What are Thrush Treatments?

Thrush is a term used to describe a yeast or candida infection in your dog. All animals, including dogs, have naturally occurring yeasts on and in their body. This is usually not problematic, but when yeast overgrows in an area of your dog's body, a yeast infections or thrush occurs. This can happen due to chemical imbalances in or on your dog's body due to dietary or environmental factors, immune system disorder, or exposure to aggressive yeast growths. Thrush manifests on your dog's skin surface as sore, itchy, smelly, skin patches, usually with hair loss. Skin can become inflamed and secondary infections can occur. Thrush in the mucous membranes of your dog cause itching and inflammation and may result in exudate being produced. Gastrointestinal thrush infections will result in GI tract symptoms such as diarrhea. Your veterinarian can recommend several products and procedures that will return yeast populations to normal levels and remove detrimental thrush conditions in your dog.

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Thrush Treatments Procedure in Dogs

Your veterinarian will want to confirm the type of yeast causing infection and rule out other disorders that may be causing or contributing to thrush infection. A skin biopsy, ear swab and urine sample may be taken and sent for analysis to confirm the presence of yeast overgrowth and identify the organism or organisms present. 

Once thrush has been confirmed, several treatment options can be prescribed or administered by your veterinarian. Often a combination of treatment is most effective to combat thrush infection. Treatments available include:

  • Antibiotics, if secondary infection is present. Antibiotics are avoided where fungal infections are present as they can contribute to yeast overgrowth, however if bacterial infections is present they may be necessary.
  • Oral, systemic medications that provide antifungal therapy. Common medications include ketoconazole,terbinafine, itraconazole and fluconazole.
  • Antifungal creams can be used topically on your dog's skin where fungal infections are present. Gloves should be worn to prevent spread if contagious fungal infections are suspected. Antifungal creams soothe irritation symptoms and kill fungal infection. Common antifungal creams contain medications such as clotrimazole, econazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole, and miconazole.
  • Baths with medicated shampoos to counteract oily skin may contain sulfide, or benzoyl peroxide, and may be part of the strategy to combat thrush in your dog. This can be followed up with an anti-fungal shampoo containing chlorhexidine, miconazole or ketoconazole. These antifungal shampoos must remain on the skin for at least 10 minutes in order to be effective and will require repeating every few days for several weeks.

Efficacy of Thrush Treatments in Dogs

Thrush is a commonly occurring condition and many medications and treatment have been developed to treat it in dogs. A combination of treatments is usually most effective against thrush. Yeast infections do commonly recur and multiple treatments may be required. Depending on the yeast organism present, and your dog's immune system, different treatments may be more or less effective, and several treatments may need to be attempted to determine which is most effective for your dog.

Thrush Treatments Recovery in Dogs

Oral medications should be administered as directed. Watch for side effects and report them to your veterinarian if they occur. Topical treatments and shampoos and dips may need to be continued or repeated several times. Take precautions to prevent thrush from being spread to yourself or other animals in the household by using gloves or isolating the infected dog. A change in diet to support immune system functioning with limited carbohydrates, high protein, and no additives or preservative may be helpful in recovery.

Cost of Thrush Treatments in Dogs

The cost of thrush treatments including medications, anti-yeast products, and veterinary consultation, varies depending on the extent of thrush infection and the response of your dog to treatment. The cost of treating thrush in your dog can range from $100 to $500 or more.

Dog Thrush Treatments Considerations

Besides gastrointestinal symptoms, toxicity and liver compromise can occur with antifungal medication, especially if administered long-term. Many medications are not appropriate for pregnant or lactating dogs and your veterinarian should be informed if this is a factor.

Thrush Treatments Prevention in Dogs

A diet that supports immune system functioning may reduce or prevent thrush development in your dog. Addressing skin disorders as soon as they occur, before they become widespread, may help make thrush treatment easier and will limit complications such as secondary bacterial infections. Keep your dog’s bedding and environment clean with frequent washing and vacuuming. Limiting parasites and allergens that may affect your dog’s immune system and make them more susceptible to thrush may be helpful.