Overview of Canine Blastomycosis
Blastomycosis, commonly referred to as “Blasto”, is a systemic disease that can occur in dogs caused by a fungus present in the soil of certain regions, such as Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River Valley. The organism is present in the soil and infection occurs by inhalation of the fungus. Once infection is established in the lung, the fungus changes its characteristics by converting from the mycelial form into the yeast form and spreads to other organs causing a disseminated infection.
This fungus exists in two different forms:
Hunting dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors and live in endemic areas are at risk for inhaling this organism and developing the disease.
Some animals may be infected but not show clinical signs for a long time. These animals are not a risk for contagion of other animals and people because the stage of the organism present in the animal’s tissues is not that of an infectious stage.
If left untreated, these dogs can become seriously ill. Dogs may develop infection in the kidneys, eyes, brain and bones. According to the organ that is affected, the clinical signs may vary. They may have ocular problems or neurological signs like seizures and head tilt. In some dogs lameness may be the primary complaint due to infection in the bones.
What to Watch For
Symptoms of blastomycosis in dogs may include:
Diagnosis of Blastomycosis in Dogs
Suspicion of blastomycosis comes from the history of living in an area at risk for this infection, especially in animals that hunt or spend a lot of time outside. Clinical signs may not be very specific.
Treatment of Blastomycosis in Dogs
Home Care and Prevention
It is important that you administer the medications as instructed by your veterinarian and that you monitor the appetite and bowel movements of your pet. Some drugs may induce nausea and vomiting. If your pet stops eating, your veterinarian needs to be notified immediately.
There is no vaccine or effective way of disinfecting the contaminated soil.
In-depth Information on Blastomycosis in Dogs
Other medical problems can cause symptoms similar to those encountered in pets with blastomycosis. Your vet will exclude these conditions as necessary before establishing a diagnosis of blastomycosis:
Blastomycosis is a systemic disease caused by a fungus (Blastomyces dermatidis) present in the soil of certain geographic regions like Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River Valley). Dogs and people are most commonly infected.
Infection occurs by inhalation of spores from the “mycelial” form of the organism found in the environment, especially moist soil. After the organism becomes established in the lung, dissemination throughout the body occurs. Blastomycosis is endemic in the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio River valleys.