This systemic fungal disease occurs along the eastern seaboard, in the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri valleys of the United States.
Most cases of acute canine blastomycosis involve the respiratory system and cause bronchopneumonia. About 40% of cases involve the eyes and skin, producing signs similar to those of cryptococcosis. Weight loss and lameness may also be noticed.
This disease is acquired by inhaling infected spores. Dogs are considerably more susceptible to blastomycosis than are humans.
Microscopic identification of organisms in transtracheal washings or in fluid aspirated from infected tissues is the most efficient way to make the diagnosis. In difficult cases, biopsy and culture may be needed. Serologic tests are also available.
A combination of amphotericin B and one of the imidazoles appears to offer the best chance of successful treatment. Months of treatment are required, and some dogs may relapse months to years later.
Use rubber gloves and take hygienic precautions when handling an infected dog.
Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may be infected with this condition.
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