Locality: North Alabama
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: No
Where Caught: Our family has 40 acres that is fenced-in with a small pond. This property is located in a very remote and mostly wooded area. Due to severe drought, the pond only had a couple of inches of water in it, yet I believe it had rained recently, just not enough to affect the pond level very much. Our Doc was wading around in the pond, the last time he was at this property. Doc is the only one that went to the pond and he is the only one sick thus far.
I really believe this may have been "the spot" in question, however we also own several acres with our homestead, that is fenced-in for the dogs. It is also partially wooded, so it is just as possible, he may have contracted it from around our own premises. I lost a dog to (confirmed) blasto 17yrs ago. We live in the same area, practically next door to that property, where the other dog had lived.
Symptoms: Coughing and upper respiratory symptoms
Spots in the lungs (that showed on x-ray)
Low grade fever
skin lesions and nodules and eventually several large masses
eye inflammation and redness
We have taken our dog to our vet twice thus far. The first time was on 11/04/10. I mentioned blasto from the get-go, having already lost a dog to this horrible disease 17yrs ago!
Our vet took a chest Xray and there was no snowflake pattern visible in the lungs, however there were several un-identified granuloma-type masses. The vet went over several possibilites, but was not ruling blasto out.
They checked his lymph nodes, but none were swollen. They aspirated one lump on his rear leg, but found nothing. They also tried to take a sample from another skin lesion, but they were unable to find anything there either.
He was running a slight fever at the time, so they put him on a good dose of antibiotics (cephalexin), incase it was something bacterial. They also did bloodwork, but everything came back normal.
The coughing has continued, although he stopped running fever. We took him back to the vet on 11-15-2010. His temp was normal. They checked his lymph nodes again and all seemed normal. They aspirated one of them, but found nothing. They also tried to take another sample from another skin lesion, but it also showed nothing.
We requested the Mira Vista urine test and for him to be started on an anti-fungal meds, preferrably fluconazole. The vet agreed and has prescribed fluconazole, while we await the results of the Mira Vista test. Doc's weight is approx 109lbs at this time.
11-24-10 We received the Mira Vista test results back and it came back negative. He tested at .44. See below in Treatment section.
Through the course of his affliction, Doc developed skin lesions. Some looked like round, lick granulomas the size of a quarter, while other nodules under the skin formed. The under the skin nodules, seemed to multiply with several growing into very large masses.
I regret to say that Doc passed away on 07-03-11. Between the last update and this one, he was checked by 3 different vets. He was eventually biopsied and the skin lesions could still not be pin pointed, other than some type of poorly differentiated round tumors, although they were contained within the skin itself and had not metastasized. Unfortunately he also had methicillin resistant staph which went systemic. He lived 10 months from the time his symptoms started, until the time of his passing.
08-18-12 After much research, I believe my initial thoughts of Doc having Blasto was close.. I believe him to have possibly had another similar disease (although one caused by a water mold) rather than a fungus. I believe Doc may have had what is called Subcutaneous Pythiosis or possibly Lagenidiosis. There is no way that I can positively conclude this without test results. Unfortunately, we did not have him autopsied at the time of death.
Treatment: 250mg fluconazole twice daily for a total of 500mg for 10 days and then to be re-evaluated.
He also takes several supplements, including 2000mg Ester-C and 400IU's of Vitamin E.
He has also been supplemented with 2 capsules of InflaMed (by Allergy Research Group) a few times a week. It contains Bromelain, Turmeric, MSM, Zinc and several other natural anti-inflammatory substances.
Also given Milk Thistle, to prevent liver toxicity.
For his eyes, we have been using Terramycin and Vetericyn Ohpthalmic Gel. The Vetericyn formula says it kills bacteria, fungi and viruses all, so hoping if we continue to use this, we can keep it from causing damage to them.
11-24-10 Since Doc's Mira Vista test came back negative, discussed a few other options with the vet.
Since they had tested 2 different lesions and didn't find anything, as well as aspirating a lymph node and not finding anything there either, we decided to change the course of treatment for Doc for now.
We decided to drop the fluconazole and go ahead and start him on doxycycline, in case this turned out to be a tick born disease instead. Still not ruling out blasto completely, but we will try the doxy for a few days and see if there is any improvement from it!!
He was kept on the doxycycline for at least a month or so. At one point he was also placed on cipro for a kidney infection. It cleared up, however he was unable to take any further antibiotics. We discovered that he had methicillin resistant staph (doggie kind). What few antibiotics choices we were given, he ended up having severe allergic reactions to and could not take.
We continued to give him natural supplements including lactoferrin, milk thistle, Azodyl for his kidneys, as well as a high potency multi-vitamin through the course of his illness. We also used Biotene Drinking Water Additive, Biotene Oral Gel Treatment. We also gave him Wobenzym N and K-9 Immunity.
Cost of Treatment: Between $300-400 at this time, which includes office visits, diagnostics & meds.
Total cost from beginning until end was around $2100 which not only includes vet visits, but meds and supplements as well.
Additional Comments: Please research and consider giving your animals not only extra nourishment, but extra supplements as well. Sick bodies often are depleted in many nutrients, so look into vitamins and supplements, that could compliment your dogs treatment plan and boost his/her immune system.
If you are concerned with giving steroids, why not try some of the natural anti-inflammatories and save the prednisones and others for the most serious or emergency situations.