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Blastomycosis

During warm weather many of us have our dogs walking along waterways but there is a little known disease that affects dogs near some areas of water. 

Q. What is Blastomycosis?

A. Blastomycosis is a fungal organism that lives in sandy, acidic soil in close proximity to water. Conditions need to be perfect for it to survive and for the most part is found in small pockets instead of being widespread. The proximity to water appears to be very important. A study in Wisconsin showed that 95% of infected dogs lived within 400 yards of a body of water. This is a serious systemic fungel disease which can create a variety of respiratory, eye and skin lesions.

 

Q.  How does a dog become infected?

A. The dog inhales the spores from the soil. These travel down to the lungs which thereby become infected. From the lungs it can infect other sites such as eyes, skin, bones, lymph nodes and brain.

 

Q. What are the symptoms?

A.  Some symptoms are lack of appetite, fever, weight loss, coughing, eye problems. These can occur in a few days to a few weeks.

 

Q. If my dog is infected is it contagious?

A.  No, it cannot be directly transmitted to people or other dogs.  

 

Q. How can it be prevented?

A. Currently there is no vaccine available and there is no reliable soil test or elimination from the soil.

The best approach is knowing Blastomycosis occurs in our area, recognizing the symptoms and seeking prompt veterinary attention.