Skin disease is frustrating! It’s hard to determine the cause and it’s even harder to treat.
… This is why skin disease is the number one cause of euthanasia in dogs today.
This is the reason I’m so dedicated to trying to find a way to deal with the chronic, uncomfortable, drug-laden, crappy quality of life so many dogs suffer with skin disease. I am a bit obsessed with it.
Since the creation of my Leaky Gut Protocol we’ve seen many hundreds of dogs relieved from what had been diagnosed as “allergies,” “skin disease,” “yeast” or “leaky gut” … but there were also a few who got worse on the program. I stay really close to customers using the protocol and I can tell you that this almost drove me insane. When I look at these dogs and their skin symptoms and see what drugs, foods and vaccines they’ve been given, it’s almost impossible to see why so many get better while others look about the same — or even get worse for a short period of time.
Well, now I know — and it’s called the Herxheimer Reaction or
Candida ( yeast) “die- off.”
I’m sure almost all these dogs have leaky gut so why did some get worse?
The Candida Effect
Thriving candida (yeast) releases a minimum of seventy-nine known toxins into the body, so not only is it itchy, it’s really systemically toxic. But dead and dying candida releases exponentially more!
Because the Leaky Gut Protocol I use has very potent pre and probiotics, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, dogs who are taking it burst into healing mode – and that is what makes some of them feel worse initially. All those amazing immune-building, gut-healing ingredients are amping up your dog’s body to kill, eradicate and destroy the yeast. This is absolutely what we want to do … but the problem arises when we’re killing yeast too quickly. In dogs who have a predominate yeast infestation, the toxins from the dead candida become too much for the body to handle all at once.
The cells of this shocking enemy create toxic chemicals that kill beneficial bacteria … bacteria that are paramount to the health of the immune system. Its waste produces toxic alcohols, acetone and hydrogen sulphide known as a nerve poison. And if that’s not bad enough, these single-cell organisms can change form into a multi-celled or mycelial fungal that have pileous (hairy) root-like projections. These penetrate the intestine causing gut trauma or leaky gut syndrome, decreasing its ability to absorb vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and fatty acids. This leads to nutritional deficiencies, autoimmune disease, malabsorption, allergies, cancer, arthritis, and more.
On The Merry-Go-Round
So, as you can see, figuring out what came first or whether your dog has allergies, yeast or leaky gut is a difficult puzzle to solve. The line is so fine between them and often they all go hand in hand. When we become so focused on finding out what your dog has, the merry-go-round has already started. More drugs are layered on top of each other, diet after diet is tried and allergy test after allergy test is done … but the fact remains your dog is still itchy and miserable.
Candida outbreaks can appear anywhere on your dog’s body and can often be the root cause of recurring ear infections, inflammation of the eyes with chronic tearing, hot spots, urinary tract infection, constant itching, impacted anal glands and joint pain. Because some of these symptoms can look like basic infections, conventional vets prescribe antibiotics, which make the candida 100 times worse. They are also often misdiagnosed as allergies and again given incorrect treatments. It’s often not until your dog’s skin turns black or the notorious yeasty smell develops that candida is diagnosed.
Short Term Relief From Drugs
Your dog might find temporary relief from the conventional drugs — antibiotics, steroids, anti-fungals, anti-yeasts, anti-inflammatories and antihistamines. But this relief comes with the potential for serious side effects.
The drugs are just suppressing the problem so that once they’ve run their course, the surviving cells multiply, repopulate and all the symptoms return. When this happens, it’s often much worse because, instead of eradicating the underlying condition, it’s been driven to a deeper level. I often explained to my clients that giving a steroid or anti-fungal was like putting duct tape on a leaky pipe: the water stops dripping but under that tape the hole is getting bigger and bigger and when the tape comes off (when the drugs stop) the water (the disease) explodes with a vengeance!
So where do we go from here?
How Do We Deal With This Enemy?
The most important thing is strategic timing.
The first step is reducing the yeast population with diet. Candida survives on sugar so a diet high in protein and fat and very low in carbohydrates (meaning zero grains and mostly green vegetables) will start to starve the cells.
2. Natural Anti-Fungal Remedies
Next we want to use natural methods to avoid mutation of the candida. When drugs are used on yeast they can outsmart science, mutate and become drug resistant, as we are seeing now with so many antibiotic resistant bacteria.
There are many natural anti fungals but be cautious. Just because they’re natural doesn’t mean you can’t overdose. Some dogs can have toxic reactions, even to something that’s very safe for humans. You can easily do too much too fast and create the intense die-off I mentioned above.
My two favorites anti-fungals are caprylic acid and pau d’arco. Caprylic acid is a nutraceutical derived from coconut oil, and is used specifically to kill yeast. Pau d’arco is a tree native to the Amazon and it works the best of any anti-fungal herb I’ve seen.
Give pau d’arco 4:1 dried herb, 12 mg per lb body weight divided into three doses a day.
Give caprylic acid per day according to your dog’s size: 25 mg toy; 50mg small; 100mg medium. 150mg large
3. Pre- And Probiotics
Pre- and probiotics are paramount in maintaining your dog’s defense against this enemy, but timing is everything! Giving probiotics too soon can cause your dog’s body to become overwhelmed by the toxins of the dead candida cells. This causes the skin to look worse and makes your dog much itchier and more uncomfortable. Therefore pre- and probiotics shouldn’t be given for at least two weeks prior to the diet change and the addition of the anti-fungals.
How To Handle The Yeast Die-Off
The toxicity of yeast die-off can overtax the detoxification system, including the liver, but don’t forget the skin is the body’s largest organ of the body and also one of the main detoxifying organs. This is why we see increased itching and lesions like hot spots when the die-off happens too quickly. The organism is dead, but its physical “carcass” remains until it’s broken down and eliminated, so you can imagine what the body’s dealing with. Depending on the amount of candida present it can take weeks or even months for the entire cleansing of the toxins to take place.
Liver And Digestive Support
Adding herbs like milk thistle or other liver healing herbs can support the organs in detoxing. A digestive enzyme between meals can decrease inflammation and aid in the digestion of the dead candida cells.
Many people don’t know this but a good quality digestive enzyme that contains animal as well as plant enzymes, given between meals (not with food), becomes a powerhouse as a systemic anti-inflammatory. It can help conditions from arthritis to cancer to yeast die-off!
Follow the recommended dose of liver support and digestive enzymes on the bottle of the product you choose. If it’s a human product, a good rule of thumb is a quarter of the recommended dose, but always check with your dog’s holistic veterinarian.
What About Gut Trauma?
Absolutely, we still need to deal with this.
The gut is the foundation of health as it absorbs nutrition, decreases food sensitivities, skin pathology, aging and diseases in general. The beneficial bacteria housed in the gut is your dog’s dominating factor for a strong immune system. It builds the defense mechanism against yeast pathogens that cause disease.
When you add up all the trauma that the yeast creates to the gut lining, as well as damage from the drugs that disturb and destroy those beneficial bacteria, it’s vital to bring the system back into balance.
This is when the introduction of pre- and probiotics happens, along with all the supportive herbs, homeopathic remedies and nutraceuticals that are geared towards healing leaky gut are introduced (see Dogs Naturally Magazine, May-June 2016 issue).
Even if your dog doesn’t have candida or yeast, tuning up or nourishing the gut with some kind of program once a year can only bring with it profound prevention on so many levels — including making your dog a poor host to yeast in the future.
What About My Dog’s Allergies?
If at all possible it’s best to try and avoid your dog’s allergens until the yeast is eradicated and the gut is healed. Once this happens then the food that your dog is sensitive to (as long as it’s healthy!) can be added back into the diet, with only ONE addition every three months.
Environmental allergies can also be alleviated by the healing of the gut as toxins or foreign substances will no longer enter the bloodstream.
You can help to minimize outside toxins by filling a 1 liter spray bottle three-quarters full of steeped green tea. Add 12 drops of calendula tincture and fill the rest with apple cider vinegar. Spritz your dog’s body and feet on the way outdoors and again when he comes back in.
What About All The Drugs My Dog’s Had?
I’ve always found it helpful to try to rid the body of as many of the harmful effects that come along with drugs and vaccinations. Using liver support will help with detoxification but there are some homeopathic remedies that are extremely helpful when dealing with drugs and yeast die-off.
To help get rid of the effects of drugs I used to use a combination of Nux Vomica 30C with Sulphur 30X twice per day for 3 days; for vaccines I’d use Thuja 200C with Silica 200C twice per day for 2 days.
It is my sincere hope that together with dedication, education and experience we can create the beautiful life that all of our pets deserve.