Locality: West Texas
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: Yes
Where Caught: Gunner, an English Bulldog, got blastomycosis from hardwood landscaping mulch when we participated in a large landscaping project. It was damp and musty and when it got wet, it grew the most disgusting kinds of fungal things like I had never seen!
Symptoms: In order of appearance about 3 or 4 weeks after landscaping:
Week 1: temperature 103, cough, listless, loss of appatite. Took her to the vet. Got antibiotics.
3 weeks: Copious thirst and ate tons of grass. Not responding to antibiotics
Developed pneumonia. (4 or 5 different kinds of antibiotics including hospital stay requiring injections had no effect.)
Along with the pneumonia, the X-ray showed "spider web" in lungs, not the typical "snow flake" pattern.
2 months after first symptoms:Developed uveitis.
Got over pneumonia though x-rays still showed web like structure in lungs Vet atributed it to "scar tissue" but that was not where the pnemonia was. Lungs still rattles and continued to cough though less often or severe.
3 months:Retina detatched, participate visible in eyeball.
4 months: Cornea Folded. Developed Glaucoma.
Then she rallied and did really well for a couple of months though she became more and more picky about what she would eat. Begins to loose weight slowly but steadily.
5 months: Diagnosed with Spotted Rocky Mountain Fever further testing showed that she was getting over it.
6 months: Lumps begin to show up. All slides and biopsies negative.
7 months: Continue testing mystery lumps and get a diagnosis of cancer because they had seen Mast Cells. Pathologyst "feels" certain Gunner has cancer. I push for a difinitive, not a "feeling". Gunner continues to decline.
9 months: Total loss of appatite. No energy. Lumps are becoming enormous. More tests, all negative. Vet suspects fungus but does not treat for it. Huge absess on flank and little one on forearm begins draining.
9 1/2 months: Refuses to eat at all so begin force feeding.
10 months: eye ulcerates and is removed. Back legs have edima and don't seem to work properly. She seems dizzy and quite weak. I insist on treating for fungal infection as nothing else has worked so far and we have nothing but money to loose at this point. At the time of the surgery, every lump is biopsied. 10 days after surgery Blasto is officially diagnosed.
Treatment: Her initial treatments were tons of antibiotics. Because of the Demodex, they couldn't give her steroids (thank goodness). Then finally the vet threw up her hands and perscribed prayer. Finally, she was put on Keto, when I insisted she be treated for fungal infection even though we had not recieved a diagnosis yet. Then switched to Sporanox when Blasto was confirmed.
In 1 week she was like a new dog! Since switching to Sporanox she seems to have slowed down in her recovery some what. She is not out of the woods by a long shot.
Cost of Treatment: So far we have spent $7500.00 and still counting.
Additional Comments: Other conditions that led to a slow diagnosis were that we live in an area where Blasto is unheard of. Also, Gunner has Demodex Mange and she was suffering from Spotted Rocky Mountian Fever at the same time.
I think Gunner lasted so long with out diagnosis or treatment because everytime she gets antibiotics, I give her acidophilus and she was getting 2 teatree oil baths a week to keep the demodex in check. When she got a little better after the pneumonia, the vet switched me to medicine to treat the demodex which meant that I didn't have to bath her as often and she wasns't on antibiotics so I stopped the acidophilus. She went down hill quickly after that.