There are a number of different types of infections that can affect our furry friends, from bacterial to fungal and more. In this article, our Egg Harbor Township vets talk about Blastomycosis, also known as 'Blasto', the symptoms of this condition and its effect on your dog's body.
What is blastomycosis in dogs?
Blastomycosis is a fungal infection caused by Blastomyce dermatitis that can affect both humans and animals. The fungus typically enters the body through the respiratory system and settles in the small airways, where it begins to reproduce. From this point, the infection will make its way around the body causing further infections and potential complications.
What are the symptoms of blastomycosis in dogs?
Blastomycosis symptoms in dogs can include one or more of the following, depending on which organ system is infected:
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
- Lymph node swelling
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin lesions (pimples/pustules, sometimes with draining tracts, and rash-like lesions)
What causes blastomycosis?
Blastomycosis is a disease that usually happens when dogs inhale airborne spores from contaminated soil that has been disturbed by human or animal activity. Hunting and sport dogs are some of the most commonly affected dogs as they frequently spend time rummaging around in these contaminated areas.
The disease can also enter through the skin, particularly in areas with water and decomposing matter or sites that have been recently disturbed by construction.
Diagnosing Blastomycosis Infections in Dogs
To diagnose blastomycosis, a thorough physical examination will be conducted. Since it can be confused with other ailments, it is crucial for the veterinarian to eliminate any other common conditions. Our veterinarian will conduct in-house tests, including blood, urinalysis, biopsies, and imaging (such as X-rays, Ultrasound, or CT scans). It is vital to inform the vet about the dog's whereabouts and if they have been to high-risk exposure areas for detailed analysis.
Treatment Options for Blastomycosis in Dogs
Blastomycosis in dogs is usually treated with antifungal medications that are given orally and can last for several months. If the illness is not severe, your dog can receive treatment at home.
However, if your dog experiences difficulty breathing, hospitalization and oxygen therapy may be necessary until improvement is shown.
In severe cases where medication fails, prolonged hospital stays, intravenous medications, and additional care may be required.
Dogs with severe eye involvement may not respond well to treatment and may require topical medications.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.