Birdsafe California Bird Nerds
James Harris, DVM

Eating bread doesn't cause yeast infections

Our vet discovered an elevated yeast level in both our birds' poop during a routine exam. Since they'd both had bread the night before, we were inclined to believe the high yeast was from the bread. However, we started wondering if there are any symptoms we should look for in the event they do develop yeast infections. Both birds are healthy, eat fruits and veggies every day, and have plenty of fresh water. What could cause a yeast infection and what are the symptoms?

-- Dyane Vaughan, Charlotte, N.C.

While eating bread can raise the level of yeast found in droppings, the yeast that is used in baking bread does not cause disease. Other harmless yeasts occur in the environment and on fruits and vegetables. The types of yeast that produce disease are found on and in animals. Normally, bacteria and acids in the skin and intestinal tract keep the yeast under control. However, conditions that change PH, such as infections and long-term administration of antibiotics, can bring on a yeast infection. In birds, symptoms include itchy skin, lesions and loose droppings that have a sweet, yeasty odor. To determine whether your bird has a yeast infection, a veterinarian cultures a sample dropping. If there's an infection, he will treat it with some type of anti-fungal agent such as fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole or miconazole. Mycostatin is also used but must have direct contact with the yeast to be effective.

Dr. James Harris James Harris, DVM is owner and medical director of the Mayfair Veterinary Clinic in Sandy Bay, Tasmania, Australia. He founded Montclair Veterinary Hospital in Oakland, Calif., and has served as medical director and chairman of the board for the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Berkeley. Dr. Harris' numerous professional honors include California and National Bustad Companion Animal DVM Awards. Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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