Blastomycosis is a fungal disease that may affect humans or animals as a result of getting infected with the Blastomyces dermatitidis fungus. It starts upon inhalation of the fungal spores, where it makes its way to the airways and begins to multiply, most commonly through the respiratory tract.
According to research, this occurrence leads to the spread of the fungus throughout the body, which may infect other organs. In rare cases, the infection happens when there is contamination in an open wound.
Most commonly, the fungus can be found in areas in the environment that have sandy soil situated close to bodies of water.
- Blasto Symptoms in Dogs
- How to Diagnose and Identify?
- Blasto Treatment
- Pet Emergency Fund
Blasto Symptoms in Dogs
Among the blastomycosis dog symptoms are:
- Lack of appetite;
- Weight Loss;
Respiratory disease symptoms such as:
- Breathing difficulties;
- Intolerance to exercise;
- Ocular eye disease;
- Swelling in the eyes;
- Blindness (in more severe cases);
- Ulcerations in the skin;
- Tumor-like lesions on the face and nails.
It’s best to find ways to monitor your dog to know when something’s amiss. Having a pet camera such as the Petcube Cam allows you to monitor your dog well with its innovative features. Not only that but you also get access to an online vet service that lets you consult with certified vets 24/7.
How to Diagnose and Identify?
Diagnosing the disease in dogs involves your vet examining the consistency of the symptoms of the disease that your dog is exhibiting. If your dog has a history of living in or visiting endemic areas where blastomycosis is commonly found, for example, this will give your vet more reason to suspect blastomycosis and will initiate diagnosis.
Among the tests that your vet may recommend your dog to take are: blood and urine tests, radiographs, ultrasound, cytology / biopsy of specific lesions or an organ.
A cytology and/or histopathology is needed for a conclusive diagnosis of blastomycosis. Cytology involves examining cells through a microscope and is done by examining the fluid from an open wound or a lymph node/nodule that is aspirated. Meanwhile, biopsies may also be done through histopathology, which involves obtaining a tissue sample to examine cells using a microscope.
Fungal urine antigen testing can confirm the diagnosis and aid in monitoring and therapeutic treatment. Other kinds of fungus can be detected to show a positive result. Because of this, it is important to share your dog’s travel history in detail to help your vet interpret the results more accurately and give the corresponding treatment if your dog is indeed diagnosed with blastomycosis.
Another test that may be done to diagnose the disease is blood antibody testing which can be done when cytology or biopsy isn’t able to confirm the disease.
Treatment for blastomycosis in dogs is possible, and the majority of dogs have a good prognosis upon therapy, especially when the disease is diagnosed and treated early on. The downside is that it may take six or more months to treat which can be costly. Normally, therapy involves antifungal meds, pain relief measures, and supportive care such as intensive care and supplementation of oxygen for dogs who have a hard time breathing.
Meanwhile, dogs that have advanced lung disease, as well as those neurological diseases, need extra monitoring and care. If it affects the dog’s eye, this may need more aggressive care in order to save the eye. In some cases, however, removing the eye through surgery may be recommended to prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of the body.
To prevent your dog from getting blastomycosis, it is essential to be aware of endemic blastomycosis regions and avoid your dog from getting exposed to too many rivers, lakes, and soil that has been recently dug up. In addition to this, dogs must not be brought to a certain location where other dogs have been known to have been infected.
Pet Emergency Fund
When it comes to pet emergencies such as cases of severe blasto in dogs, it would really help to be assured of unexpected veterinary bills while looking out for your pet’s wellbeing. Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund makes it all possible.
With Pet Emergency Fund, you get $3000 a year, covering emergency vet bills of upto 6 pets. There are also no restrictions since both dogs and cats are covered, regardless of breed, age, and medical history. Pet Emergency Fund also has a fast coverage payment by providing direct payment to the vet on the time of the emergency (same day), unlike most pet insurances which may take a while to claim.
Not to mention, subscribers get access to 24/7 online vet help, so they can ask about their pet throughout the process. With Petcube’s Pet Emergency Fund, both your and your pet’s well-being is given importance.
Where is blastomycosis in dogs commonly found?
With the fungus’ preference in terms of environmental conditions, blastomycosis may be commonly found in certain North American regions. While it may still be present outside the said regions, it is rare to encounter dogs with blastomycosis who haven’t lived or traveled in these following areas: United States (Ohio Valley, Missouri, Mississippi, and the Mid-Atlantic States) & Canada (Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Southern Saskatchewan).
Can blastomycosis in dogs be contagious to humans as well?
When an animal is infected, it appears that the organism enters into a different form, so it doesn’t become contagious to other animals and humans. Nevertheless, it is best to practice good hygiene when handling infected dogs to take the side of caution.
Normally, the infected dog doesn’t need to be isolated from other pets and family members. The risk is when others come back to the same environment where the dog was infected.