Author Topic: Early detection and treatment of blastomycosis is key to survival  (Read 3663 times)

Offline Lisa

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Early detection and treatment of blastomycosis is key to survival

Q. Recently my neighbor's dog died from a disease called blasto. I am new to the area and have never heard of this problem. What is it, and how can I prevent it?—Blastophobic

A. Blasto, or blastomycosis, is a fungal infection in dogs and people acquired from inhaling spores from the soil.

The most common site of entry is the lung, where it causes  pneumonia. From there the fungal elements can disseminate to distant parts of the body, especially the eye, skin, brain and bone, and if left untreated, is fatal.

This results in a multitude of clinical signs, and can make diagnosis challenging. As a general rule, any dog that has a fever, a cough, and reduced appetite is a suspect for blastomycosis, and this disease must be excluded as soon as possible.

The disease appears to be present in many areas in the Northwoods, favoring acidic fertile wet soils. In order to inhale the organism, the soil must become dry and dusty. An especially likely area are the dried lakeshore beds, as our water levels recede in drought periods.

The key to successfully treating blasto is early diagnosis and treatment. An accurate urine test has become available, and the oral anti-fungal medications have become much less expensive, resulting in improved survival.

Unfortunately, there is no prevention at this time, but success rates more than 90 percent with early diagnosis and treatment have become the norm.

The most important thing an owner can do to save his or her dog from blastomycosis is early detection. Remember, any dog with a cough and loss of appetite should be examined right away.