If your dog has itchy skin, it can be stressful for you too. Watching your pet constantly scratch and fuss is worrisome because it could be a sign that they have a fungal infection. Help your dog by knowing the signs and symptoms that they require treatment. Yeast infections and Ringworm are a couple of the most common skin issues in dogs. Yeast infections are common among certain breeds and can affect large areas of their bodies. Ringworm is less severe but highly contagious to humans and other animals. Read on to learn about:
- Yeast infections
A yeast infection in dogs is a common condition caused by the overpopulation of the yeast Malassezia. This yeast is a normal part of your dog’s skin and ears but overgrowth may occur. A yeast infection should be taken seriously because it could be a sign that your dog has a more serious underlying issue. Take your pet to the veterinarian if you think they are suffering from a yeast infection.
It is not completely understood why Malassezia begins to overpopulate and invade the areas around where it is normally found, but they usually occur in dogs whose immune systems are weakened by some other cause.
Possible causes of a weakened immune system includes: allergic reactions, a ruptured eardrum, cancer, hormonal disorders, medication that suppresses the immune system like antibiotics and steroids.
Dogs like pugs and bulldogs that have excess skin on their faces and bodies are more likely to experience a yeast infection. Dogs like poodles and retrievers that have large, floppy ears are more likely to develop a yeast infection in that part of their body. Yeast infections are more common in hotter and more humid climates.
If your dog has a yeast infection, it will prompt him to itch, which will cause sores that are easy for the infection to thrive in.
Signs and Symptoms
Yeast infections are easy to spot. If you’re suspicious that any of the following signs are showing up in your dog, it’s time to call the vet.
- Change in color or texture of skin (pink or redness, leathery thick skin)
- Greasy or oily skin and coat
- Flaky skin that looks like dandruff
- Hair loss
- Foul smelling skin
- Repeated shaking or tilting of the head
- Repeated rubbing or scratching
- Repeated licking of the affected area
As humans, we have the ability to communicate if we are having pain or symptoms, but our furry best friends cannot. Keep an eye on them so they can be treated quickly and effectively and brought back to health.
Think about your dog’s diet. We love to spoil our dogs with treats and people food, but this can lead to a cause of yeast infections: too much sugar. Yeast is a fungus that needs sugar as a source of energy. Yeast infections can thrive on processed sugar and natural sugars present in a diet. Avoid both white and sweet potatoes, honey, foods that contain high fructose corn syrup, and foods high in carbohydrates, which break down into sugar.
Your vet may prescribe a cream as a short term solution to your dog’s yeast infection. New yeast will grow on top of the dead yeast killed by the cream. Go right to the source. It is recommended that you clean and disinfect the areas with yeast on your dog. If your pet is commonly susceptible to yeast infections in their ears, clean them every day with cotton balls dipped in a solution of your choice, such as witch hazel. This simple product has many benefits for owners too.
If you use shampoo to treat your dog’s yeast infection, you can use herbal or tea tree oil based ones, but avoid oatmeal-based ones that contain sugar.
Ringworm is a fungal infection to the skin and hair. Despite its name, it is not a worm, but a fungi called dermatophytes. You should be wary if your pet has ringworm, as the infection is easily transferable to humans. Children, old people, and anyone with a weakened immune system due to diseases or treatments are especially susceptible.
One species of ringworm lives in the soil and can be caught just from spending time outside Ringworm can also be caught from other people and pets. Skin to skin contact, the sharing of clothing or towels, and contact with furniture that has been infected by the fungus causes ringworm.
Signs and Symptoms
Ringworm in people is easily identifiable by a ring-shaped patch of red, itchy skin. There are sprays and creams to treat ringworm in people, as well as many home remedies. This ring-like lesion will appear on pets too but is hard to observe because of fur.
In more serious cases of ringworm you might notice:
- Hair loss, called alopecia, which may appear circular
- Reddened skin in the form of lesions or ulcers
- Scaling and crusting of the skin
- Darkening of the skin
If you suspect your dog is suffering from ringworm, do not hesitate to begin treatment in more mild cases. Keep the infection at bay with Fauna Care’s antifungal spray for dogs and cats.
Antifungal spray is great for smaller cases, but if the infection is more widespread, your vet may prescribe antifungal shampoo in order to treat the whole body. Your vet may also prescribe your animal an oral medication. In administering these, it is important to maintain consistency in dosage and to continue the medication as long as your vet recommends.
If you have multiple pets, keep the infected pet separated in a room that has tile or another smooth surface that is easy to clean. Your vet may recommend that you treat all animals at once. It is recommended that you thoroughly clean your home and furniture to prevent the spreading of ringworm, either to other people or pets.
Regular cleanliness can also help prevent the infection. Clean blankets and replace bedding, keep your pet’s grooming brush clean and free of loose hairs, and regularly vacuum and disinfect areas of your environment that your pets frequent. If you think your pet is itching and scratching too much, don’t hesitate to begin treating them and contact your vet!