Yeast infections occur when normally occurring yeast on your dog’s body grows to an unmanageable rate and begins to attack the afflicted area.
Two main types of yeast bacteria cause this, the Malassezia which tends to build on the skin, paws, and within the ear canal, and the Candida Albicans which tend to grow within the mucous membranes of your dog’s gut.
If you’re concerned that your dog may be suffering from a yeast infection, keep an eye out for some of these tell-tale signs!
The most common and visible sign of a Malassezia yeast infection is when your dog scratches incessantly at the afflicted area. With this strain of yeast, it’s most likely to cause disease of the skin, paws, or ears.
An odd scratch here and there isn’t anything to be concerned with, but a healthy, parasite and the infection-free dog shouldn’t scratch themselves more than the occasional time here and there.
If your pooch is scratching a lot – something is likely amiss, and it’s best to visit your veterinarian for a diagnosis.
Have you noticed a strange smell in your home recently? Perhaps a sweet moldy smell akin to gone off bread? Well, I’d advise you to have a good sniff of your pooch! This is one indisputable sign of a yeast infection, as that moldy smell that is quite bready is, surprise surprise – the yeast on your dog!
Have you noticed that your dog is spending more and more time in his bed and not acting like his usual chipper self? When we’re not feeling well, we tend to stay in bed, or stay indoors much more often to let our bodies rest – and the same is true when your dog isn’t feeling top-notch.
But don’t worry about your dog just having a lazy morning after a weekend of hiking, if they seem sleepy and you also notice that other symptoms are visible – then it’s time for a vet visit.
Change in Skin Color
A standard light pink hue of the skin indicates a healthy dog with proper blood flow, but if you notice that your dog’s skin is a bright pink or slightly red color – that points to irritation and inflammation.
If you have a short-haired breed, it will be easier for you to spot a change in your dog’s skin color. And if your dog happens to be a very fluffy fella, just by keeping to a grooming schedule you’ll be able to keep a good eye on your dog’s skin health!
Dry and cracked skin is another indication of unhealthy skin and could come down to a few different causes – notably yeast infections, overbathing, and allergic reaction.
If your dog isn’t scratching much, you might think you’re in the free and clear – but, keep an eye out for head shaking! Yeast infections commonly affect the ear canal, especially in floppy-eared breeds such as the Cocker Spaniel.
Gently lift your dog’s ear, and look for irritation – if you notice that the skin is red, or inflamed, then it’s important to take him straight to the veterinarian. Ear infections, when left untreated, can cause serious health problems and even cause hearing loss.
Licking and Biting
Some dogs prefer to use their mouths to relieve the irritation caused by a yeast infection; this often makes the infection far worse – as the dampness caused by licking and biting at an area; provides the ultimate habitat for the yeast to breed.
Is your dog feeling down? Maybe he’s avoiding spending time with you, and hiding in his bed – or facing the wall when sitting down?
These are all strong signs that he’s suffering from depression. Ordinarily, dogs are happy bundles of joy, and distress commonly occurs when they’re feeling especially poorly.
Do your little buddy a favor and take him to your local veterinarian clinic to run some tests, and get him on the path to happiness once again!
Hot Spots and Hair Loss
A yeast infection can cause cracked and oozing skin, but the worst part of the infection is the fact that it will make your dog severely itchy.
This causes him to scratch and bites at himself incessantly, both of which are likely to culminate in hot spots and hair loss which can not only be uncomfortable but extremely painful and leave your dog open to developing other, more severe infections.
Constipation or Diarrhea
Internal Candida Albicans yeast infections cause the immune system to virtually shut down, as 70% of the dog’s immune system is, in fact, the gut, this can cause a blockage or inability to process food matter correctly.
Not only will this be uncomfortable for your poor little pup, but the lack of nutrition that he’s receiving at this time will only weaken his body’s defense from the yeast infection even more.
Urinary Tract Infection
Highly prevalent in bitches, the Candida Albicans species of yeast can cause incredibly painful urinary tract infections, and if left without treatment – this can weaken the urinary tract and leave your bitch susceptible to recurrent UTIs.
Any abnormal discharge, especially from the ears or oozing from the skin can indicate a pretty well-established yeast infection, and you might want to try an anti-fungal shampoo at home to immediately relieve your dog’s discomfort.
This type of infection can mimic the symptoms of hypothyroidism, with low energy, running colder than usual, and poor digestion.
If your dog has been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and you think that it may instead be a yeast infection, bring this up with your veterinarian; their end goal is to help your pet and will always listen to the owner as you’re the person that witnesses the dog’s health and behavior the most.
Stiffness and Joint Pain
Is your young and sprightly spaniel acting as though he has aged beyond his years? Perhaps you’re noticing stiffness when he first gets up, or is he yelping out in pain when trying to stretch?
A sneaky little symptom as it doesn’t seem as though it could indicate a yeast infection, but as mentioned earlier; as this ailment affects the entire immune system – this can be yet another symptom for an overgrowth of yeast.
Bloating and Flatulence
An abundance of yeast in the gut isn’t can’t easily be digested by a canine, and it can cause bloating and gas. When the level of yeast is incredibly high, for example, if your dog eats some bread making yeast – it can even cause the stomach to rupture.
What To Do About It
When you suspect that your dog may be suffering from a yeast infection, it’s always best to seek veterinary treatment.
But if this is a recurring infection, or you’re 100% confident in your assessment, there are things that you can do at home, including antifungal baths, and changing your dog’s diet to a food that helps stop infections.
Yeast infections may sound minor, but they are a big deal that can severely impact your dog’s immune response and ability to defend the body against illness, disease, or even recovery time from injuries.
The possible dangers of leaving a yeast infection untreated are severe, but luckily, the treatment time and cost are both incredibly low when caught early!