Does your dog have a Yeast problem?
Symptoms of a potential yeast problem:
Chewing or licking the feet, Dark rusty-red hair between the toes, Black skin (often with hair loss), Bad smell and greasy hair (seborrhea), Ear infections or head shaking, Speckles on the underbelly, Hair loss on the tail and upper back, Grayish or rust color around the genitals, Diarrhea, Seasonal allergies & Secondary bacterial infections.
Candida is part of a balanced gut biome but it can get out of balance and this can result in a host of symptoms, scientists have even found that it can be linked to depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia in humans - gut health matters.
Candida thrives on sugar, so one of the most effective ways to protect your dog from yeast infections could be to feed them a low-carb, high-fat diet which is a ratio generally found in fresh food diets that follow the B.A.R.F principles. When deciding on which plants to use as part of your fresh food diet that is more-yeast friendly, consider the use of the likes of non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, kale (cook to reduce oxalates), celery, cucumber, eggplant, spinach (cook to reduce oxalates), zucchini, tomatoes and swede/rutabaga.
Whilst you're working at settling down your dog's condition, it is generally recommended to avoid fermented foods and dairy, these can be added back in slowly lately to gauge whether they are problematic for your dog.
In a mouse study, they found that eating a high carbohydrate and high sugar diet could be problematic when it comes to yeast, this may be a case to re-consider feeding dry food (kibble) given it is usually high in carbs. Pet parents should also be vigilant about the treats they give their dogs as some contain added sugar, check the ingredients panel for this and other ingredients that are like sugar.
In a rat study, they showed that stress and chronic high cortisol were also problematic when it came to yeast, so if your dog has easily aroused, stressed, anxious, or over the top, this could be something worth working on.
It's important to work with your Vet with this condition because accurate diagnosis is important, Hair and skin samples can be taken from around the affected area and tested under a microscope to determine a yeast infection, and then prescription + topical antifungals can be prescribed where appropriate and these can be life-changing for dogs with chronic yeast issues. In humans, a prescription medication called Nystatin is often favoured by health conscience individuals because it is not metabolised by the body, Nystatin is also used in dogs and this is something you may like to chat to your Vet about.
Yeast can become problematic for reasons we do not even consider such as stress mentioned above but also, in the book titled 'Restoration of Immunologic Competence to Candida Albicans', written by C. Orian Truss, M.D, he looks at how mould in the environment could be problematic for yeast. He states that many moulds that do not exist within the body have some degree of cross antigen-icity with Candida albicans and that his human patients often notice aggravation of symptoms in environments characterised by a high count of mould spores. Many parts of Australia have been affected by floods in recent years, lots of rain etc. and a side effect of that has been mould, which is an important aspect to consider.
Mould can also enter our bodies via diet, mycotoxins which are toxic secondary metabolites produced by certain filamentous fungi (moulds) and in dog food, certain ingredients that are bulk stored are more prone to contain these such as corn, cereals, soybeans, sorghum, peanuts, and other food and feed crops in the field and in grain during transportation. This may be another case to avoid highly processed dry food diets that contain these ingredients.
Some pet parents find that Apple Cider Vinegar can be helpful, A 2018 study found that undiluted (or mildly diluted) ACV can prevent the growth of candida. The researchers discovered this effect in a candida culture, which is a small sample of these organisms. However, more research is required to discover whether ACV works to combat yeast in the body.
Coconut oil + MCT oil are healthy fats that might be helpful with managing yeast overgrowth. A 2007 study (n-vitro study) found it can reduce the growth of Candida albicans by 25%.
Saccharomyces boulardii (S. boulardii) is a type of probiotic which is a yeast that is actually a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it was found in a 1993 study to potentially help to reduce the risk of Candida yeasts translocating from the digestive tract - Australians, get it here.
We recommend working with a fresh food feeding Vet / Holistic / Integrative Vet during your dog's recovery as these Vets often have more tools in their tool kit. For nutritional support, you can have a distant consult with the likes of Bentons Road Vet Clinic in VIC and Mont Albert Vet Surgery in VIC.