Yeast infections in dogs are usually found in the skin and ears and are caused by an organism called Malasezzia pachydermatis or malasezzia for short. Malasezzia, interestingly enough, appeared on the dermatology scene about 10 years ago, but may have been around a lot longer. It used to be, and still is in many dogs, one that is ever present but doesn't do any harm. In the dogís ears, it is considered a secondary pathogen, but in the skin it is now recognized as a primary one, although there is usually a predisposing cause that changes it from an innocent bystander into an itchy, relentless problem.
Many times,dogs that are suffering from malasezzia will have skin lesions or sores. These lesions can be only one or two or, localized in patches, or in some cases all over the body. These sores are usually red and are accompanied by areas of increased pigmentation, hair loss, and scaliness or greasiness. This scaliness and greasiness with a yellowish tint is usually indicative that malasezzia is the culprit. The dogs are also usually very itchy and have a musty type odor. The most common sites for these sores are the underside of the neck, the belly, and the feet, especially between the toes.
Candida albicans is another yeast-like fungus that normally lives in a healthy balance in the body. When the balance is upset, infection results. This is known as Candidiasis and the fungus travels to all parts of the body through the bloodstream.
As mentioned above, Normally, the large intestine hosts a balance of beneficial bacteria (Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus bifidus) along with yeast. The harmful Candida is usually kept in check by the Lactobacillus bacteria, partially by the production of lactic acid. Candida actually provides growth factors for Lactobacillus. They exist in a natural balance, until something happens to upset that balance.
Although there is no "single factor" responsible for turning this naturally occurring organism into an agent of disease, the candidal species is notorious for being an "opportunistic" pathogen: "They incite disease in hosts whose local or systemic immune attributes have been impaired, damaged, or innately dysfunctional". Candida has a tenacious ability to adhere to mucosal surfaces. This is a necessary step for the initiation of candidiasis, and adherence depends on the immune status of the host. Candida secretes enzymes which destroy membrane integrity, leading to dysfunction. Candida also secretes toxins which activate the immune system, overload the liver, and deposit in body tissues.
The main cause of yeast infections, such as Candida Albicans, is from grain-based foods and drugs, chemicals and poisons. Cooked foods anything in a can or a bag, vaccines which compromise and destroy the natural immune system, antibiotics which kill the friendly bacteria which would ordinarily fight and overwhelm the yeast, steroids that shut down the body's ability to fight back, and any and all other drugs, chemicals and poisons, including frontline, advantage, program, heartguard, etc, that compromise the immune system are all additional reasons for seeing such a preponderance of yeast infections. Yeast infections seem to be one the most under-diagnosed illnesses in the veterinary field.
Many different types of traditional treatments are being used to treat yeast and other skin problems. Although drugs are temporally effective for the symptoms, they do not eliminate the cause of the symptom. I believe you need to get at the cause, you need to look at the whole picture, the whole dog if you will. Once the cause is found, a PREVENTION PLAN can be initiated.
Prevention is the cure!
Immediately you need to get your dog on raw meat and bone diet with supplements to balance and boost the immune system, cleanse these toxins from the body, re-establish the good/friendly bacteria to help the body to crowd-out and combat the yeast and enhance the level of nutrition. As prevention, these must be permanent lifestyle changes for your dog in order for him/her to be able to resist any future yeast infections.
While a fresh, raw meat and bones diet is the preferable diet, if you are not willing to go to an all raw diet for your dog then please consider a grain and potato free or at the very least,switch to a home cooked diet with out grains or vegetables (at least until the yeast is under control).
*Just be warned that it will take longer to get the yeast under control with a processed food diet.
Let's just think about this for a minute, you see, science proves dogs are CARNIVORES and were not designed to eat grains in the first place. They do not manufacter amylase in their saliva, to start the break-down of carbohydrates and starches; amylase in the saliva is something omnivorous and herbivorous animals possess, but not carnivorous animals. This places the burden entirely on the pancreas, forcing it to produce large amounts of amylase to deal with the starch, cellulose, and carbohydrates in grains and plant matter. (The carnivore's pancreas does not secrete cellulase to split the cellulose into glucose molecules), nor have dogs become efficient at digesting and assimilating and utilizing gains or plant material as a source of high quality protein. Herbivores do those sorts of things.
Read Canine and Feline Nutrition Case, Carey and Hirakawa Published by Mosby, 1995
A dog's main diet in the wild is raw prey (meat). In the wild they eat very little vegetation at all and NO grains.
What CAN my dog eat that as anti-yeast foods?
Fresh, (organic when possible) chicken, fish, rabbit, turkey, goat, cornish hen, lamb beef, quail, duck.
Since dogs do not produce very much amylase or celulase at all, which would make digesting vegetables possible, it is best to avoid them all together.
However, if you for your own sake feel the need to feed some kind of vegetation, organic sprouts and leafy greens that have been throughly pulverized or juiced can be fed in very small amounts.
It is also best to avoid feeding fruits at all, especially while starving out yeast due to the sugar content. As the dog heals you may begin to add fresh organic blueberries, raspberries and/or blackberries when they are in season.
If you do not drink your own tap water then please, do not give it to your dog to drink. Use purified or distilled water... You don't want to give your dog any illnesses due to WATER CONTAMINATION.
Cleansing and de-toxing
Detox or cleanse the Blood.
Toxins are the impurities that the filtering systems of the body tries to eliminate so that these impurities do not get into the blood stream. Once these contaminants ARE in the blood stream, the body begins to lose nutrition. The blood is either able to feed the body with good wholesome nutrients, or it is feeding the body with contaminates ultimately causing serious health issues.
Every diagnosed disease has as its root cause--toxins. These toxins are circulating within your dog's body with every single beat of its little heart. If you will clean up your dog's internal body, then maintain its internal cleanliness on a regular basis, your dog can return to health and stay that way.
Importance of Replenishing the Good/Friendly Bacteria
The good bacteria that are attached to the inner intestinal walls are benign and do not harm our dogs (or us for that matter). They donít make harmful chemicals or provoke immune responses and inflammation. In fact, these microorganisms actually protect us from the adherence of disease causing bacteria, like Salmonella and Shigella, which cause diarrhea.
The disruption if the intestinal balance is where the troubles begin. The Candida yeast goes through cycles of overgrowth, where toxins are released throughout the system causing numerous or various symptoms. Candida makes a variety of toxic chemicals, which kill the good bacteria. The making of these chemicals prevents bacteria from coming back and enables the yeast to stay. If antibiotics have been used, they too kill all the good bacteria with the bad and the yeast gets a stronghold. Give your dog probiotics to re-build the good bacteria and to help choke out the yeast.
Provide vital Ďlive foodí dietary enzymes
Live enzymes are completely absent from all cooked and processed pet foods. These key enzymes are what provide the necessary mechanisms to help the body produce powerful antioxidant enzymes. In combating yeast infections, they play a vital role by helping to flush out the dying Candida yeast toxins from the body and free radicals at a cellular level.
Add a good, natural source with herbs and antioxidents which are all designed to build the immune system back up and help keep it balanced.
Frequent bathing can cause more harm then good for the most part. However, if your dog still smells offensive and a good massage and/or brushing does not help, you can give once weekly baths to clear the skin of dead and dying materials, however, please, only use a natural ingredient product with no chemicals.
The use of essential oils in the shampoo or final rinse will assist naturally in killing the bacteria on the skin it's self as well as start it healing. Such oils as Lavender, Myrrh, Rosemary, Eucalyptus or Melaleuca alternifoila are good for this purpose.
You can also use a rinse with a 50/50 mixture of raw, un-filtered apple cider vinegar and water which will also aid in healing and killing the bacteria growing on the skin; HOWEVER, APPLE-CIDER VINEGAR rinses should NEVER be applied to pets with any open lesions.
Apple Cider Vinegar or Grapefruit Seed Extract may also be added to your dog's drinking water
It is important to note that this is a slow cleansing process which can often take 3-7 months before you see major changes with your dog.
The symptoms of cleansing and de-toxing usually occur about 3-4 weeks into the changes. These symptoms of cleansing, include itchiness and inflammation which will often appear to worsen during the initial two months of the program, inflamed and itchy ears, skin eruptions and/or flu-like symptoms like vomiting, loose stools, diarrhea and lethargy. This healing crisis effect of the body detoxifying can last for quite some period at times and requires patience on your part.
Make sure to keep an eye on your petís general health and temperature and certainly DONíT AVOID treatment by your "Holistic" Veterinarian for serious infections.
Most dogs show a response to treatment within a month however, from what I have seen, the time needed here averages out to be 1 month for every year of life! Slightly longer for those with a history of medication usage like antibiotics, steroids and antihistamines. The length of treatment seems proportional to the cooperation of the owner. In other words, if the owner gives the remedies once a day, administers antibiotics during the treatment program, and feeds a low quality diet, the treatment will take longer. Treatment will be more effective if the owner remains persistent with the required regimen.
A yeast infection can be a very frustrating ailment that takes commitment on your part (dog owner/guardian). The program is not easy for many, however, when the yeast is under control, owners report significant improvement and a new positive lifestyle for their dog.
*A CONSULTATION is highly recommended before any preventative program or treatment is started. A consultation includes a personalized diet and holistic program suggestions that are custom-tailored to your own dog's individual and personal needs. While I will continue to provide and even add educational articles on the website and Blog, most of these are general in nature. I therefore encourage you to tailor a program specifically for your dog's needs. This is particularly imperative in pets with complicated health issues, or if you've done a lot of outside reading and have conflicting information.