Malassezia diet

Written by colleen o'brien
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Malassezia diet
A healthy diet can help fight infection. (holz abnagen image by Angelika Bentin from Fotolia.com)

Malassezia is a type of yeast that is found on the skin of healthy dogs. If it multiplies, it can cause infections throughout the dog's body. If this occurs, it's important to treat this problem from the inside out. A diet formulated to balance your dog's intestinal bacteria will help stop this overgrowth and alleviate irritation and symptoms caused by yeast infections.

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Significance

A dog's system contains "bad" and "good" bacteria. Generally, they live in harmony and are able to fight off infection and support a dog's immune system. When the bad bacteria grow out of control, this can cause yeast infections, or malassezia, on the skin. This overabundance of yeast can lead to skin irritation and infections in the ears, anal area or all over a dog's body. Proper diet can help maintain the balance of intestinal bacteria in your dog's system, which can help prevent these health issues.

Dietary Considerations

Carbohydrates are converted into sugars in a dog's system. Sugar feeds yeast. If a dog eats high-quality food that doesn't contain an abundance of carbohydrates, grains and fillers, the yeast is less likely to multiply. Check your dog's food label to ensure that the first ingredient is a single-source protein, such as chicken, lamb or fish. A teaspoon of plain yoghurt on your dog's food every day can also help kill the bad bacteria and restore balance to his system.

Changing Food

New foods should be introduced gradually. The first day you switch foods, mix 25 per cent of the new food with 75 per cent of the regular food. On the second day, serve a 50/50 mix. Gradually increase the amount of the new food, while decreasing the amount of the old food. This will put less stress on the digestive tract and help her acclimate to her new diet.

Supplements

Depending on the severity of the infection, your vet may recommend supplements to help manage the yeast overpopulation. A supplement that contains probiotics, or "good" bacteria, to help fight the infection-causing bacteria may be suggested. Omega-3 and omega-6 capsules help promote good skin health. They help reduce inflammation and itching by slowing the growth of malassezia on the skin.

Benefits

If a dog's intestinal flora is out of balance, this can suppress his immune system, which makes it more difficult for him to fight infection. A malassezia diet can help maintain a healthy, strong immune system by helping to maintain the equilibrium of bacteria in his digestive system. This can help reduce yeast overgrowth on the skin, which reduces the symptoms of infection, such as itching, foul odour and irritation.

Side Effects

Too much yoghurt may cause diarrhoea in dogs. If this occurs, reduce the serving of yoghurt to 1/2 tsp. If you notice vomiting or other unusual behaviour as you switch foods, don't continue to increase the amount of new food. Slowly return to giving your dog her regular food. If health issues persist, contact your vet.

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