favor of doing some research on my own before committing her to life revolving around antibiotics ans steroids. Thankfully, I came across a holistic Vet online her name is Dr. Becker I believe her first name is Karen she is a holistic Vet in Chicago who has videos and blogs online. She talks at length about yeast as well as many other pet concerns like anal glands ..and I do regret having them expressed because they can also be related to yeast. With all this being said this is just information every animal and situation is different and how you proceed is up to you. I hope this provides a positive resource for you or someone else.
Dear Coopet, we feel your pain. Experiencing similar issues with our golden ret. mix. After about $1000 dollars worth of tests,including allergy testing, it was decided that she has a systemic yeast infection as a result of allergies to her food - so in her gut everything is bad and was feeding the yeast and making it worse. We finally feel we are on the right track, but frustrated since from the beginning at about 1year old (she's just turning 3), we kept telling everyone her breath was horrible and she had a musty smell. No one treated those symptoms and it was apparently getting worse all that time, until she finally irrupted with skin spots that looked like ringworm but wasn't, it was yeast. It looked like my dog had lichen growing on her, I swear. It happened in about a week and by the time we could get her in to see the vet at the end of the week, it was all over her neck and back.
Our vet is treating with antibiotics and Ketakonazole - steering clear of steriods since we've been down that road with another allergy dog. We are feeding grain free and taken away all other treats, vitamins, oils for coat - everything. Giving 2x weekly antifungal baths. And most important giving her probiotic supplements to build the good gut stuff back int. She is doing much better after only 1 week. Her breath started smelling better already after only the 3rd day on new food, but her coat gets funky by day 3 or 4. The rings and "lichen" are leaving. Still has lots of dry skin patchiness, but it looks better everyday.
I feel like this whole thing started with her "good quality" food that happened to be lamb and rice - but she happens to be allergic to lamb -but we hadn't started with the $500 allergy test - that came later.
We struggled to find a food that actually fits her allergy profile - she's allergic to all the "typical" allergy free foods like lamb and salmon, but is ok with duck. So we found Canine Caviar sells one duck recipe that fits her profile and is grain free.
Definitely stop feeding the yeast and find a grain free option for your baby. It sounds like it has gotten out of control. If you can swing it, do the allergy tests... some folks don't believe it, but it has worked for us. Our first dog presented with "skin allergy" symptoms, so the vet put her on a fish and potato diet. All her fur fell out within a week! After spending the $ on allergy testing we found out she was allergic to both fish and potatoes! They put her on steroids to help, but seemed to make her worse. Found her another variety of food that helped, but couldn't until we knew what she was allergic to.
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My dog has been losing fur and is incredibly dry with yellowish colored scaley patches as well as small scabs from chewing all over. I have tried treatments for fleas, mange, and anti-fungal shampoos among other treatment and nothing seems to do the trick. If I leave the house for a few hours without putting an e-collar on him I will come back to a bloody zombie looking dog because he will just chew and scratch himself the entire time. My Ex-husband abandoned me after getting us behind by months on bills/rent and so until now I haven't been able to do much for my poor boy. From what I have read and pictures of other extreme yeast infections it sounds and looks like it. I am taking him to the vet in a couple weeks to make sure he gets the right treatment when I get paid now that I am in a stable position to do so again but want to see if there is anything I can try before then to give him some relief!
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My friend is feeding her dogs chicken rice and a small amount of Rachel Ray dog food twice a day.Every day. One dog has a fungal infection on all 4 paws. One had a bad yeast infection and is now deaf from it. Going blind as well. The last dog was the worst yet. She has a fungal infection between her liver and gall bladder. Almost died. On IV for 5 days now. Is the white rice causing these issues?
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My dog recently became less active than he normally is. I brought him into the vet on Saturday 12/23 to get him check out. They took an x-ray and found white specks in his lungs. Heart measurements and everything else were normal. She then ran a CBC to check his WBC and that was normal as well. He was eating normally and going to the bathroom regularly prior to starting his meds. Since he started his meds, he won't eat his hard dog food, it's like it hurts his teeth. They didn't do any tests to confirm that it is a fungal infection but yet perscribed him meds for it. I'm concerned as the main side effects of the med are loss of appetite and it can cause severe liver damage. I really don't want to keep giving him this med as it seems to be making him worse. Note: we have no idea how long these specks have been there as he's 6 years old and he will eat soft dog food, still going to the bathroom good too. Help!
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Our Shih Tzu has been treated for ongoing allergies and ear infections (usually yeast-based). We had her allergy-tested. The only thing that showed a reaction at all was yeast. We have her on hydrolized protein dog food which does not contain any of the food-related yeast triggers. Her skin is very pink and itchy. Thinking it was just allergies again, I took her to the vet. We have tried every allergy med, but nothing was working this time. They suggested the cytopoint injection. We did it and it didn't help her at all.They did say she had a yeast ear infection and gave me ear drops. So, I began looking online to figure out what was going on with her skin. It sounds like a classic yeast infection. I'm so upset the vets didn't catch this and gave her an unneeded shot. I saw two different vets while I was trying to figure out her red, itchy skin.I am currently washing her with antifungal shampoo every 3-4 days, giving her the ear drops, and spraying her belly and legs with a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water. I also rinse her at the end of her bath with a mixture of 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar in a quart of water. Please tell me if I'm doing everything I can for our sweet girl. How long before she feels better? I feel so sorry for her. Thank you for your time.
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My dog (labrador) is having too much dandruff, hairfall, itching and very bad smell comes from his body. He has been suffering from this since around 3 months.. i took him to the veternarian many times and they prescribed some medicines and injections. I tried everything but still its not working. Doctors said that he is suffering from fungal infection... I need your advice for my doggy... Please help me, i cant see him in this condition. I want him to cured soon... What should i do now ?
Skin conditions can be difficult to treat, treatment for fungal skin conditions may at times require skin sampling (skin scraping) to determine the best treatment (sensitivity testing) which may include both systemic and topical treatments; ketoconazole and itraconazole are commonly prescribed for fungal cases. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
I am fostering a rescue. U month old cattle dog mix. She came from a hoarder and was HW+. She is now HW- and we are trying to treat what we believe is a terrible fungal Infection on her skin that I assume also eroded her nasal passages. She is taking oral medication along with biweekly medicated baths. Where she has lost hair and left with dark patches has started to peel and erupt with occasional pimples that scab over. Is this due to the fungal roots and lesions dying and the body get to g rid of them or a possible bad reaction to the medication.
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