We often find a dog scratching itself furiously and think nothing about it – to us it is a normal since we know of the many dogs that have never been given a wash and how easily they can be a prey for ticks and other parasites. But if your beloved pet were to scratch itself as furiously, even after having been cleaned and washed repeatedly and being checked for ticks periodically, you may have to think twice. Your dog could be suffering from yeast infection, a condition that forces a dog to scratch some parts of his body so much as to get bloody rashes and lesions. The worst part of the deal is that the infection is not just confined to the skin of the dog’s body – it can travel deeper and cause problems of the gastrointestinal tract too. Read on to know more about canine yeast infection.
What Causes Yeast Infection in Dogs
As we all know, Yeast are fungal microbes that are present on the skin of animals and even human beings. Yeast infection in dogs is more commonly caused by malassezia pachydermatis and candida albicans. Malassezia pachydermatis yeast are normally found in the skin and ear canal of dogs. They can also be found in places like the rectum, anal sac, and vagina, but as mentioned already, they do not cause any health problem, if the immune system is healthy enough to control their population. On the other hand, candida albicans are primarily found in the digestive tract of the dogs. Certain breeds of dogs like silky, Australian, and maltese have been found to show an increased vulnerability to malassezia infection.
Yeast Infection in dogs is of two kinds – Primary and secondary.
- Primary infection – Happens when the yeast, that cause the infection, attack the body of the dog and the immune system of the dog is not strong enough to counter them. The yeast infection is caused by contaminated items or other dogs.
- Secondary infection – Results from penetration of yeast into skin that is damaged by scratching or injuries. Thus, constantly scratching dogs are prone to yeast infections!
- Skin rashes can be the result of external or internal parasites. So, keep your dog parasite free to prevent yeast infection.
- Frequently bathing the dog dries out the natural oils in the dog skin and stimulates steady scratching, this creates yeast infection.
- Poor nutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiency leads to skin rashes and resulting yeast infection.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
- Dogs suffering from yeast infection will scratch these parts of their bodies excessively – the neck, ears, belly and feet. These areas are the ones most affected by yeast infection.
- Excessive drooling is another symptom that is telltale.
- All the scratching will cause scaling and lesions, which will be red and blotchy and will emit an offensive odour .
- Internal symptoms include gastrointestinal problems, bloating and inflammation of the bladder
Yeast infection in dogs can be treated with the use of both topical as well oral medications. If a small area is affected by this infection, then application of topical ointments cream can provide relief. Shampoos that contain benzoyl peroxide can be used for cleaning the infected areas of the skin. Otherwise, you can use acetic acid wipes for this purpose. You can also mix some vinegar with water to give your dog a bath. Ear infections can be treated with topical ointments like clotrimazole. Along with these medicines, it is also important to clean the ears properly, and for this, acetic and boric acid can be used. However, if the infection is of a severe nature you will need oral medications like ketoconazole or itraconazole. Oral medications may be required to be continued for several weeks to cure yeast infection in dogs. But these medications can have several side effects and hence should be administered only under the supervision of a veterinarian.