Blastomycosis


Blastomycosis

"...blastomycosis, a potentially fatal infection affecting multiple vital organs...

"The microscopic fungus.. responsible for blastomycosis lives as a mold in soil and periodically releases invisible spores into the air, which dogs, other animals, and people inadvertently inhale. At body temperature, the spores morph into yeasts and infect the lungs...

"Blasto lurks in a fairly well-defined zone in the Upper Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeastern states, as well as the Ohio and Mississippi River basins. The fungus occurs more frequently around wetlands and waterways...

"Blastomycosis emerges in the fall...

"Major risk factors include living or spending time near water. Disturbing the soil... may unearth and release spores...

"...symptoms: loss of appetite, weight loss; fever... cough, shortness of breath (exercise intolerance); open sores or lumps on the skin that drain blood or pus; pain in a limb or joint (limping); cloudy, bulging, red or painful eyes; and seizures...

"The newer-generation anti-fungal medicines... for an 80-pound dog.. can cost in excess of $1,000. However, "not treating is not an option," Paretsky says. "Either you treat, or you euthanize, because the disease is fatal, and it's not a pleasant way to go."

"With treatment, 85 percent of dogs survive... 25 percent will suffer at least one relapse, necessitating repeat therapy...

"Avoid taking your dog to known hot spots for blasto..." (Bertram, Susan. "Fatal Fungus." Dog Fancy, September 2003, 22).