Locality: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: No
Where Caught: Surf loved the water. She'd always play just into the water from the shore and she'd dig in the dirt for hours. She swam many times in the summer before she died - in swamps and lakes in the Sault Ste. Marie area of Ontario.
Symptoms: First phase: coughing, gagging, depression
Next: Fever. Then she stopped eating and started dragging her back paw and leg.
Vet did lung x-rays and first thought it might be lung cancer but it was spread through both of her lungs in a pattern that was inconsistent with lung cancer.
Her breathing was fast and shallow. She would still drink on her own and pee when I carried her outside, but she was very still inside, only getting up to walk a few times a day. Sometimes she was too weak to lift her head. We tried so hard to get her to eat something, but she just wasn't interested in any food.
Treatment: Not much. Amoxicillin when she had a cough and fever. A shot of Baytril a week later after her lung x-ray and she couldn't walk much anymore. After the x-ray and Baytril, I brought her home. Vet gave me the option of not even bringing her home - her prognosis was so poor.
Cost of Treatment: N/A
Additional Comments: I didn't get a positive diagnosis for Blastomycosis. They did send a slide away of some goop that she coughed up, but I learned afterwards that Blastomycosis can only be found in a very fresh sampling, which is why none of Surf's swabs or phlegm slides showed it. The sample did not show blastomycosis or cancer, just lots of bacteria and dead cells.
They wanted to do a lung wash to make a diagnosis but she was so weak at that point I didn't think she'd survive the anaesthetic.
When she started dragging her back leg and paw, the vet did a neurological check by testing her reflex when her paw was flipped under. She couldn't flip it back. This is a sign that she had neurological damage.
I should have had Surf's cough checked earlier. My other dog, her brother, died just before Surf got sick and I passed off her depression as sadness that she was alone - not that she was sick.
I had to put her down just 5 weeks after her first cough. For the first 3 weeks she had a cough and I didn't know what it was but it didn't seem too bad. She didn't cough at night, just a few times a day - at the peak - maybe a couple times an hour.
She crashed fast in the 2 weeks after that. At the end, she wasn't even mobile anymore. I don't think she would have made another day on her own.