Yeast Infection in dogs is not exactly rare. A dog may suffer from this skin condition any time of the year, but it is more common during summer.
Believe it or not, a yeast infection is likely caused by an underactive immune system. Whether in dogs or humans, there is something we call the immune system spectrum. This spectrum is a scale in which the likeliness of the body to fight off viruses, bacteria, and “body invaders” is measured. Most people assume that for an individual to be healthy, the immune system should be at its peak – but that actually creates a problem. See when the immune system is overactive, the body may attack even harmless “invaders” and trigger allergic reactions – and these allergic reactions can lead to yeast infections as well.
Steroids, Antibiotics and Role in Yeast Infection in Dogs
When the yeast infection is triggered by allergies, veterinarians often use steroids to deal with the problem, but there is a downside to that.
Corticosteroids reduce the immune response, decreasing the inflammation and itch. Corticosteroids also reduce the body’s immune system activity and thus can make it underactive. In this case, your Labrador’s body may not be able to regulate itself, making it struggle to balance its normal flora levels. This makes your Labrador, once again, prone to developing yeast overgrowth.
Dogs with yeast infection may also battle bacterial infections, so depending on how bad the infection is, the vet may try to fix the issue by prescribing antibiotics. Antibiotics kill bacteria – both the good and the bad. The decrease of good bacteria in the skin can also lead to the decrease of healthy yeast levels – worsening the dog’s skin condition.
Dogs Can Be Allergic to Their Own Yeast
Believe it or not, dogs can develop allergies to their own yeast. When a dog has this condition, his lifestyle will be affected greatly, and he will need complicated treatment. When a dog is allergic to his own yeast, he will be red from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. Intradermal tests are done to verify this kind of allergy.
Signs of Yeast Infection in Dogs
Funky “Corny” Smell
Yeast has a distinct smell, and you can easily recognize it. Dog yeast may smell like cheese, popcorn, corn chips, moldy bread or something like that. The smell is most obvious at the feet. In fact, the term “Frito Feet” was coined because dog feet often smell like Fritos.
Excessive Scratching and Licking
When you see your Labrador excessively licking his paws – often until they are raw – there is a big chance that there is yeast overgrowth in between the digits. If your Labrador is feeling extremely itchy and has a yeasty smell, he may likely have yeast overgrowth.
Yeast infection can also be present in the ears and groin area. So if your Lab keeps on scratching his head and ears, and is excessively licking his groin and armpit area, he may have yeast overgrowth in those parts.
The best way to determine whether your Labrador has a yeast infection or not is to have him checked by a veterinarian. The vet will do a skin scrape test to get samples and examine it under the microscope. The vet may also try to culture the sample in a Petri dish.
Dealing with Yeast Infection in Dogs
Change the Diet
Yeasts feed on sugar. No, not the white sweet stuff we put in our coffee. Yeasts feed on dietary sugar, which broken down from carbohydrates. This means that to cut the supply of these sugar, you will need to lessen the amount of carbohydrates you feed your Labrador. Check the label of the dog food you plan to buy for your Lab. Also, it is a good idea to ditch dog foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, white potatoes, honey, and sweet potatoes. Dogs who suffer from severe yeast infection will need an entirely sugar-free diet.
Put ‘Anti-Fungal’ Ingredients in Your Lab’s Food
Changing your Labrador’s food and diet is important in getting rid of yeast infection.But aside that, you may also try mixing some anti-fungal ingredients into his or her food. Apple Cider Vinegar, oregano, garlic, and Brewer’s yeast are known to be effective in fighting off fungi and yeast.
Dealing with Yeast Infection in Specific Parts of the Body
Yeast infection is more commonly found in the ears, groin area, in between the paws and skin folds. This is because they thrive in areas with where there is moisture and less air circulation.
Yeast Infection in the Ears
Since Labradors’ ears are floppy, their ears are prone to developing a yeast infection. If your Labrador has a yeast infection in the ears, then your veterinarian may prescribe medicated ointment or otic drops that are made specifically to battle yeast. Just make sure to clean your Labrador’s ears before using the ointment or drops.
Once the ears get better, it is important to clean your Lab’s ears regularly and dry them – especially after a bath, swimming, or simply after getting wet.
Yeast Infection in the Paws
Mix a cup of Hydrogen Peroxide, 1 cup to 4 cups of White Vinegar, and a gallon of water. Pour the mixture into a tub and soak your Labrador’s paws in it for at least five minutes. Pat the paws dry especially in between the digits. Do this twice a day.
Yeast Infection in the Skin
If the skin infection is more generalized, then treatment will include a change in diet, giving supplements, medication, and bathing with special shampoo.Bathe your Lab with an anti-fungal shampoo 1 to 3 times per week. Don’t use an oatmeal-based dog shampoo; opt for shampoo with tea tree oil instead.
After bathing your Labrador with medicated shampoo, use an anti-yeast rinse.To make one, mix a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water. Pour the mixture over your Labrador and rub it on the yeast-prone parts like the armpits and groin folds. Never forget to dry your Lab.
Recurrent Yeast Infection in Dogs
Some dogs get yeast infection only in the summer. However, there are unfortunate ones who develop the infection all year long.The best way to battle the infection is an overall change in lifestyle under the guidance of the veterinarian.