Yeast can occasionally be linked as a cause of allergies, but in my experience, this is not common. What I do see quite often in clinical practice, is the situation of yeast overgrowth in animals that suffer from allergies, and the two syndromes are quite distinct. Yeasts exist commonly in nature, and all species of animals and people will have yeasts growing and living in and on their bodies – in fact yeasts are a normal part of our probiotic flora. When yeast overgrowth occurs (in people it is often candida species and is an internal issue, whereas in pets it is usually an external disease involving malasezzia species) it is very often secondary to other changes in the body.
Yeasts are primarily opportunists (like fungi) that will only grow up in large numbers if the environment favours their growth – and this is most common after a course of antibiotics (which kills off other bacteria that will normally control yeasts), or when using corticosteroid drugs (cortisone) which suppresses the immune system.
In dogs (primarily) and cats, excessive bathing with chemically based shampoos is another prime reason why yeasts can overgrow on the skin. This is the main reason I always advise pet owners to stop washing their pets, or at least change to a non-soap shampoo. Pet foods and treats that have high sugar levels (generally semi moist foods and treats) will also contribute to yeast formation.
So the final word on yeast, it is generally a secondary complaint in dogs and cats with allergies, and reflects an environment (skin, ears etc) that has become favourable to overgrowth due to the overuse of drugs and shampoos. Restoring balance to the body using pro-biotics is the best long term strategy for controlling yeast overgrowth.
Dr Bruce Syme BVSc (Hons), Founder of Vets All Natural.
Dr Bruce Syme is a practicing vet and expert in natural pet nutrition, has spoken at the Australian Veterinary Association Annual Conference, and provides regular comment on TV and Radio.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article are based upon the opinions of Dr. Bruce Syme, unless otherwise noted. The information is not intended as medical advice, it simply shares the knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Bruce and his community. Pet health care decisions should be based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified pet health care professional.
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