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Fungal Infections in Dogs, Cats, and Horses

Updated: Apr 28

Various fungi and bacteria live on the skin and do not cause problems because they are controlled by the immune system. However, problems with the immune system or skin conditions altered by allergies and trauma, along with autoimmune diseases, or hormonal disorders, induce overgrowth of these organisms and cause significant infections. Skin infections can affect horses, dogs, and cats of any breed, age, or gender. Symptoms of fungal and bacterial infections include itching, hair loss, crusty skin, and misshapen or brittle nails. The most common species of bacteria associated with dog and cat skin infections is Staphylococcus, which causes Staphylococcal pyoderma. In the case that a treated staphylococcal infection returns, that may indicate that your pet has an allergy (hypersensitivity) to Staphylococcus.

The most common fungal infections that affect your pet's skin and ears are caused by Dermatophytes (Ringworms), or by yeast such as Candida or Malassezia. Dermatophytes and yeast infections that can affect your pet’s skin or nails are very contagious and spread through direct contact with infected animals, persons, or infected objects, including couches, rugs, and other household items. Early detection and treatment are essential in preventing the spread of these infections to other pets or pet owners. A yeast infection that causes inflammation in the ears can lead to severe pain and discharge from the ears.

Ringworm, yeast, and bacterial skin infections can easily be confused due to their common symptoms amongst them. Allergies reveal underlying health issues in most cases of recurrent fungal or bacterial infections that are not easy to treat. Seasonal allergies can affect your pets during the same season each year, but food allergies trigger skin/ear infections that can recur throughout the year. Recurrent infections are severe and long-lasting. In recurrent cases of skin infections, it is important to identify the primary cause and diagnose it with allergy testing. If it is not an allergy, then you may need to test your pet for hormonal diseases. Please, do not leave allergies in pets undiagnosed. Allergies can make your pet's life miserable.

Pet preferred diagnostics has the latest technologies to perform allergy and food intolerance tests for dogs, cats, and horses and a 24-hour turnaround time.

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