Pet Talk: Yeast - Part 2

Do you have a pet who is chronically itchy? Does he lick or bite his paws? He is prone to ear infections that just never seem to go away? Or maybe he has a very distinctive odour, similar to cheesy musty corn chips? If your furry friend checks yes to most, if not all of the symptoms above, they are most definitely signs of a yeast overgrowth, which, at minimum, would make them feel quite uncomfortable.

Yeast infections are often misdiagnosed as protein allergies. Unfortunately, this misdiagnosis can lead to a change in diet that can exacerbate a system that has been overrun due to a yeast overgrowth. But before we get started, what is yeast and how does it occur?

The typical normal, healthy flora of dogs is a naturally occurring staph, as well as a light layer of naturally occurring yeast. The healthy levels of flora are possible thanks to a balanced immune system. A yeast overgrowth occurs when a normal amount of yeast progresses to an infection which then prompts the organism to begin reproducing uncontrollably. Most pets that are susceptible to yeast overgrowths are ones that are typically immunosuppressed. An underactive immune system will of course lead to a yeast overgrowth because it simply cannot control the balance. Yeast is a very opportunistic pathogen and tends to flourish when the body isn’t healthy or in perfect balance.

Definitive diagnosis by a vet of a yeast infection is accomplished either by cytology (swabbing the skin and studying it under a microscope) or by culturing (submitting a sterile swab of the skin to the lab where the cells are grown and then examined). As a pet owner, you’ll likely be able to tell if your dog is yeasty just by their smell. Unfortunately, the majority of commercial pet foods (yes even those expensive hypo-allergenic foods) have obscene amounts of carbohydrates and starches just in the first couple of ingredients. In fact, these carbohydrates are quite taxing on their bodies and can weaken their immune system as a result of not adequately being fed the nutrients required to do its job.

Diet is one of the most important factor in addressing chronic yeast. Diet is the foundation of health and the way you nourish your dog is going to help his immune system manage yeast, or, it is going to create or feed an already existing yeast overgrowth. Yeast feeds off of sugar as a source of energy, so the higher the content of carbohydrates in the food (or even added sugar for flavour) will affect just how much yeast is present on the body. When your pet begins to receive a species-appropriate, biologically available diet that is high in good quality animal protein and low in starches/carbs, it supports their immune system and helps keep the yeast growth under control. A change in diet and probiotics goes a long way in healing your pet from the inside out!

A misdiagnosed yeast infection will never go away and, left untreated, can became a very serious problem for your beloved pet. It affects the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients and it puts a strain not only on their digestive motility but their immune system as a whole. If you are dealing with a yeasty, smelly dog and can't quite seem to put an end to it, stop by either one of our two locations and we'd love to help you and your furry friend out!

You can find Bailey Blu in Marché de L'Ouest at 11788-A Boul. de Salaberry, 514-676-0682, or in NDG at 6152 Sherbrooke St West, 514-507-4526. Visit www.baileyblu.com.

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