Poor me, this morning I had to get my lepto vaccine :>( I dislike this vaccine so much I think I even blogged about it last year and called the post the "skunk bug". But I should stop being so self absorbed and talk about something that might be useful to my furry friends!
The doctors here at the clinic have been away at the OVMA Conference in Toronto learning all sorts of new and interesting things! (Don't worry - one of them always stays back to hold down the fort at the clinic.) Yesterday they learned about Malassezia - say what? I know, who names these things? Basically it's just yeast, no, not the kind you would make bread with but the kind that makes us dogs itchy and crazy!
There can be a very small amount of yeast in the ears and even less so on the skin all the time, but if the numbers get too high it makes us very uncomfortable. Our skin tends to get greasy, red, flaky and stinky - yuck! Apparently some dogs are more likely to get it than others, like dashunds (they love to grow it in their armpits!), Bassett Hounds, Cocker Spaniels and Shih Tzus. Some dogs are actually allergic to yeast and it only takes a few extra on their skin to make them really itchy and uncomfortable!
So how do we figure out if yeast is the problem? Usually these little beasties can be found on what is called skin cytology. A piece of clear tape is stuck on the skin then when it is lifted up all those little yeast bugs stay with it. Then it is stained and examined under a microscope. Yeast actually look like little snowmen under a microscope so they are fun to look for!
Fortunately there are a few ways we can deal with too many yeast on the skin. A medicated bath is one way, or medication in the form of a cream on the skin or a pill is another way.
This is very important news for our allergic friends! Whether they have food allergy, an allergy to something in the air or some other skin disease, they are at higher risk of also having yeast on their skin. If we don't treat the yeast then we won't really be scratching the itch! Something else the skin specialist mentioned that needs to be kept in mind: yeast usually grows out of control because of another problem, so we need to work hard to find out what that might be. Otherwise, you guessed it, the yeast comes back.
Well, I think I need a nap now, I am starting to feel a little sleepy after my vaccine, and am starting to feel a little itchy myself talking about this yeasty stuff.
I included a picture of a more delicious form of yeast :>) Now I'm hungry. Picutre courtesy of Pixabay.