Candidiasis in dogs is a fungal disease caused by Candida spp. The fungus is dimorphic and normal inhabitants of the gastrointestinal tract, upper respiratory tract (URT), and genital mucosae. Candida is a sugar-digestive opportunistic yeast that is a normal flora of the oral cavity of animals. The yeast invades the tissue during severe immunosuppression.
Causes of Candidiasis in Dogs
The fungus Candida spp is the normal flora of the oral cavity, GI tract, URT, and genital tract. The overgrowth of the fungus is due to immune suppression, or prolonged use of broad-spectrum antibiotics, especially for wounds.
The fungus can affect any age of the dogs, and there are no predisposing factors. The causal fungal species in dogs are as follows:
- Candida albicans.
Clinical Signs of Canine Candidiasis
Clinical illness is usually associated with the presence of organisms and concurrent immunosuppression. Multiple organs may be affected in infected dogs and cats, including kidneys, brain, liver, heart, and eyes.
- Localized candidiasis is usually characterized by a nonhealing ulcer covered by a whitish-grey plaque with a hyperemic margin in the upper respiratory tract, oral cavity, and GIT.
- A whitish preputial or genital discharge may be seen in candidiasis of genital mucosa.
- Localized lesions are found in chronically immunosuppressed dogs and cats.
- A chronic moist exudative lesion may occur on the skin or at the nail beds.
- Systemic candidiasis is usually widespread, resulting in multiple organ involvement, including erythematous to hemorrhagic skin lesions, which eventually ulcerated.
- In disseminated candidiasis, clinical signs depend on the infected tissue or organ systems.
Diagnosis of Candidiasis in Dogs
Presumptive diagnosis is based on characteristic clinical signs, and confirmatory diagnosis is based on the isolation of the organism from specimens.
The specimens are taken from local lesions or peripheral blood in the case of disseminated candidiasis. Blood samples obtained from peripheral arteries rather than veins are preferred.
- Biopsy of the skin lesion, liver, spleen, lungs, or kidney.
- PCR test has been made available to detect Candida in blood and urine.
Differential Diagnosis of Canine Candidiasis
The disease is confused with the following diseases:
Treatment of Thrush in Dogs
The treatment protocols for canine candidiasis are as follows:
- Localized candidiasis lesions are best treated with local application of nystatin, gentian violet (1:10000), miconazole cream, and amphotericin-B lotions.
- Disseminated or systemic infection can be treated with systemic antifungal drugs such as Ketoconazole and itraconazole.
- You must clean the dog’s house, utensils, and grooming kit.
- Isolation of affected dogs from healthy dogs.
Concluding Remarks on Candidiasis in Dogs
Thrush is an opportunistic organism and an irritating disease in dogs and cats. The organism is a typical inhabitant of an animal body. The affected animal shows clinical signs during immunosuppression or is malnourished. The disease is easily prevented by maintaining a healthy diet, care, and management.