Canine Candida and Antibiotics

Due to the use of antibiotics, a dog’s natural intestinal bacteria are replaced with pathogenic microbes, including candida albicans. Candida is a yeast, and it thrives on sugar. Then you feed the typical commercial dog food, which is based to a great degree, on grains. Grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates, and these carbohydrates turn to sugar in the digestive tract. Excellent food for the yeast to thrive. When a veterinarian prescribes antibiotics for an infection, it is imperative that he/she prescribe fungicides and a lactobacilli replacement therapy as a follow-up. Re-establishing a healthy environment in the digestive tract is essential, following antibiotic therapy.

Candidiasis is epidemic, but conventional medicine tends to ignore the problem. Candida is a single cell organism which occurs naturally in the digestive tract, and in healthy bodies it is kept in check by beneficial bacteria. But due to the use of antibiotics which kills off both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in the gut, candida is allowed to flourish in the presence of the high carbohydrate diet.

The ‘antibiotic syndrome’ is not just due to Candida. More generally it can be regarded as a ‘dysbiosis’ where the wrong kind of microbes inhabit the intestinal tract, not just Candida and other fungi, but many types of pathogenic bacteria including coli bacteria which are normal in the colon but become disease-forming when they ascend into the small intestine. The toxins released by the microbial overpopulation cause, in addition, chronic inflammation of the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and intestines. It appears likely that chronic inflammation of the pancreas is a major contributing factor in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes.

In 1983, William G. Crook, MD, published The Yeast Connection, which links candidiasis, chronic health problems and a high carb diet. Since that time, a multitude of people and their pets have benefited from special diets and herbal supplementation, which are geared toward killing off the candida yeast, and replacing it with beneficial bacteria. Many chronic health problems have been alleviated by following the guidelines in Dr. Crook’s book, in addition to a myriad of other publications on the subject.

According to nutritional consultant Linda Arndt of Indiana, Candida is a formidable enemy, because its cells manufacture toxic chemicals that kill beneficial bacteria and harm the body. According to Arndt, candida symptoms are often misdiagnosed as allergies, manifesting as rashes or skin outbreaks, hot spots, or infections of the ears, eyes, bladder or urinary tract. “These conditions can be accompanied by a secondary infection, which is what gets treated, but the underlying cause is rarely addressed by conventional medicine. These secondary problems can include joint pain, severe itching, which leads to endless biting, chewing and hair loss. The dog’s skin can turn black, become dry and flaky or develop a greasy grit on the surface, and wherever candida takes over, a bad yeasty smell can develop”.

“The well-intentioned allergy testing results will tell you the dog is allergic to everything from dust mites to tuna and lima beans. But that’s not where the problem lies. Many so-called allergy cases are nothing more than misdiagnosed systemic yeast infections from candida overgrowth.”

According to holistic physician Bruce Fife, ND, the candida organism is especially insidious because it changes form. “If left unchallenged”, he says, “candida converts from a single-celled form into a multi-celled or mycellial fungal form with hairy, root-like projections called rhizoids. These rhizoids penetrate the intestinal wall, which affects the intestines’ ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids, leading to nutritional deficiencies and leaky gut syndrome.”

Leaky gut syndrome allows bacteria, toxins, and undigested food to pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream, where they cause chronic low-grade infections, inflammation, and allergic responses. “The immune system identifies undigested food proteins as foreign invaders,” says Dr. Fife, “and its attack results in allergy symptoms. Your dog’s food allergies, seasonal allergies, and environmental allergies call all be caused by an imbalance in the microbial environment of his digestive tract. It’s no exaggeration to say that chronic health problems originate in the intestines.”

The best treatment for candida is a diet which is very low in carbohydrates, effectively starving the yeast in the gut, as well as that in the blood and various organs. Switching a candida-infected dog from a grain-based kibble to a grain-free, low-carbohydrate diet is an easy way to reduce a dog’s population of Candida albicans. Diet is the first line of defense, followed by herbal remedies. Because many cases of canine candidiasis coincide with hypothyroidism, the dog’s thyroid levels should be checked.

Wild wolves are unlikely to suffer from candida overgrowth because wolves in the wild consume little or no sugars, grains, fruits or other carbohydrates, and very little vegetable matter. Their diet consists almost entirely of the meat, organs, blood, skin, and bones of prey animals.

Prevention Program:

Avoid commercial pet foods which are high in grain-based carbohydrates.

Feed a meat-based diet, raw or cooked – no grains.

Utilize antibiotics only when absolutely necessary. Minor infections should usually clear on their own, if the dog is not otherwise immune compromised.

If antibiotics become necessary, follow up with a good quality probiotic supplement or plain yogurt.

According to Dr Neil Weiner, DVM, of California, these are some symptoms to watch for:

Fatigue, poor appetite, overweight, nervous, anxiousness, allergies, environmental sensitivities, frequent infections, dull, rough coat.

Rashes and itching, hives, draining sore, itchy feet, chewing feet or tail area, body odor, face rubbing, oily, greasy skin, dry, flaky skin, excessive shedding, blackened skin, thickened, rough skin.

Wheezing, coughing asthma, nasal discharge, reverse sneezing (snorting), itching nose.

Bad breath, smelly bowel movements, frequent episodes of vomiting and/or diarrhea, constipation, anal gland impaction or irritation.

Ear infections, ear itching or pain, itching eyes, cloudy eyes, excessive tearing, oozing.

Arthritis.

Bladder or kidney stones, increased urination, irregular heat cycles, vaginal discharge/infections.