What is Blastomycosis and Does It Affect Dogs?

For many of us, seeing our dog run joyfully through a forest, farm, stream, or campground brings us as much joy as it brings them.  It is obviously very healthy for dogs to run and play, but there is a risk that all dog owners should know about.

Blastomycosis is a fungal infection caused by an organism commonly found in decaying wood and soil, often near a body of water. The spores can become airborne more easily when the weather is dry or where the soil has been recently disrupted. When dogs sniff around and inhale this fungus it can put them at higher risk for this fungal infection. If left untreated, Blastomycosis can be fatal.

While it is not practical to avoid these situations altogether for most dog owners, it is good to know common signs of the illness, as prompt treatment is critical. Diagnosis can be difficult and is sometimes misdiagnosed as cancer, pneumonia or allergies.

Common symptoms include:

  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Loss of appetite, vomiting and weight loss
  • Heavy breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Eye discharge and poor vision
  • Skin lesions
  • Irritated joints and limping

If you suspect your dog experiencing these symptoms, please let your veterinarian know you think your dog may have been exposed.  While we want to share this information with you so you can be aware this condition exists, this is general information and you should always rely on the advice of your veterinarian for the best care possible for the dog(s) in your family.

For further information about the Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment of Blastomycosis read more on PetMD.com here.

According to PetMD, this condition is rarely transmitted from animal to animal, or from animal to human.

However, if you would like to learn more about Blastomycosis in humans from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services Division of Public Health, please click here.

This blog was written in honor of Shadow, a happy, otherwise healthy 4-year-old German Shepherd who contracted blastomycosis from spores in the soil. Shadow’s sudden death from this fungus has prompted his owners to want to share this important information with other dog owners.