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Fungus/Yeast in Canines, Kitten Vaccines and Tear Stains in Dogs

Fungus/Yeast in Canines, Kitten Vaccines and Tear Stains in Dogs

Fungal or yeast infections commonly known as "thrush" are probably the most under-diagnosed, misdiagnosed and least treated medical condition in the canine. Malodorous crusty skin, swollen ear flaps, inflamed ear canals and unresponsive coughs can very well be fungal infections. If untreated, skin and ear conditions may never recover and deep fungal infections in the lungs may lead to death. Common areas of the body targeted by fungus are the skin, folds, ears, underbelly, nails, armpits and the anal area. Skin thickens, reddens, itches and smells awful. Skin lines the outer ear canal that is already anatomically poorly designed as a cavern with a poor oxygen supply. Fungal ear infections easily and quickly become a menace to good health. The two fungal infections most prominent on the skin and ears are Malessezia and Ringworm. They can be very contagious and transmissible to other animals and people. Lung and respiratory fungal infections are primarily caused by Aspergillus. a fungus found in soil. Instead of eggs, fungi have spores that can remain viable for a year and can be transmitted to animals and people either by direct contact or inhaled through contaminated air. It is said that fungus pathogens  are opportunistic attacking debilitated skin and lungs already beaten mercilessly  by competing bacteria. Effective treatment must include both topical and internal anti-fungal shampoos, sprays, ointments, antibiotics and oral medicines. Recovery and cure never is achieved overnight and some treatments require multiple approaches lasting up to a year. Untreated fungal infections never spontaneously cure themselves and if remain untreated will lead to chronic symptoms affecting the health of the dog for life. Skin, ear and breathing problems that don't respond to "home remedies"  in a couple of days should always be seen by a veterinarian ASAP.


Kittens enter our homes either as an orphan, from breeders or from our family queen. They, like dogs and people, need early protection from deadly contagious diseases via the vaccine route. The orphan kitten in particular should be tested for the presence of feline Leukemia and feline Aids before administering the first series of kitten vaccines. Vaccines should be given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age and include protection for  feline panleukopenia, rhinotracheitis, calici virus, feline leukemia and rabies. Because of the extreme contagious nature of feline diseases, all feline vaccines should be repeated on an annual basis or at your veterinarians' recommendation. Side effects from vaccines are rare in the kitten with the primary complaint being sleepy, absence of appetite and sore or lumpy injection sites. Those rare reactions are short lived and disappear in a day or two. Anaphylaxis reactions to vaccines in the cat are extremely rare and never seen in the life of most practicing veterinarians. The controversy of potential skin cancer triggered at vaccine injection sites has many detractors in the veterinary profession and more studies need to be conducted to conclusively prove that a vaccine may be the cause of the skin cancer. The cost of vaccines varies dramatically from veterinary clinic to clinic. Prices for vaccine packages may be as low as $40 and as high as $200. Be responsible review and compare prices for vaccines and professional care on veterinarian hospital websites.


On the outer corner of eyes are lacrimal tear glands producing tears that lubricate the eyeball with each blink of the eye. Tears wash across the eye filtering through the lacrimal tear duct located in the inside corner of the eye with final destination passing through the nasal cavity. If excessive amounts of tears are produced or if the tear duct is too small to accommodate, tears wash over the lower eyelid and stain the hairs adjacent to the eyelid. A few medical eye conditions may increase tear production, but excess tears primarily are the result of anatomical defects of the eye. Porphyrins, iron carrying molecules from metabolized red blood cells, are mixed in tears and when coming into contact with dogs' hair causes a chemical reaction producing the red-orange stain . Porphyrins are also located in saliva and urine and may produce similar stains around the mouth and vaginal areas of the pet and paws with excessively licking. Tetracycline antibiotic was an early treatment resulting in excellent rapid and complete tear stain removal. Unfortunately, the antibiotic also produces a medical condition called blood dyscrasia debilitating the pet and no longer an option in tear stain removal. Many OTC products are currently available, both oral and topical, with mixed results. The two products with the most effectiveness that I recommend are Angel Eyes oral supplement and Epi-Pet Ear Cleaner topical solution. Because stain is perpetually formed, continual and regular treatment also needs to be applied. 

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