Zygomycosis is an uncommon skin disease caused by the class of fungi called Zygomycetes. Fungi in this class include Mucorales and Entomophthorales These fungi are found in the soil and live on decaying vegetation. The Zygomycetes fungi can often be found on the skin and coat of healthy dogs and cats but rarely cause any problems. This infection invades blood vessels.
Symptoms of Zygomycosis
There are two kinds of this infection. The subcutaneous type attacks under the skin forming nodules. These nodules may occur in the liver, the lungs, lymph nodes and the gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms can include jaundice, pneumonia and vomiting. Symptoms of abdominal zygomycosis may include bloody stools and diarrhea and bloody stools. The visceral form can be fatal.
Diagnosis of Zygomycosis
If Zygomycosis is suspected, it can be diagnosed through examining the fluid from the draining lesions under the microscope. The fungus can often be identified in the fluid or a biopsy of the nodule can be performed to confirm the diagnosis. There is an experimental blood test available to diagnose zygomycosis in people.
Treatment of Zygomycosis
The treatment for dogs and cats usually consists of surgical removal of the nodules followed by medications including amphotericin B, benzimidazoles, or potassium iodide. Surgery is usually necessary when the abdomen or lungs are infected. When the heart is infected the disease is often fatal. Statins combined with Amphotericin B combined with Satins can be used agains fungal infections caused by Zygomycetes species.
While this is a rare condition, it is often fatal. Therefore, if you see draining skin nodules on your dog or cat, you should contact your veterinarian and rule out zygomycosis as a potential cause.
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