Diagnosing Yeast Infection in Dogs

Like humans, canines have certain yeasts and other organisms living within their bodies to aid in digestion and other processes. If the natural balance of these organisms becomes disturbed, the result is a yeast infection in dogs. There are different types of yeast infections in dogs, and they have a number of different causes and symptom sets. Left untreated, yeast infections are painful and uncomfortable for your pet, and they may result in a harmful secondary infection of some kind.

Successful diagnosis of a yeast infection requires that you know the symptoms of the disease. Recognizing the symptoms early on will allow you to have your suspicions confirmed by a veterinarian, and you may then begin the treatment process. Fortunately, treating a yeast infection is oftentimes a very easy task. Read on for more information about recognizing and diagnosing canine yeast infections.

Recognizing a Yeast Infection in Your Dog

The first step toward diagnosing a canine yeast infection is being aware of and recognizing the symptoms. Yeast infections typically occur either when naturally occurring yeast in your pet's body spreads and grows out of control, or when this bacteria invades an area of skin that is already affected by infection or that has open sores. In either case, yeast infections typically result in some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Crusty, flaky skin
  • Foul smell
  • Unusual itchiness and irritation
  • Discoloration, particularly around moist areas of your dogs body like skin folds or the genitalia

Certain breeds are predisposed to suffering from yeast infections, so it is important that you be especially aware of these symptoms. These breeds include Shetland Sheepdogs, Poodles, Terriers, Basset Hounds and Cocker Spaniels. Additionally, dogs with folds of skin may be more likely to get a yeast infection than those without.

The Veterinarian's Diagnosis

After you have recognized the symptoms of a canine yeast infection, have your veterinarian confirm your pet's condition. Prepare a list of your pet's symptoms and their duration and severity, as this will help your vet to easily and quickly diagnose the condition.

In most cases, your vet will be able to make a diagnosis by a simple physical examination. He will visually examine your pet's body for signs of infection and other symptoms. If he wishes to confirm the presence of a yeast infection, or if he wishes to analyze your pet's condition further in order to make a diagnosis, he may take a swab or sampling of the yeast itself for analysis. A skin scraping from the affected area is also helpful in producing an accurate diagnosis.

Having properly diagnosed your pet's yeast infection, you can formulate a plan with your veterinarian to address his disease. To treat the symptoms, most veterinarians prescribe a combination of an anti-yeast shampoo and an oral antibiotic to address the spread of bacteria. It is also helpful to determine the cause of the bacterial imbalance in the first place. In many cases, the infection itself is due to an allergic reaction. Treating the cause of the infection will help to ensure that your pet does not suffer from additional yeast infections in the future.