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Thrush in Dogs

Candidiasis in Dogs

Candida, a yeast that digests sugar, is a natural part of the microbial community in a dog’s mouth, nose, ears, and gastrointestinal and genital tracts. This opportunistic yeast may colonize damaged tissues in immunocompromised animals. Candidiasis occurs when there is an excessive growth of Candida in a dog’s body. Dogs of any age and breed can be affected, even without predisposing conditions. The fungal infection can be localized to a specific body part or become systemic, spreading throughout the entire body. In either case, the infection is likely to cause significant discomfort for the dog.

It’s important to note that this medical condition can impact both dogs and cats.


The symptoms of candidiasis vary depending on the location of the infection. For instance, in cases of ear infection, dogs may exhibit constant head shaking and scratching. If Candida affects the oral cavity, excessive drooling is typically observed. Bladder inflammation (cystitis) may occur if the infection settles in the urinary bladder. Other common signs of candidiasis include inflammation around intravenous (IV) catheters and gastronomy tubes, fever, skin irritation, and the presence of open sores (ulcerative lesions) on the skin.


Candidiasis can stem from various causes and risk factors. Dogs with traumatized or burned skin, or those with necrotizing dermatitis, are at an increased risk of developing the condition. Similarly, dogs with neutropenia or viral infections like parvovirus are susceptible. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes and urinary retention resulting from ureter tube narrowing, often following urethrostomy procedures, can also predispose dogs to Candida fungal infections. Dogs with indwelling catheters are at higher risk of contracting candidiasis as well.


The diagnosis of candidiasis involves several methods. When lesions are present, a biopsy is performed to confirm or rule out diseased tissue, determining whether yeast organisms have invaded the affected area. Urine samples are also collected to identify Candida colonies and concurrent bacterial infections in the urinary tract, indicating candidiasis. Urine analysis reveals yeast forms or clumps of mycelial elements. Ear swabs are cultured to detect the presence of Candida. In dogs with fever, catheter tips are cultured for both bacteria and fungi. Infected tissues typically exhibit white, cheesy foci, while inflamed tissues show high levels of yeast organisms in cases of candidiasis.


The treatment of candidiasis primarily focuses on enhancing and fortifying the immune system. For dogs with diabetes, it is crucial to manage the complications of the condition and control hyperadrenocorticism. Removal of any indwelling catheters is necessary. Medications commonly prescribed for candidiasis are administered topically to the skin or the affected area.

Living and Management

Once the symptoms of candidiasis have diminished, it is advisable to continue treatment for an additional two weeks. Subsequently, a culture of the infected areas should be repeated to assess the effectiveness of the treatment. Since candidiasis is frequently associated with underlying diseases like diabetes, it is critical to manage and control these conditions effectively.


As of now, there are no identified preventive measures for candidiasis in dogs.

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