One of the most frustrating conditions for dogs and their guardians

CAUSES:

  • A yeast infection in a dog occurs when there is an overgrowth of yeast, a type of fungus that is naturally present in the skin. The two species of yeast that can be a significant problem for your dog are Candida albicans and Malassezia.
  • Friendly Gut Bacteria are one of the controlling factors in a healthy dog. What starts the entire gut imbalance is decline or destruction of those colonies, leaving an opening for Yeast to overgrow
  • When there is yeast overgrowth, inflammation occurs causing the space between the cells lining intestines to widen thus allowing yeast to exit the digestive tract and enter your dog’s bloodstream.

Causes of yeast overgrowth include:

  • A compromised immune system-this may be due to genetic predisposition, poor diet, over-vaccination, overuse of antibiotics, flea and tick chemicals, overuse of steroids.
  • Allergies (food, environmental i.e. mold, dust, leaves, grass, cleaning products, etc)
  • A diet high in carbohydrates and sugar
  • Poor hygiene
  • Trapped moisture in skin folds
  • Heavy metalsyeast has a special affinity for heavy metals, especially mercury. Heavy metals can get into your dog in several ways including vaccinations, industrial waste, pesticides, poor quality water, fish, poor quality pet foods

The breeds that seem to be predisposed include:

Australian terriers, Basset Hounds, Shelties, French Bulldogs, Poodles, Lhasa Apsos, Cocker Spaniels, Bulldogs, Westies, and German Shepherds. French Bulldogs, Shepherds and Frenchies have been the most difficult to treat, in my experience.

SYMPTOMS

  • The odor from the skin is often the most obvious to canine guardians
  • Raised scaly patches of reddened, darkened or thickened skin.
  • Flaky or crusty skin (particularly around your dog’s nails, between the toes, skin folds, armpits and rectal area)
  • Greasy coat
  • Hair loss
  • Yellow, odorous discharge from the ear. Chronic ear infections.
  • Behavior changes caused by the itching and pain, including depression, loss of appetite, anxiety and even aggression.
  • Intense itchiness resulting in incessant scratching and licking.
  • Recurrent bladder infections
  • Anal sac infections and inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, vomiting, and diarrhea

DIAGNOSIS:

  • Your vet can determine whether your dog has yeast by cytology (looking at a skin swab under the microscope).
  • Secondary skin infection can be ruled out by cytology and/or culture.
  • A skin scraping should be done to rule out underlying demodex (mites). Cases complicated by demodectic mange usually have an immune system issue.

TREATMENT

  • The Most Important Treatment Is DIET. The first step to stop yeast infections is to stop feeding it. If you remove carbs and sugar from your dog’s diet, you can start to starve the yeast. Carbs are complex chains that are composed of sugar molecules. Therefore, when your pet consumes carbohydrates, it is broken down into sugar that feeds the yeast.
  • Limit dog foods that contain millet, oat, rice, peas, corn, wheat, and potatoes. This is why a RAW DIET is best for yeast infection in dogs. It doesn’t have the large amount of carbohydrate that commercial foods contain. I have been able to control most yeast infections with a novel protein (a protein you haven’t fed before), raw diet.
  • PROBIOTICS are important to improve gut health which is of supreme importance when fighting yeast infections. Here are some probiotics that I recommend: DogsNaturally Protect, Adored Beast Lovebugs, Mercola complete dog and cat probiotic.
  • PREBIOTICS-prebiotics are a critical part of your dog’s fight against yeast. Many probiotics come with a prebiotic already added. Here are some food-based prebiotics you can add to your dog’s diet: Dandelion root, Burdock root, Chlorella (also detoxes from mercury).

  • OMEGA 3 Fatty acid supplements- Fatty acids are beneficial in reducing inflammation and thus, can help relieve itching and redness that occurs as a result of yeast infections. They also can improve the natural barrier of the skin which prevents future infections and improves coat quality. Brands I recommend include: Fera Pet Organics Algal oil, adored beast algae oil, Dog’s naturally green-lipped mussel oil, and nordic naturals. Check out my blog here for more information on choosing the right omega 3 supplement https://drloudon.com/pet-health/the-best-way-to-provide-your-dog-with-omega-3s/
  • Add FIBER in the form of psyllium husk. The soluble fiber and mucilage act to bulk stool and regulate bowel movement. Candida feeds on partially digested sugar and carbohydrate molecules in the intestines therefore, it is important to have regular and complete bowel movements. Dose: ½ -1 tspn per 20 lbs body weight
  • Add natural ANTIFUNGAL FOODS to the diet such as small amounts of fresh garlic (¼ clove per 10-20 lbs body weight),8 thyme, parsley, and oregano to help reduce the level of yeast naturally.
  • HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS
  • PAU D’ARCO is rich in lapachol, which kills yeast.
    • 100 mg for extra small dogs
    • 200 mg for small dogs
    • 300 mg for medium dogs
    • 400 mg for large dogs
    • 500 mg for extra large dogs
  • Olive leaf –contains oleuropein, a potent antifungal natural extract that can also help some dogs suffer with year-round yeast problems no matter what food they’re eating or remedies that are used to manage their condition.
  • Caprylic acid (found in MCT oil), has anti-Malassezia properties that are believed to break down the cell membrane of yeast. MCT oil can cause diarrhea in your dog if given too much. Start slowly and work your way up such as a quarter tsp for large and medium sized dogs.
  • Berberine (the active component in goldenseal, barberry and Oregon grape root). A 2016 study found berberine kills yeast directly but can also be used with antifungal drugs to enhance their effects
  • Serious infections sometimes require oral antifungals such as ketoconazole or fluconazole for 21 days to get the yeast infection under control while changing the diet and starting other remedies. Bloodwork should be done prior to starting these medications.
  • Avoid the use of toxic flea and tick products
  • Use natural cleaners in the home and avoid harsh chemical cleaners.

TOPICALS

  • Regular shampooing– shampoo your dog at least 2x weekly leaving the shampoo on for 10 minutes before rinsing well. Recommended shampoos
  • Natural topical rinses
    • Apple cider vinegar: Vinegar may create an acidic environment so that the yeast cannot grow easily when it is applied topically. You can use a solution of one part apple cider vinegar to three parts water to wipe an affected area. This solution should not be used near the eyes or genital area. Do not apply to open wounds as it will burn
    • Green tea ½ cup, 10 drops lavender oil, and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar-place in a spray bottle and spray the affected areas or pour over your dog’s coat after the bath. Do not rinse off.
    • Povidone Iodine diluted with water is also very effective but will likely stain your dog’s coat. This is great for foot soaks.
  • Drying Powders

It is helpful to remove excess moisture from moist, yeasty areas of the skin. Grapefruit Seed Extract Powder and French Green Clay both have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, as well as absorbing moisture from affected areas.

  • Topical Creams

Colloidal Copper and Zinc both have substantial evidence for skin repair and healthy skin promotion. They have also been reported to help regrow damaged hair. Copper can help keep the skin and associated abrasions clean with its antibiotic function. Here is one option https://thehealthybarker.ca/product/colloidal-copper-and-zinc/

Beware of the Herxheimer Reaction

This is the name given to the reaction of the body when the yeast dies-off. Symptoms of yeast die-off can include: diarrhea, worsening of skin symptoms, discharge from eyes, nose, and ears and joint soreness.

Dog Guardians will often assume that treatments aren’t working when these symptoms show up and stop the yeast treatments. It is important to continue treatment for yeast while treating these symptoms. These symptoms should only last a few days to a few weeks and then your dog should start to look and feel much better.

If you suspect the Herxheimer reaction is happening, there are two things you can do to help:

  1. Give digestive enzymes: They can help quickly digest and eliminate dead yeast cells. I recommend this product from DogsNaturally https://thenaturaldogstore.com/products/four-leaf-rover-digest
  2. Give humic/fulvic acid, bentonite clay and chlorella: They can help bind to heavy metals and help with the detox.

Yeast infections are very difficult to treat and can be very frustrating for dog guardians and miserable for the dogs affected. It takes time, work and patience to get it under control but it is well-worth the effort in order to give your dog much needed relief.