Yeast / Candida

What is Yeast?

Yeast or candida is part of a dogs normal healthy gut flora. When the immune system is compromised, it is opportunistic and can grow, overtake the body and develop into an overgrowth or “yeast infection”. Some vets may refer to it as a fungal infection.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms of a yeast infection are itching, yeasty smell (some say like off corn chips or a really doggy smell), greasy coat, sweaty/clammy feeling skin, dandruff, over a longer period of time the pigmentation of the skin can darken and thicken and there may be hair loss. The yeast builds in layers on the skin and the dandruff you may have noticed is ‘shedding’ or ‘die off’ of the yeasty skin cells.

Why does it happen?

A yeast infection can be a secondary symptom of a primary environmental allergy or food intolerance. The dog can be scratching and immune system lowered from that primary allergy, taking lots of immune supressing drugs and gut health disrupting medications which makes them vulnerable to a secondary yeast infection.

It can happen following antibiotic use that is not followed up with probiotics.

If your dogs immune system is stressed for other reasons such as stress, a yeast infection can take a hold.

What does it like?

Yeast loves hot and humid climates. Its food source is carbohydrates, starches and sugar (aka dry food/kibble, pasta, rice etc.) If you’re feeding kibble, you’re feeding that yeast very well! All kibble, whether grain-free or not, cheap or expensive is minimum 50-60% carbohydrates! The canine carbohydrate requirement is zero. The biological diet of the dog before we came along and began cohabiting together was less than 4% carbohydrate,   which came from plant matter not highly processed biscuits.

How do I tell if my dog has a yeast infection?

Aside from obvious signs and symptoms, the only way to determine if your dog has a yeast overgrowth is cytology by a vet. Cytology is a non-invasive test where the vet will take sticky tape to several different areas of the skin and look at the skin cells stuck to the tape under a microscope to see if there yeast is present and/or bacterial skin infection.

Why does conventional veterinary treatment not work?

Conventional veterinary treatment focuses on topical treatment with a harsh medicated shampoo and supressing the symptoms of infection with pharmaceutical drugs. This is a band-aid, reducing but not stopping the symptoms rather than tackling the cause and targeting the source – in the gut. Some dogs sadly end up on long term drugs and have secondary side effects. This approach, will also drain your bank account or pet insurance claims. 

Treatment

Treatment requires both internal and topical treatment. There’s no silver bullet. This can take weeks or months to turn around. Diligence and patience is required depending how severe or for how long your dog has had a yeast infection.

Internal

To target the yeast at its source (in the gut) we need to add Yeast Cleanse daily in with their food.

Eliminate or reduce carbohydrates and starchy foods from the diet and feed a commercially available pre-made or animal nutritionist formulated home diet of fresh whole foods nutritionally balanced for the life stage of your dog. If feeding 100% fresh is not possible for you, cut back fry food as much as you can, remove all rice/pasta, bread, potato etc and feed as much fresh food as you can.

Add some virgin coconut oil to the food which is anti-fungal. Approx ½ teaspoon per 5kg bodyweight per day should suffice.

Topical

Do not use shampoo’s containing oatmeal as this will feed the yeast.

You could continue to use a medicated shampoo like Mediderm or Malaseb if you already have one.

Our preferred option is ACV baths. Dilute unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother) 1 part vinegar to 1 part filtered water. Wet dog with luke-warm water and scrub skin with a new homebrand flat dish sponge. Concentrate on the more yeasty areas like armpits, groin, neck jowls, stomach etc., then rinse. 

If your dog has yeasty paws, you can stand them in a shallow bath of the mixture in an old ice cream tub or kitty litter tray for a few minutes and give your dog some treats or a lickimat.

You don’t need to use shampoo as well as this solution. It cleans very well without lathering, balances the skins pH level and takes away the yeasty smell. We recommend doing this bath once a week until symptoms improve.

You can add a cup of brewed and cooled chamomile or green tea (no sugar) to the solution for extra soothing.

You can make up this mixture and store in a glass jar or spray bottle for daily application. 

You could alternate between ACV baths and medicated shampoo baths if you wish.

For more convenient topical relief from itching you can use Dermal Scratch Spray which contains aloe vera, vitamin E and Calendula which is excellent for soothing and cooling hot and inflamed skin.

Safe to lick, you can apply this all day as required. Apply to your hands and massage onto skin if your dog dislikes sprays.

Ears

It is common for the ears to be infected also. Natural Animal Solutions Ear Clear works a treat!

Prevention

Feed a nutritionally balanced pre-made or formulated fresh whole food diet or drastically reduce kibble and feed as much fresh whole foods as you can. We can help you in-store with this if you’re Darwin based.

Use a dog specific multi-strain probiotic from time to time and always following antibiotics. If your dog is put on long term or repeated antibiotic courses, you can use SB during the antibiotic use.

*If your dogs yeast infection is a secondary system of a primary environmental allergy or food intolerance, you will need to work with a holistic/integrative veterinarian or a qualified animal naturopath to work on identifying and treating/managing the primary problem in order to keep yeast at bay.

We also have a Yeasty Dog Bundle which contains everything you need to get started on kicking that yeast to the kerb! 

 

 

 

*Information contained here should not be substituted for advice from a veterinarian or registered animal health care practitioner. The examination, diagnosis and treatment of animals should always be made in consultation with a veterinarian.