Blastomycosis in dogs is a serious systemic fungal disease. Most cases of Blastomycosis fungus is found in acidic, damp, sandy, soil containing decaying vegetation. Hunting dogs are especially susceptible as they may be used to hunt where these soil conditions exist.
Blastomycosis can be inhaled or it can enter the bloodstream through open sores. It will eventually spread to the lungs or the lymph nodes. It can be the cause of lesions in the skin and cause respiratory problems. Blastomycosis can be fatal if not quickly diagnosed and treated.
Symptoms of Blastomycosis
Symptoms of blastomycosis are: shortness of breath, coughing, skin lesions, red and swollen eyes, tearing of the eyes (possibly with cloudy cornea), weight loss and loss of muscle tone. Most blastomycosis cases have lung lesions with dry, harsh lung noises. Many dogs get eye lesions with possible retinal detachment and bleeding. Skin lesions are also symptomatic, frequently ulcerated and draining. Lameness is another indicator.
Diagnosis of Blastomycosis
Blastomycosis is diagnosed based on history, symptoms and then identification of the organism under a microscope or through an antigen blood test. Smears from skin lesions or from aspirates of enlarged lymph nodes will contain identifiable blastomycosis organisms about half of the time. Collection of samples from the bronchi will also contain organisms in some instances. In cases where the disease is suspected but the organisms cannot be found microscopically or diagnostic resources are limited, an antigen blood test can be performed. T
Treatment of Blastomycosis
Itraconazole, an anti-fungal medication is administered orally for sixty to ninety days. As the medication begins to work inflammation is a side-affect which can make the symptoms seem worse for a few weeks.
Caution: blastomycosis can be transmitted to people
Caution must be taken when you are around your infected dog. Frequent hand washing is required and wearing gloves is recommended.
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