Dog Yeast Infections
Lets talk about yeast (Malassezia dermatitis).
Yeast is a fungus, and it is always present on pets as part of the normal flora of the body, both internally and externally. As long as the body is in balance, all is well. But when the immune system becomes depressed, or when the dog is given antibiotics, or is shaved, or scratches himself, yeast can invade the skin and go underground where it thrives in the hair follicles and throughout the body.
On some dogs you can observe the very earliest signs of yeast when it manifests as little black or brownish specs on the underbelly, around the genitals, or where the legs join the body. These often go unnoticed, being mistaken for dirt, flea specks or simply part of the ageing process. By the time you see this, the yeast infection is systemic throughout the body, similar to seeing a mushroom pop up on the forest floor. By this time the rhizomes (or roots) of the fungus have already covered acres underground. Yeast is the same. And similarly, it comes and goes in a typical annual cycle, waxing and waning with the seasons but it never goes away on its own.
Symptoms of a Yeast infection: Any one of these is a very strong indicator, regardless of how it got started. If there are two or more of these symptoms, its pretty much a given that the dog is systemically infected with yeast.
- Chewing or licking the feet, and dark rusty-red hair between the toes. When a dog chews his feet, there's always a good reason. There's an itch, a cut, a broken toenail, or something thats bothering him. But foot- chewing is almost always because there's a yeast infection between the toes and in the nail beds. The hair is red or rusty-colored because of the yeast, not because of the licking.
- Scratching the ears, or head shaking. Ear mites also cause intense itching in the ears.Lethargy and loss of appetite. There are many reasons for this, but when combined with one or more of the symptoms in this list, a yeast overbloom is likely the cause.
- Lethargy and loss of appetite. There are many reasons for this, but when combined with one or more of the symptoms in this list, a yeast overbloom is likely the cause.
- Cyclic manifestation of symptoms (appearing in the spring and going away in the fall), which is often confused with grass allergies and other spring and summer symptoms. True allergies are very rare. Yeast is very common. Best to eliminate the common diseases first.
- Hair loss on the tail and upper back. There can be many reasons for this, but yeast is always one of the problems here.
- Speckles (like tiny black dots) on the underbelly or rust-coloration around the genitals. Daily (or at least weekly) grooming should reveal this early indicator of yeast.
- A foul funky smell and greasy hair (seborrhea), often accompanied by heavy dandruff. This is an active yeast infection of the hair follicles, and relatively easy to reverse with DERMagic products.
- Baldness from having been closely shaved. When a dog is shaved, even for surgery, yeast can literally be injected under the skin by the hot blade, and it will kill the hair follicles eventually. DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion can bring it back.
- Any black skin, especially if associated with hair loss.
Well, you dont know for sure at first. But if the condition responds well to a natural topical antifungal, the hair grows back, the black skin disappears, the itching and licking stop, and the underbelly returns to a normal pinkish white, that should tell you something. All these symptoms respond to antifungals, especially to DERMagic Skin Rescue Lotion or Hot Spot Salve. It could well have been an allergic reaction to something that started all this, like a bug or flea bite or a bad reaction to grain in food, for example. But what then happens is that the local immune system doesnt function properly and this allows the yeast to bloom and invade. This is what many veterinarians can miss.
They generally do not recognize the early signs of yeast, or seldom see the early signs because the pet parent doesn't realize this is a problem until its too late. And allergy testing, in addition to being expensive, can give misleading false positives in many cases. So, the pet parent accepts the diagnosis of allergies and spends a fortune on medications for the rest of the dogs life, which may be considerably shortened by being on these meds long term.