Candida spp

From Dog
Generalized alopecia associated with Candida albicans in a dog

Candida spp are a ubiquitous saprophytic yeast which can act opportunistically as a dermatophyte on dog skin[1].

Candida albicans is not a member of the normal skin flora and its presence is always the expression of a pathologic state and of its intrinsic pathogenicity[2].

Species which are pathogenic to dogs include:

  • Candida albicans
  • Candida parapsilosis[3]
  • Candida tropicalis[4]
  • Candida glabrata (formerly Torulopsis glabrata)

These yeasts are widely distributed in the environment and frequently colonized the skin and mucous membranes (such as the oral cavity) and genital and gastrointestinal tracts of dogs[5].

Immunosuppressive states appear to preclude dogs to developing candidiasis, such as iatrogenic infections associated with wound dehiscence[6][7], candidial endocarditis following prolonged immunosuppression therapy[8] and candidiasis associated with metastatic mast cell tumors[9].

In dogs, yeasts belonging to Candida genus prefer constantly humid areas, which favor tissue maceration, as occurs in mucous membranes, mucocutaneous junctions, intertriginous areas, nail substructure inter-fingers areas, ear canals and the lateral face of the ear and genital tract membrane[10].

Clinically affected dogs present with generalized seborrheic dermatitis, alopecia, patchy erythema, and superficial erosions with histological evidence of mural folliculitis. Dogs with systemic candidiasis present with more general symptoms referable to the organs affected, but peritonitis and chronic cystitis[11] have been reported.

Diagnosis is based on culture of the fungus. A differential diagnosis would include other dermatophytes such as Microsporum spp and Malassezia spp.

Treatment is usually empirical, with antifungal chemotherapy such as ketoconazole, itraconazole[12] or terbinafine.

In dogs with candida-related cystitis, intermittent bladder irrigation with clotrimazole has been reported as being successful[11].


  1. Lee HA et al (2011) Mural folliculitis and alopecia with cutaneous candidiasis in a beagle dog. Lab Anim Res 27(1):63-65
  2. Carlotti DN (1997) Canine and feline superficial fungal skin infections. Vet Quart 19(1):S45–S46
  3. Brito EH et al (2009) The anatomical distribution and antimicrobial susceptibility of yeast species isolated from healthy dogs. Vet J 182(2):320-326
  4. Yurayart C et al (2011) Comparative analysis of the frequency, distribution and population sizes of yeasts associated with canine seborrheic dermatitis and healthy skin. Vet Microbiol 148(2-4):356-362
  5. Fotos PG & Hellstein JW (1991) Candida and candidiasis. Epidemiology, diagnosis and therapeutic management. Dent Clin North Am 36(4):857–878
  6. Rogers CL et al (2009) Disseminated candidiasis secondary to fungal and bacterial peritonitis in a young dog. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio) 19(2):193-198
  7. Ong RK et al' (2010) Candida albicans peritonitis in a dog. J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio) 20(1):143-147
  8. Mohri T et al (2009) Purulent pericarditis in a dog administered immune-suppressing drugs. J Vet Med Sci 71(5):669-672
  9. Matsuda K et al (2009) Systemic candidiasis and mesenteric mast cell tumor with multiple metastases in a dog. J Vet Med Sci 71(2):229-232
  10. Cleff MB et al (2005) Isolation of Candida spp from vaginal microbiota of healthy canine females during estrous cycle. Braz J Microbiol 36(2):201–204
  11. 11.0 11.1 Forward ZA et al (2002) Use of intermittent bladder infusion with clotrimazole for treatment of candiduria in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc 220(10):1496-1498
  12. Okabayashi K et al (2009) Antifungal activity of itraconazole and voriconazole against clinical isolates obtained from animals with mycoses. Nihon Ishinkin Gakkai Zasshi 50(2):91-94