Yeast Allergy in Dogs

If your dog is susceptible to yeast allergy, he will show clinical signs early in his life, and it is a problem he probably will have to deal with his whole life. Find out what the signs of a yeast allergy are and what can be done to help a pet with this condition.

Clinical Signs Vary with Canine Yeast Allergy

Dogs with a yeast allergy can show signs in several ways, including chronic ear infections, rashes and a musty body odor.

Skin problems are one of the most common signs of a yeast allergy in your dog. Some of the problems that can indicate a yeast allergy are frequent scratching, bald spots, increased shedding, secondary skin infections and black spots on the dog's belly and legs. Other signs of a canine yeast allergy can include constant ear scratching, head shaking or foot and leg chewing.

Digestive problems can also indicate a yeast allergy. Some yeast-allergic dogs may develop irritable bowel syndrome, while others can develop a problem called leaky gut syndrome, in which yeast begins to grow in your dog's intestinal tract. This growth can penetrate the intestinal walls and cause the intestines' contents to leak into his abdominal cavity. Additional signs of leaky gut syndrome include joint problems or autoimmune disease.

Yeast allergies can also cause problems with your dog's urinary and reproductive systems. You may notice that your dog has recurrent urinary tract infections, or you may see genital discharge.

In more serious cases of yeast allergy, your dog may become lethargic or begin to have seizures. If you see any of these signs, contact your veterinarian's office to have your dog's health evaluated.

Diagnosing Your Dog's Yeast Allergy

Diagnosing a canine yeast allergy will probably involve the use of an exclusion diet to determine what ingredients in your dog's current foods are causing the reaction. Your veterinarian will need to rule out an overall food allergy or food intolerance as part of diagnosing your pet's yeast allergy.

Treating a Canine Yeast Allergy

Avoidance is the best course of treatment when dealing with a canine yeast allergy, but it may not be as easy as it sounds. Many commercial dog foods contain ingredients that may aggravate your dog's allergy.

Feeding an anti-yeast diet is a good first step toward helping your dog combat his allergies. An anti-yeast diet can contain meats, some vegetables and plain yogurt, but it should not contain any grains, processed meats, meat byproducts or sugars.

Meats that you can add to an anti-yeast diet include beef, fish, poultry (duck, chicken, Cornish hen or turkey) or rabbit. Acceptable vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, squash and spinach.

Organic or all-natural diets may be an option for a yeast-allergic dog. Discuss possible dietary allergens with your veterinarian, and read the labels on these and any other diet you plan to feed your dog carefully, to avoid foods that could trigger an allergy attack.

Research sponsored by the American Kennel Club indicates that it may be possible in the future to develop a series of yeast-allergy-specific shots that will clear up the clinical signs of this specific allergy, without some of the side effects caused by the current treatments.