Systemic Yeast Infection in Dogs

By Erin Ringwald

According to Natural Dog Health Remedies, yeast infections in dogs are caused by an organism known as Candida albicans, which is both a yeast and a fungus. Although yeast infections are rarely fatal, treatment is necessary to ensure your dog is returned to full health. Knowing all about a systemic yeast infection will help you and your vet make the appropriate treatment decisions for your dog.

Causes

Yeast grows naturally on your dog's digestive tract and normally does not cause any problems. From time to time, certain factors can cause the normally innocuous yeast to grow rampant, causing a systemic yeast infection to develop. A number of factors can cause a systemic yeast infection, including antibiotics and other medications, poor nutrition, problems with the thyroid, or stress. According to Pet Supplies Review, untreated yeast infections can breed other bacterial infections, such as leaky gut syndrome, which can cause your dog to feel generally ill all over.

Symptoms

Symptoms can vary from dog to dog. One common symptom is an irritation to your dog's skin. She may begin to lick her paws or her genital area. She may also rub her nose, throat or face. Often the skin around the creases in her skin can become inflamed and red. Sometimes an odor can be detected as well. Some dogs will develop other bacterial infections at the same time, such as ear or bladder infections. You may also notice your dog becomes lethargic or even depressed. She may also develop bloat or other gastrointestinal problems.

Diagnosis

Diagnosing a systemic yeast infection can be tricky. Often the signs and symptoms of the infection appear very similar to other digestive problems or even an allergy to food. If your vet suspects a possible systemic yeast infection, a sample of your dog's stool can be tested to check for the amount of yeast present. If the infection has moved to your dog's skin, a scraping of the dog's skin will be tested to check for the quantity of yeast there.

Treatment

Depending on your dog's particular situation, your vet may prescribe a number of treatments. A common recommendation is to make changes in your dog's diet. High quality food can help return the natural balance in his digestive tract. Another simple treatment at home is to add 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to your dog's water bowl every day. This helps balance out the pH in his digestive tract, controlling the growth of yeast. Your vet may also prescribe topical medications to treat the external itching and pain.

Prevention

Since the causes of a yeast infection can be caused by some routine changes in your dog's life, there are some things you can do to help prevent it. Antibiotics and other medications can cause an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive tract that normally keep the yeast growth regulated. Be sure to let your vet know about any and all medications your dog is taking. This can help your vet make an informed decision on prescribing more medications. Good nutrition can boost a dog's immune system and should have an adequate balance of proteins and carbohydrates. Your vet can recommend a high quality pet food for your dog. Since stress can cause an imbalance in the digestive tract, avoid highly stressful situations with your dog.