Candida is a genus of yeast that is common cause of many fungal infections. Usually Candida is a part of the normal flora in an animal’s mouth, nose, ears, and gastrointestinal and genital tracts, although sometimes it tends to colonize or invade damaged tissues of immuno-suppressed animals. An infection caused by Candida (most commonly by Candida albicans) is known as candidiasis.
Yeast cells multiply quickly and produces toxin killing "good" bacteria, which makes an organism even more susceptible to the Candida. Candidiasis might be more localized, only specific area or organ affected, or systemic, when the whole body is affected.
There are no dependency on age or breed, any even healthy looking dog may get Candidiasis. There are many risk factors and causes. The highest risk factor is the use of antibiotics, because they kill the beneficial bacteria which keeps Candida from proliferating. Also dogs with clearly showing causes (with traumatized skin, burns, necrotizing dermatitis) are at greater risks, same might be said about the dogs with neutropenia, parvovirus infection, diabetes, urinary retention. Do not forget that disbalance leading to the candidiasis, might be caused by stress, diet, environmental conditions and various medications.
The symptoms displayed depends on localization of the infection. Changes in general health that may be present in the cases of candidiasis:
Frequent and recurring infections; fatigue and apathy; anxiety; poor appetite/underweight or overweight; allergies and sensitivities; rough, dull coat; excessive sleeping.
Further, possible signs of the yeast infection are listed by localization:
Ulcerative lesions; excessive itching, biting and licking; skin redness and rashes; hives; draining sore; face rubbing; strong or specific body odor; acne; eczema; excessive shedding; blackened skin; dry, flaky skin; thickened, rough skin; oily, greasy skin.
Increased discharge; irritation of the skin in the ear area; shaking of the head; frequent ear infections; itching or pain of one or both ears.
Irritated eyes, eyelids; red eyes; itching eyes; cloudy eyes; excessive tearing, oozing; dull looking eyes;
Diarrhea and vomiting may be present; indigestion; bad breath; constipation; abnormal drooling; anal gland irritation;
Painful walking (joint pain); arthritis; painful back; stiff neck;
Cystitis; irregular heat cycles; bladder/kidney stones; increased urination; vaginal discharge; vaginal infections;
Itchy nose; coughing, sneezing and shortness of breath; snorting; nasal discharge;
In order to successfully treat Candidiasis it has to be diagnosed early. However it is important to differentiate possible Candidiasis from a various allergies, because many symptoms are very similar. Depending on the localization of infection and lesions/symptoms present diagnostic procedure to identify Candidiasis may vary. Biopsy might be taken to determine if there are yeast microorganisms present in the tissue. Urine sample should be taken, to see if there are any yeast forms present in urinary tract. Ear swabs are taken and cultured to check the presence of the Candida colonies.