What are Yeast (Candida) Infections?
Yeast infections can affect any and all species. If your dog gets a candida yeast infection, it may start out as a small annoyance but then quickly escalate to a serious condition. If it is on the skin or in the ears, they get and stay moist, have an odor, become sensitive, and sometimes oozy if you touch them. As an owner, it is not pleasant for you or your dog. Treatment is typically straightforward with oral antifungal medication and topical ointments or drops for you to apply to the infected region. If you suspect your dog may have a yeast infection, take him to a veterinarian. Once treatment is started, he should begin to recover and heal. This will increase his chances of a full, easy recovery.
Candida yeast infections in dogs can range from mild to severe. Some dogs are more sensitive and susceptible to the organism than others. If you notice your dog exhibiting unusual behaviors or excessively licking and biting a specific area of his body, have him examined by his veterinarian.
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Symptoms of Yeast (Candida) Infections in Dogs
Symptoms of candida infection in dogs can manifest in a variety of ways. Symptoms may include:
- Yellow, brown, or black buildup of debris in one or both ears
- Excessive shaking of the head
- Excessive scratching of the ears or other places on the body
- Hot spots
- Skin rashes and infections
- Excessive licking of the paws, legs, tail or other places
- Dull or greasy coat
- Doggy odor
- Raised, circular white, sometimes pustule-like masses covered with scabs
These are the typical symptoms you can see with your bare eye. There are other symptoms such as bladder infection, allergies, bowel disorders, and more. The list is very extensive.
There are multiple types of yeast that can cause issues in your dog. Candida is actually a type of fungus that can infect and overgrow in and on your dog. There are different species of candida, but Candida albicans is the most commonly seen. If can affect multiple species of animals and even humans.
Causes of Yeast (Candida) Infections in Dogs
Infection from candida can result from many causes. For example, if your dog’s diet is imbalanced or he is allergic to an ingredient in it, it can lead to yeast overgrowth. Infection can also develop after bouts of stress, can be seasonal, can arise due to immune suppressing medications and environmental factors, and more. Basically, if the environment is right for growth, it will do its best to take over.
Diagnosis of Yeast (Candida) Infections in Dogs
When you take your dog to the veterinarian, she will begin by performing a full physical examination. While you make think the only problem is in his ears, she may find other clues to indicate where else the yeast is affecting his body.
If his ears are full of debris, she will collect a sample of it and perform what is called an ear cytology. She will take the sample, spread a small amount on a microscope slide, stain it with some specific colored staining and look at it under the microscope. If his skin is affected, she will take a skin scraping from him and look at that under the microscope as well. With either sample source, the candida yeast will appear as ovoid shaped budding yeast. The doctor or her technician will be able to identify the yeast and therefore treatment can begin.
Treatment of Yeast (Candida) Infections in Dogs
Depending where the yeast infection is located on your dog will determine the treatment. There are topical medications and oral medications that can treat the overgrowth. Antifungal medications will be administered in order to get the growth under control. There are ointments and drops your veterinarian may send home with you for application on the skin or in the ears. She may also send home an oral medication as well to use in combination with the topical prescription.
The veterinarian will likely want to see you back as soon as you finish the medications to ensure the infection is cleared. If it is not, then she will extend the course of medications or change to different ones that may be more effective.
Recovery of Yeast (Candida) Infections in Dogs
Taking your dog back for a recheck is extremely important. If his infection is not completely gone after he finishes his medications, it will reappear but this time resistant to the medication he was just on. This will cause you to have to return to the veterinarian, do more diagnostic testing and receive more medications. While it may seem inconvenient or unnecessary to do a recheck visit, it will be better for your dog’s health.
If you follow the veterinarian’s instructions and give the medications as directed your dog should recover without a problem. If you do not seek veterinary treatment for your dog or do not follow the veterinarian’s directions appropriately, what started out as a small infection can turn into an extremely severe illness. The sooner you catch it and treat it, the higher your dog’s prognosis of a full recovery.
Yeast (Candida) Infections Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hi, I have a white lab about 8 years old and she has scaby/scaly skin and crusty nipples. She also has goopy ears. we have taken her to the vet and they told us that it wasn’t a yeast infection. What else could it be?
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