Locality: Marquette, Michigan
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: Yes
Where Caught: Unable to say where the Blasto was caught. We hunted 5 or 6 states, mostly Michigan and Wisconsin that prior year. Mostly likely (% of time spent in area with known blasto infections) would be Marquette County Michigan's Upper Peninsula. However, we spent much time in Central Wisconsin, also a known hot spot.
What is sure, is that the Blasto lay dormant for some time, thus the often reported "latency" period. Knight became symptomatic in January. I'm pretty sure he didn't catch it through several feet of snow. Most likely it was the prior hunting season. We had traveled to both upper and lower Michigan, Iowa, North and south Dakotas and maybe hunted Minnesota.
Symptoms: Knight had the rarer form of cutaneous Blasto. He started in a front toe and spread upward through his leg and, of course, straight for the lungs.
First symptoms; suppurating sore on toe. Swelling of foot and leg. High fever. Lethergy, lameness, lack of appetite. Pronounced malaise.
Swelling progressed over night to include most of the leg.
Visit to the vet Monday AM resulted in no obvious foreign body in sore on toe. My incredibly savvy Vet immediately sent samples off for Fungal titer and Blasto culture.
Treatment: Days past waiting for results, while various supportive measures were taken. Several days later Xrays taken all but proved blasto. We began Sporonox without clinical "proof"
My vet initially suggested only oral Sporonox. My research had found a Vet in Northern Wisconsin who has great success with numerous cases using Amphotericin-B as well as sporonox.
My Vet was eager to consult and changed Knights treatment to IV ampho every other day with renal blood work done alternating until his fever broke, then Sporonox for about 4.5 months following and radiograph suggested only scarring remained.
As Knight aged, we were always on the lookout for a reoccurrence. Knight was a hard running English Pointer and developed pretty severe Arthritis. At one point a fore leg with severe swelling in the "wrist joint" was opened up and biopsied for suspect blasto, however it was only Arthritis.
Cost of Treatment: I recall submitting over $3100 to the Pet insurance company VIP. They paid about $2100 total. Most of the out of pocket was for the compounded itraconozole. In 2002 it was quite expensive at about $8 or $9 a pill. Can't quite remember at this late date.
Additional Comments: Knighty survived to the ripe young age of 12. He ultimately died of liver cancer. Some might blame the Rimadyl we had him on for the Arthritis. I suppose all those chemicals he was on for such a long time did their damage. But they let him live a much longer and healthier life than he would have without.
I credit the fast action and knowledge of Dr. Jean Wilcox of the Gwinn Sawyer Vet clinic in Gwinn Michigan. Not only her but her superb staff that nursed Knight, day and night, and made outstanding arrangements to suit our schedule and finances.
Without this fine example of Veterinary medicine and Care, Knight would be naught but a statistic on the wrong side of the equasion.
If anyone ever needs to visit a vet while in Marquette Michigan, stop by and visit Dr. Wilcox. Tell her Knighty sent you.