Locality: Collingwood, Ontario
Medical Diagnosis of Blastomycosis?: Yes
Where Caught: Using an incubation period of 30 - 100 days as a guideline, Will was exposed in Collingwood or at cottages also on Georgian Bay but in the area of Honey Harbour. He routinely hunted under cottages and docks and in Collingwood we walked along the edge of the old town dump which has been closed for years but was being bull dozed and levelled all through this summer. We walked through many old forest areas and ravines and along stream beds: all the ingredients necessary for contracting blasto.
Symptoms: Will had a cough a few months earlier but it had gone away after he was given a throat soothing ointment used for cats throwing up hairballs. This new cough was accompanied by lameness which looked a lot like a sore back. He bunny hopped up and down stairs. When we x rayed this area we made a point of including his lungs in the view because Roxy's x rays had such a huge mass of blasto. Will's were worse and his breathing had suddenly become quite laboured. He had no lesions or eye involvement. He ran a high temperature for about two weeks and once on Itraconazole he had blood and mucous in his stools which were very loose.
Treatment: Within an hour of Roxy's death we had Will admitted to the ICU and in an oxygen tent. He had started on Sporonox the night before and he was put on IV with painkillers. He was there for 12 days and at first barely acknowledged our visits. He was very close to dying and he continued to lose weight until he was a gaunt shell. Once released he was kept on Itraconazole for another week at a high dosage then cut back to half for an indefinite time. His 4 month x rays showed he still had a large mass in his lungs but it was starting to shrink. Total treatment with itraconazole as fourteen months in the end
Cost of Treatment: When he was released from the ICU his bill was $6500, prior to that $3-500 for diagnosis, x rays and his first meds, and subsequentlyanother $500 in x rays, blood tests and more Itraconazole now in the compounded form.
Total to date approx $7500
One year, many x rays, a year of Itra and one MiraVista test we are at $10000
Additional Comments: The only reason Will survived is that Roxy died and we recognized the now familiar "snowy" mass on his x rays. He deteriorated so quickly we would have lost him if we hadn't admitted him to the ICU when we did. Three days before he was admitted we were including the view of his lungs "just to be sure" so obviously he went from just a little lame to deathly ill very fast. In 10 days it will be one year since Will started treatment and he just tested weak positive with the MiraVista urine test so he will stay on the Itraconazole for one month AFTER he tests negative for blasto. It has been a long recovery but he is fat and happy and I don't regret the time or money we spent bringing him back from the brink.
We continued to treat Will with itraconazole for a total of fourteen months and then did the MiraVista test. His number was below one and we had the same number in July 2009 just two months short of the two year mark. He is fat and happy and we watch him carefully just in case.