General information on Blastomycosis
Blastomycosis is a systemic fungal infection. The infection originates in the respiratory system. Once the fungal infection has manifested itself in the lower respiratory system, without treatment, the infection can spread to the blood stream becoming systemic and can lead to a condition known as bronchopneumonia. All dogs can contract the infection. However, blastomycosis is most commonly seen in humid areas such as the Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio Rivers, the Great Lakes, and along the East Coast of the United States. The fungus, Blastomyces dermatitidis, that causes blastomycosis is found in decaying organic, moist materials, such as rotting wood, soil, and bird feces. The fungal infection occurs when the dog inhales the fungal spores. Due to that fact that dogs are prone to rubbing their noses in soil during activities such as digging, dogs are more prone to contracting blastomycosis than humans. The symptoms of blastomycosis can be similar to other respiratory conditions. As a result, a veterinarian is needed for a diagnosis.
Symptoms of Blastomycosis
Some of the symptoms of blastomycosis may be fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, anorexia, lameness, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Depending on where the infection spreads to, other symptoms that may be seen are pus-filled skin lesions, discharge from the eyes, and inflammation of the eyes.
Treatments for Blastomycosis
The treatment for blastomycosis is antifungal medications. The most common antifungals used in treatment are a combination of amphotericin B and imidazoles. Treatment last for months, usually a minimum of two months, and for approximately one month after the symptoms are no longer visible. In cases where the affected dog is having severe difficulty breathing, supplemental oxygen may be required. In some cases, the affected dog may relapse up to years later.
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