Healthy Pet Basics: What Your Vet May Not Be Telling You
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Does diabetes or a urinary tract infection in your dog or cat have a hidden cause that can be treated?
Pets Can Suffer from Systemic Yeast Infections
Just like us, our pets carry Candida in the digestive tract, the upper respiratory tract, and in the birth canal. And also just like us, this normally harmless yeast can quickly become pathogenic, or disease-causing, when given the opportunity.
All mammals naturally host an assortment of yeast and bacteria. Many of these yeast and bacteria are opportunistic microorganisms; this means that they only cause trouble when they are given the opportunity to grow beyond their normal environment. Otherwise, opportunistic yeast and bacteria are a part of a healthy microbial ecosystem.
Candida is opportunistic. While humans and their pets may have different yeast and bacteria living in their bodies, in some cases the difference is slight.
Factors That Lead to Systemic Yeast Overgrowth
If your pup is feeling under the weather, a systemic yeast infection could be to blame. Just like people, pets need a healthy inner ecosystem supported with beneficial bacteria from fermented foods and probiotic beverages to ward off disease!
What stresses our own immune system can also stress the immune system of our pet. (1)
The biggest stressors are things like:
- Antibiotic use
Veterinary medicine has found that a low-grade yeast infection can become systemic. (2) This most often happens when the immune system is pushed beyond capacity into a state of deficiency. (3)(4)(5)
While yeast overgrowth can occur in the normal habitat of Candida, a systemic infection means that the yeast has moved beyond the gastrointestinal tract, upper respiratory tract, and birth canal.
A systemic yeast infection can show up in organs and glands like the:
- Lymph nodes
Candida can spread through the body over the course of years. If a Candida infection goes unnoticed and untreated, it can infiltrate every system in your pet’s body. During this time, your pet may struggle with the same set of problems over and over again.
The symptoms of a chronic and systemic Candida infection may have nothing to do with digestion. In fact, in a dog or cat, signs of systemic Candida show up most often in the skin!
Look out for:
- Sores that heal slowly
- Chewing on feet
- Head shaking and ear infections
- Extreme shedding or hair loss
- Multiple allergies (6)
One study found a systemic yeast infection in a cat that was originally diagnosed with diabetes mellitus and a urinary tract infection. Over two months, the cat’s health deteriorated. Eventually, the owners made the decision to euthanize their pet.
Afterward, an examination revealed the presence of budding Candida yeast in the eyes, central nervous system, trachea, esophagus, kidneys, and urinary bladder of the cat. (7) These findings are not uncommon. (3)(8)
Are Probiotics in Your Pet’s Food Enough?
When it comes to gastrointestinal health, yeast plays an important role. Veterinarian studies have found that gut infection often occurs just prior to a major illness or that many times gut infection occurs simultaneously with chronic disease. (9)
This is why many pet foods are now adding probiotics to their formulations. (10)
Pet food companies and veterinarians alike know that beneficial bacteria support gastrointestinal health and help an animal to maintain a healthy inner ecosystem. (11)(12) In fact, our understanding of gut ecology has increased so much that now both holistic and conventional veterinarians use probiotic therapy in order to help our pets:
- Recover from disease.
- Maintain their inherent state of perfect health.
- Modulate the effects of environmental stress.
- Improve their gastrointestinal function.
Unfortunately, most pet foods are entirely void of living beneficial bacteria. If pet food is fortified with probiotics, studies have found that many of these pet foods contain an inconsequential amount of living bacteria. (13)
How to Nourish Your Pet with Fermented Foods
It turns out that many of the diseases that afflict human beings can also be found in our furry friends. And just like us, the health of a pet’s gastrointestinal tract is central to the health of its whole body.
In the wild, carnivorous animals eat the stomach and intestines of the animal they prey upon. The entire gastrointestinal tract is a rich source of nutrients, including beneficial bacteria and fermented biomatter.
Because probiotics are not just for gastrointestinal health but also for gastrointestinal integrity, it is essential that we give our pets the fermented foods that they need in order to stay healthy.
3 Body Ecology Tips to Optimize Your Pet’s Health!
- Depending on your pet’s size, offer 1-3 tablespoons of milk kefir as a treat or with meals.
- Sprinkle a scoop of Super Spirulina Plus over pet food.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of InnergyBiotic into wet or raw pet food.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
Many pet owners are surprised to find that, just like humans, pets can suffer from systemic yeast infections. Stressors on a pet’s immune system like diet, antibiotics, and corticosteroids can cause a minor yeast infection to become systemic to affect the pancreas, kidneys, brain, and more.
In fact, one of the most common manifestations of a Candida infection in a cat or dog could appear in the skin with symptoms like itching, ear infections, extreme shedding, or allergies.
Although there are new probiotic pet foods on the market, very few, if any, contain beneficial living bacteria. For the best results, you can nourish your pet’s inner ecology with vital nutrients by using 3 daily tips:
- Offer your pet 1-3 tablespoons of milk kefir as a treat, depending on their size.
- Sprinkle 1 scoop of Super Spirulina Plus into pet food at each meal.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of InnergyBiotic into both raw and wet pet food.
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- 1. BM Pressler, et al. Candida spp. urinary tract infections in 13 dogs and seven cats: predisposing factors, treatment, and outcome. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc. 2003 May-Jun; 39 (3): 263 – 270.
- 2. R Brown, et al. Systemic candidiasis in an apparently immunocompetent dog. J Vet Diagn Invest. 2005; 17: 272 – 276.
- 3. JC Hesetine, et al. Systemic candidiasis in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2003; 223: 821 – 824.
- 4. JL Holoymoen, et al. Disseminated candidiasis (monoliasis) in a dog. Nord Vet Med. 1982; 34: 362 – 367.
- 5. F Odriquez, et al. Acute disseminated candidiasis in a puppy associated with parvoviral infection. Vet Rec. 1998; 142: 434 – 436.
- 6. G Zur, et al. Canine atopic dermatitis: a retrospective study of 266 cases examined at the University of California, Davis, 1992–1998. Part I. Clinical features and allergy testing results. Veterinary Dermatology. 2002; 13: 89 – 102.
- 7. PA Gerding, et al. Ocular and disseminated candidiasis in an immunosuppressed cat. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1994 May 15; 204 (10): 1635 – 1638.
- 8. J Linek. Mycotic endophthalmitis in a dog caused by Candida albicans. Veterinary Ophthalmology. 2004; 7: 159 – 162.
- 9. JS Suchodolski, et al. Prevalence and identification of fungal DNA in the small intestine of healthy dogs and dogs with chronic enteropathies. Veterinary Microbiology. 2008; 132 (3-4): 379 – 388.
- M Lappin. Clinical and research experiences with probiotics in cats (Sponsored by Nestlé Purina). 2011 Nestlé Purina Veterinary Symposium publication. 2011 Mar 28.
- Jones, A. (2012), Pregnancy and puppies – the Veterinary Nurse’s role. Veterinary Nursing Journal. 2012; 27: 143 – 145.
- JS Weese, et al. Preliminary evaluation of Lactobacillus rhamnosus strain GG, a potential probiotic in dogs. Can Vet J. 2002 Oct; 43 (10): 771 – 774.
- JS Weese, et al. Bacteriological evaluation of dog and cat diets that claim to contain probiotics. Can Vet J. 2003; 44: 212 – 216.