A fungal yeast infection is an inflammatory skin condition which can occur in both dogs and cats. When yeast begins to overproduce, a fungal yeast infection can occur.
The Symptoms Of A Fungal Yeast Infection In Dogs:
1. The Skin Becomes Scaly
A fungal yeast infection can make the skin flake, which looks very much like dandruff. It can also cause the skin to scale and crust.
Itching and redness are usually the early signs of a fungal yeast infection. These symptoms can soon change to swelling in the affected area, as well as pain.
3. Your Dog Begins To Shake His Head
Usually, fungal yeast infections occur on the ears. Your dog may begin to tilt or shake his head to try and eradicate the discomfort he is feeling.
4. Skin Alters in Texture and Color
The symptoms of a fungal yeast infection can vary, but usually, there is a change to the skin. In the early stages, a red or pink color appears. When the infection becomes more serious, the skin can end up looking black or grey and leathery in appearance.
Although it’s not common to have a yeast infection in a dog’s mouth, it can happen. If your dog has a fungal yeast infection in his mouth, he may display issues with eating as well as drooling more than usual.
6. Rubbing, Scratching Or Licking
A fungal yeast infection can make your dog itchy. It’s not unusual to see your dog rubbing along the floor or against a piece of furniture to ease this itchiness. Additionally, you may find your dog licking the infected area to relieve himself of the itching.
7. The Skin Becomes Greasy
If your dog’s skin has become very greasy or oily, this could also indicate a fungal yeast infection.
8. Odor and Hair Loss
Another obvious sign of a fungal yeast infection is the odor, as is hair loss.
The Symptoms Of A Fungal Yeast Infection In Cats
Some of the symptoms that cats display when they have a fungal yeast infection are the same as dogs. Hair loss, greasy skin, scaly skin and redness on the surface are common symptoms. Cats can also display the following symptoms:
- Discharge that smells
- Bladder issues
- Weight loss
- Dark spots on the skin
- Eye issues
- Upper respiratory issues such as difficulty in breathing and coughing
The Causes Of A Fungal Yeast Infection In Dogs
Malassezia is a fungus that can be naturally found on a dog’s skin. When this fungus begins to reproduce or bother the area where it lives, an issue can occur. We don’t fully understand what causes this change. What we do know is that fungal yeast infections tend to occur when a dog’s immune system is affected in some way or another. The reasons why a dog may end up with a fungal yeast infection are:
- Hormonal issues
- Parasites that live on the outside of the skin
- Excessive use of steroids or antibiotics
- An allergy
- Use of drugs which affect the immune system
Some breeds of dog such as bulldogs and pugs have more skin on their faces than other breeds of dogs. Because of this, they are more likely to develop a fungal yeast infection. Bassett hounds and other dogs that have floppy ears are also more likely to contract a fungal yeast infection.
The Causes Of A Fungal Yeast Infection In Cats
Like dogs, a fungal yeast infection can occur from the natural fungi that live on a cat’s body or within their environment. This fungus can enter a cat’s body in various ways such as being inhaled via the nose, drunk/eaten via water/food or absorbed via the skin.
A cat is more likely to develop a fungal yeast infection if they have diabetes, a weakened immune system, or pancreatic cancer.
Treatments For Fungal Yeast Infection In Dogs and Cats
It’s crucial to work out what the cause of the infection is before any treatment can take place. Treatments can involve:
1. Looking at Your Dogs/Cats Diet
Fungal yeast infections can occur in more than one part of the body, and your pet’s diet may need to be changed. You may need to put him on an anti-yeast diet.
2. Target The Area
A vet will usually prescribe a cream to eradicate the infection. It’s worth first cleaning out the yeast by hand and disinfecting the affected area. A good option is to use witch hazel as a cleaner and apply this to a cotton pad to clean the infected area. A topical fungicide can also be applied to the affected area.
There are various anti-fungal shampoos available to buy on the market. Try and avoid shampoos that contain oatmeal as they contain sugar. This can exacerbate the problem as sugar can help yeast to thrive.
Choose shampoos which contain tea tree or are herbal. An excellent herbal option is apple cider vinegar. Dilute it with water before applying to the infected area. Use filtered and organic apple cider vinegar to get the best results for your dog/cat.
Preventative Methods For Dogs
Some activities can create a fungal yeast infection including:
1. Too Much Sunshine
When a dog spends too much time outside, he will begin to sweat, and yeast likes the warm spots where you sweat. If your dog suffers from a lot of sweat, the yeast may begin to occur in his creases. Where possible try and let your dog spend more time outside when it’s not so warm, i.e. early in the morning or later in the evening. When it gets hot, bring your dog into your home.
2. Avoid Lakes
When it’s hot, swimming can leave moisture on your dog’s body. This can create a fungal yeast infection or cause an existing fungal yeast infection to worsen. If your dog does like to swim in lakes, be sure to dry him thoroughly afterwards.
3. Avoid Excessive Exercise
Although dogs need to exercise, excessive exercise can create moisture, particulate in the toe area. As mentioned earlier, yeast will thrive off this. When your dog goes for his run, always remember to clean his feet afterwards to prevent a fungal yeast infection.
4. Avoid Sugary Snacks
As we’ve established, yeast loves sugar. For this reason, avoid treats and dog food which contain fructose corn syrup, rice, honey, and wheat.
Preventative Methods For Cats
To avoid fungal yeast infections in your cat, you need to balance the bacteria in your cat’s body. A good solution would be to give your cat a probiotic as these are effective in preventing yeast infections in cats.
If you suspect that your cat’s infection may be linked to an allergy, it may be worth giving him a digestive enzyme supplement mixed in with his food.
Additional Preventative Methods
You need to make sure that as well as cleaning your pets, you follow the hygiene advice below in order for your home to be a safe and healthy home for both you and your pets.
- High use areas in your homes need to be cleaned thoroughly to stop the spread of infection.
- Vacuum and disinfect all floors regularly and especially in areas where your pet lives and where their litter tray may be kept.
- Dirty paws can bring bacteria and infection into your home, so keep a towel at hand to wipe down your pet’s feet.
2. Hand Washing
- Before serving any food or preparing food, always remember to wash your hands.
- After playing with your cat or dog, be sure to wash your hands. It’s important to also wash hands after handling your pets’ toys, blankets, bedding, cages, leads, etc.
- If young children have been near your pets, remind them to wash their hands, especially before eating.
3. Kitchen Surfaces
- Avoid allowing your pets to climb on to your kitchen surfaces as this is where food is prepared and pets can spread their germs and infection.
- Use bacterial cleaners to clean cooker tops and areas where food is prepared.
- Make sure that your pet has its own feeding bowl and utensils. These need to be cleaned and stored away from your own household equipment. Remember to disinfect your pet’s equipment
- regularly, using a product that’s pet-friendly.
- Try and feed your pet somewhere other than the kitchen to prevent the spread of any infection. Where your pet does eat his food, use a product that’s safe for pets to disinfect the area.
- Your pet’s bed needs to be washed regularly so buy one that has removable covers.
- Use products that clean and remove germs as well as remove bacteria and odors. These products need to either be fragrance-free or low in fragrance, as animals tend to have sensitive noses.
- If your pet likes to sleep in a bed with you or other members of your family, make sure that you wash this bed linen frequently.
James Garner is a keen writer who loves nothing more than spending time with his 2 children and 3 German Shepherds. He loves writing about any topic related to home life. You can keep up to date with James on Twitter and Facebook.