Yeast infections don’t just happen in people, nor are they only in one location. In fact, they can happen anywhere that specific conditions are met…including the ground. Believe me, digging out a yeast pit in a paddock is unpleasant, but it is necessary to protect the horse. Here are some things you might need to know.
What is a yeast infection? The flora of the vagina naturally contains the fungus candida. As long as things are in balance, it’s not a problem. That is why almost everyone associates yeast infections with women and that portion of anatomy. In reality, candida can and does thrive in other locations.
Where else can it happen? Actually, the first time I heard about yeast infections was reading The Foxfire Book (the first in the series). It talked about thrush, which attacks a nursing mother’s nipples and the baby’s mouth, making nursing a painful process for both. Those of us who mother nature endowed with larger breasts can have difficulties between breast and chest/abdominal skin. It thrives where there is dampness, darkness and warmth. It is readily transmittable. A woman can infect a man, as well as the mother/child relationship. It can infect a horse’s hooves, which is why yeast pits are a problem.
How bad can it get? While it can be at the least uncomfortable and at the worst painful, it is rarely deadly. Vaginal infections often clear up by themselves, especially in premenopausal women. Menstruation helps in this area. The pain of nursing may make it hard to breast feed a child and may make the child not want to nurse. The doctor can help in this area.
Why the doctor? First, it’s best to make sure that’s what is happening. Second, while there are home remedies, what the doctor prescribes can work faster. Believe me, that’s a good thing.
What are the home remedies ? Garlic supplements can help greatly. There are also over the counter medications for vaginal yeast infections. If the infection is not vaginal, keep the area clean and dry. If you are dealing with an infant/mother infection *don’t* use anything but what the doctor orders. What’s in or on the mother’s body can end up in the milk.
If you’re wondering what we did about yeast pits, it’s simple. Sunlight kills the yeast, so what we did was dig out the area, spread the dirt around and let the sun do the job. This problem occurs in areas that aren’t properly cleaned or, in our case, when a horse chooses one particular spot to urinate. Proper hoof care will show when there is an infection; ask your vet or farrier what to look for and how to treat it. Some human treatments can work on horses, but don’t take chances.
That is actually the most important part of handling a yeast infection. Go to the doctor, pediatrician or other knowledgeable source and follow instructions. Yeast infections may not be deadly, but they are unpleasant.