Blastomycosis

Overview

Blastomycosis is a condition in dogs caused exclusively by the Blastomycosis fungi.

The Blastomycosis fungi itself is a type of fungus that is popularly found in soil or on and around decaying organic material such as wood that is rotting.

Areas that are based around ponds, lakes and marshes in the UK are particularly at a higher risk. UK dog owners should take extra care when allowing dogs of all breeds to frequent these places.

Blastomycosis is sometimes known in the UK dog owner community as:

  • Blasto
  • Fungal Infection
  • Blasto Dermatitis
  • Gilchrist’s disease

Blastomycosis in UK dogs is not thought to be spreadable from human to canine. However, humans can catch the fungal infection in much the same way that dogs do in affected areas.

Symptoms

Symptoms of blastomycosis in UK dogs can vary wildly depending on the breed and the level of infection.

The most common symptoms tend to be the following:

  • Loss of appetite or interest in food.
  • Loss of weight.
  • Irritated Eyes
  • A higher than average fever.
  • Coughing with discomfort.
  • Sores or lesions anywhere on the dog’s body.
  • Lame limbs or trouble walking and running.

If your dog suffers from any of these symptoms then you should take them to a UK veterinarian as soon as possible.

Affected Breeds

Due to the areas listed above as particularly at risk for contracting blastomycosis, dog breeds most at risk tend to be gun dogs.

The reason for this is that most working dogs tend to be outside in all weathers on land surrounding lakes or marshes.

These breeds that are most susceptible are:

Whilst working dogs are at higher risk, the fungus does not discriminate by breed. The dog breeds listed above represent the vast majority of formerly infected breeds in the UK to date. ~This is likely because of their environment as opposed to their breed.

Treatment

It is very important that diagnosis and treatment of blastomycosis is treated with urgency. When blastomycosis is left untreated it can unfortunately be fatal for you dog regardless of your dog’s breed.

It is also important to note that this condition will not go away if left untreated, your dog will gradually deteriorate with symptoms worsening.

There are many drug treatments available in the UK to treat blastomycosis. Most treatments recommended by a vet will consist of anti-fungal medication such as fluconazole or itraconazole.

UK Dogs will likely need to be treated by this anti-fungal medication for a minimum of 3 months up to a maximum of 9 months. This time frame is heavily dependant on the individual dog and dog breed.

Treatment Success Rate

Unfortunately not all dogs being treated for blastomycosis will survive. This is unfortunately the case whether the fungal infection is caught early or not but chances of success do increase on early intervention.

The common consensus of success rate for blastomycosis in UK dogs is around the 85% mark.

UK dog owners who have their dogs treated with urgency see the highest success rates. As always, being vigilant as a dog owner ghas a big part to play in that

Further Reading

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