Pets Get Yeast Infections, Too!

But first an update on Casey ~
His surgery went really well, and he has dissolving stitches. He was on moistened dog food for 2 days, and he couldn’t have any crunchy or hard treats (including ice) for 1 week. Our Vet prescribed Rimadyl for pain “as needed” & Clindamycin, an antibiotic that is easier on the tummy than Cephalexin.

Casey was still a little groggy when the Vet Tech called to tell me he was ready to come home. Our Vet showed me Casey’s 3-root infected tooth and said it seems that he damaged his tooth at the gumline while chewing on something pointy (like a stick).

And wow, what a difference the new harness and 2-handle leash make. Casey does know how to heel and not pull! There are some differences in where you decide to buy the leash though.

For instance, the leash from Jeffers Pet & Wal-Mart is 6′ vs. 8′ from Amazon. It comes in 4 colors at Jeffers Pet & 2 colors from Amazon (black or red). And last, notice the difference in the first handle on the images below of the leashes from Jeffers Pet & Amazon.

How a Yeast Infection Occurs

On the immune system spectrum, balance is in the middle, and that’s what you want your dog’s immune function to be – balanced.

An underactive immune system can lead to yeast overgrowth, because it can’t control the balance. The other end of the spectrum is an overactive immune response where allergies are present. This can also lead to problems with yeast.

When a traditional veterinarian sees a dog with allergies – a sign of an overactive immune system – he or she will typically prescribe steroid therapy to shut off the immune response. (This improves symptoms but does not fix the underlying cause of the allergies.)

When your dog’s immune system is turned off with drugs, it can’t do its job of regulating and balancing normal flora levels, so your pet ends up with yeast blooms.

When conventional vets see dogs with allergies and possibly secondary skin infections, often they prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics are well-known to destroy all good bacteria along with the bad, wiping out healthy yeast levels in the process, so these drugs often make a bad situation worse.

Another reason an allergic dog, in particular, can end up with a lot of yeast is he can actually develop an allergy to his yeast. Intradermal tests often reveal that a dog is having an allergic response to his own natural flora.

This situation can be very problematic because the dog’s allergic response can affect his whole body. These dogs are often red from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail – their entire bodies are flaming red and irritated.

So dogs with an underactive immune system or that are immuno-suppressed can end up with a yeast infection, as well as dogs that have overactive immune systems or allergies.

Step #1 in Clearing a Yeast Infection: Address the Diet

If your pet is dealing with yeast overgrowth, there are a couple of things you’ll need to do.

Number one, you must address his diet. It’s rare that a dog has yeast in just one spot – one ear, for example. If that’s the case with your pet, you can probably get by just treating that ear for yeast and keeping your fingers crossed his immune system responds to re-balance his natural flora.

But if your dog, like the majority, has yeast in more than one spot, for example on all four paws or both ears, or especially if his entire body is yeasty, you have no choice but to look at what he’s eating.

Diet is the foundation of health. The way you nourish your dog is either going to help his immune system manage yeast, or it’s going to feed a potential or existing yeast overgrowth situation.

I encourage you to put your pet on what I call an ‘anti-yeast diet.’ The beauty of an anti-yeast diet is it is also an anti-inflammatory and species-appropriate diet.

Yeast needs sugar as a source of energy. Carbohydrates break down into sugar. Both MDs and veterinarians advise patients with yeast to get the sugars out of their diets.

Dietary sugar isn’t just the white kind added to many pet treats and some pet foods. There are ‘secret,’ hidden forms of sugar that can also feed yeast overgrowth, for instance, honey. Although honey can be beneficial for pets in some cases, it does provide a food source for yeast. So if your dog is yeasty, you’ll need to carefully read his pet food and treat labels and avoid any product containing honey, high fructose corn syrup, and even white potatoes and sweet potatoes.

If your dog has a significant yeast problem, I recommend you go entirely sugar-free. Feed low-glycemic veggies. Eliminate potatoes, corn, wheat, rice – all the carbohydrates need to go away in a sugar-free diet. This is really an important step. I wish I could tell you yeast is easy to treat and avoid without addressing diet, but it isn’t. Your pet needs to eat a diet that helps keep his normal flora levels healthy and balanced.

The second thing I recommend is adding some natural anti-fungal foods to his diet, like a small amount of garlic or oregano. These foods are both anti-fungal and anti-yeast and can be beneficial in helping reduce the yeast level in your dog’s body.

“Itchy, Smelly Dog? Yeast Infection May Be the Problem…”

Anti-Yeast Dip

You can either use a bowl or large coffee cup and dunk the paws daily in the dip. If you have a smaller dog, you could easily pop them in the sink instead.
1 gallon of warm water
2 cups of white vinegar (*)
1 cup of hydrogen peroxide

No need to rinse off just pat the paws dry. Don’t use this solution in your dog’s ears.
Warning: If you have a dark-colored dog this method will bleach your dog’s fur so leave out the hydrogen peroxide or use the spray instead.


“Recipe for Disinfecting Yeasty Paws”

“Eating These Foods Can Cause Dog Yeast Infection” (*) This link called for 1-4 cups of white vinegar.

Here are some skin care products I tried from Doctor’s Foster & Smith. I really like the Zymox brand for ear cleaning and will definitely buy this brand from now on.

Before having Casey’s tooth extracted, we actually visited 2 new Vets. The first one did not believe in giving cats or dogs the 4-in-1 or 5-in-1 vaccine, so she only gave Casey his Bordatella on our first visit. Her estimate for the tooth extraction was $228-$288, and she told us we could be in the room to watch and help her by giving him his anesthesia. At this point, my husband & I are looking at each other and saying, “Are you kidding me? We’re not Vet Techs.” She prescribed Apoquel, her “Wonder Drug.” It started working in less than 24 hours. Yes, Apoquel is expensive, but Casey is a normal dog w/no allergy issues (like excessively licking his paws, rubbing his chin on the carpet, and constantly scratching). She also sold us MiconaHex+Triz Shampoo by Dechra for $20 and instructed us to give him a bath 2 or 3 times a week. The shampoo does help.

The second Vet we tried and the one we like the best extracted his tooth for $347. Unfortunately though, they do not have any Apoquel 16 mg available nor can I find it on-line. It’s on back order at 1-800-PetMeds. So, now what do I do? If I can’t find it, Casey’s allergies & secondary infections will come back. He will be miserable again! Apoquel is like having your pet on Steroids w/o all the bad side effects.

At our new Vet’s suggestion, I requested a refill and was able to get one from the earlier Vet (the one that said we could give Casey his anesthesia). Luckily, I did not to have to take Casey in for an office visit. $114.83 for a quantity of 63 Apoquel 16 mg tablets, and he gets 1 1/2 tablets once a day. That will last 42 days.

My husband said, “I’ve gone overboard on our pets,” and he means primarily Casey. I agree, but what do I do? Let him be miserable off prescription allergy meds or a normal, happier dog on Apoquel. I’m hoping this will not be a year-round thing, and maybe I can find a healthy, less expensive food. All these Vets do not think food is an issue.


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