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How familiar are you with Blastomycosis?

  • I have had multiple dogs that contracted Blasto.

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  • I personally know someone who had a dog that contracted blasto.

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  • I don't have any personal experience with Blasto, but know what it is.

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  • What is Blastomycosis?

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Discussion Starter #1
I am trying to understand how often this disease occurs in working retrievers.
 

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Sherri,

I can think of 2 dogs. One made it through, one didn't. The article posted about Blasto I learned from. Can't add to it.

Matt
 

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Jim and Judy Powers lost an FC/AFC to blasto.
 

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I can think of two trial dogs in the last 8 months.

Chris Ledford ran a dog last summer that was stricken shortly after winning an open.

Dave Rorem has a client that lost an all-age dog just recently.

Greg A
 

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I know someone who lost his MH bitch to it. Very, very nice dog. By the time it was diagnosed it was too late. It's something to watch for in New England because of the algae & stagnant water in the summer & fall.
M
 

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I recently lost a dog to blasto. It is a very progressive and devastating disease! I also know two dogs personally that have survived Blasto. Make sure and mention it to your vet if ANY symtoms are suspected and START TREATMENT IMMEDIATELY!!! It takes a while for the medicine to start working.
 
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One of the first puppies we sold was infected with blasto about a month after going home and was put to sleep. It showed up as a scar in his eye, which is apparently the worst way it can possibly happen...

Here's some info I just copied from the internet if anyone wants to read about it:

Blastomycosis is a serious systemic fungal disease that primarily infects dogs and people. It can create a variety of respiratory, eye, and skin lesions but can usually be successfully treated if caught early enough.

Where is blastomycosis found?

Blastomyces dermatididis is a fungal organism that lives in sandy, acidic soil in close proximity to water. Most competing soil organisms will kill off the blastomycosis spores unless the conditions are nearly perfect for the fungus to survive. This explains why blastomycosis is often 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 the infected dogs lived within 400 yards of a body of water.

Blastomycosis has a well-defined endemic area where it is found. The area includes the Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio River valleys, the Mid-Atlantic States and parts of Quebec, Manitoba, and Ontario. It is believed that the range of blastomycosis continues to grow.

Who is at risk for getting blastomycosis?

Blastomycosis is primarily a disease that infects people and dogs. While there have been reported cases in a wide variety of animals including cats, horses, and ferrets, they are relatively rare. While humans often become infected, dogs are still 10 times more likely to develop the disease than people are.

A big factor in determining which dogs or people get infected is directly related to their lifestyle and where they live. People that spend time in the woods, as well as their dogs are much more likely to become infected. If they travel in swamps or near water they are at an even greater risk. Hunting dogs and hounds are therefore infected much more frequently than house pets in a given geographic area. Younger dogs are more commonly infected with the highest prevalence seen in 2-year-old dogs.

How does a dog become infected?

Infection occurs from the dog inhaling the spores that are found in the soil. The spores then travel down into the airways of the lungs and an infection develops. It has been suggested that some infections could occur through a wound in the skin, but this source of infection is thought to be very rare.

Once Blastomycosis establishes itself in the lungs, it then spreads throughout the body to different locations. The most common sites for infections after the lungs include the skin, eyes, bones, lymph nodes, subcutaneous tissue, brain, and testes.

What are the symptoms of blastomycosis in dogs?

The symptoms of blastomycosis in dogs include lack of appetite, weight loss, coughing, eye problems, lameness, or skin problems. Signs may be present for a few days to a few weeks, or in some cases, up to a year. The disease can wax and wane with the severity of the symptoms improving slightly and then worsening again.

Up to 85% of dogs with blastomycosis have lung lesions and accompanying dry, harsh lung sounds. Forty percent of dogs with blastomycosis have eye lesions including uveitis, retinal detachment, and hemorrhaging into the eye. Skin lesions are found in 20 to 40% of the infected dogs and are often ulcerated and draining. Bone involvement and resulting lameness is present in about 30% of infected dogs.

How is it diagnosed?

Blastomycosis is diagnosed based on history, symptoms, and then identification of the organism under a microscope or through a blood test. Smears from skin lesions or from aspirates of enlarged lymph nodes will contain identifiable blastomycosis organisms about half of the time. Collection of samples from the bronchi will also contain organisms in some instances. In cases where the disease is suspected but the organisms cannot be found microscopically, a blood test can be performed. While still not completely accurate, the agar-gel immunodiffusion test is the blood test that is most commonly used to identify blastomycosis.

What is the treatment?

Treatment is usually necessary for all dogs that become infected with blastomycosis. Unlike some other fungal infections in which many animals are exposed and then recover from the infections on their own, with blastomycosis relatively few animals are exposed and infected, but those that are require treatment.

There are several treatment options. The most common treatment is the oral administration of the antifungal drug Itraconazole. This drug usually needs to be given daily for 60 to 90 days. It is a human drug and can be very expensive, particularly for a large dog, but it is currently the safest and most effective way to treat blastomycosis.

For dogs that can not tolerate or do not respond to Itraconazole, the injectable drug Amphotericin B can also be used. This drug is given intravenously several times a week. Because it is more toxic than Itraconazole, it is administered under close veterinary observation.

Ketoconazole (Nizoral) is occasionally used in milder cases where cost is a strong consideration. It is not as efficacious and is slightly more toxic than Itraconazole, and therefore, is not usually the first choice in treatments.

Most animals will have severe appetite loss and must be encouraged to eat or be force fed the first 7-14 days.

How can blastomycosis be prevented?

There is currently no vaccine available to protect against blastomycosis. Because of the isolated distribution pattern of blastomycosis, it is difficult to determine where the source of most infections come from, and therefore, avoidance is almost impossible. The disease cannot be transmitted from an infected animal to a healthy animal or from an animal to a person, it can only be acquired from inhaling the spores in the soil. Limiting the amount of time a dog spends in the woods, particularly near water sources may reduce the incidence. Knowing if blastomycosis occurs in your area, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking prompt veterinary attention are the best ways to deal with this disease.
 

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I was not aware of it until I started researching a litter I was looking at. One of the parents' dam, Ms. Mischief tanks harley alot, got it so I started researching it then.
 

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Thunderdan,

Her owner, Gary, also contracted Blasto....bad stuff for humans or animals.
 

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I had hear that, it is a scary disease......One that I hope that I never witness first hand.
 

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Ledford had a dog as mentioned previously. "Merk" registered name Fifty Five On Line and you Lardy clients probablyt remember Merk he was in that camp for several yrs. Had a problem barking on watermarks. Very talented dog that was always in the last series and would break or get dinged for vocalizrion. Chris kept this dog and got him settled in at 5 yrs old. At six this summer he was in the last series everytime and finally hit and earned his FC at a trial in Minnesota. Two days later he started feeling bad after such a long journey to complete his FC. Merk had came into contact with Blasto. He fought long and hard but passed away in the fall after a 3-4 month fight against this dangerous disease. This was a strong handsome lab probably 80 lbs that lost 25 lbs in 2 weeks. He was kept in an oxygen tank @University of Minnesota basically on life support. He recovered and made it home to Ga where he lost the battle. It was the most devastating thing i have ever seen happen to a dog. i have seen people die of AIDS and the physical toll was very similiar in the two diseases.

Yes people can get blasto but it usually does not kill them. the vet told chris that everydog on the truck was probably exposed the virus. it is in the soil and is exposed as dogs dig or scratch at the ground.

my vet felt that most dogs that get the disease have a weaker immune sysytem and tend to be the dogs that always have a little something bothering them all the time.

it is very prevalent in the appalachain mtn areas. that is about what i know but if you ever see a dog that has it it iwll break your heart. merk went from being a hard going fire breathing dragon to a dog that couldnt stand up and get a drink of water in less than a couple of weeks.


Here is to you Merk as i love a dog that cant hardly sit for the marks as much as any thing in a dog. He!! i even broke 6-7 times this year while workin ducks in the timber. :lol: !!!!!
 

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Greg Bartlett had a dog on his truck in Minnesota, about 3 years old, Jim that died of Blasto. Greg kept taking it to the vet because it wasn't acting right. On his last trial, he was virtually walking to his mark. Greg picked him up and took him back to the vet. My understanding is that it was not diagnosed until after the dog died. :cry:

I had a young one die of cancer at 17 months. When I went to Texas to pick him up (A&M couldn't locate his biopsey) I was praying it would be Blasto instead of cancer, because he would have stood a better chance. Some chance was better than none. What a thing to pray for.
 

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LFL, I responded that I knew someone personally with a dog with Blasto because of your case. before that I would have responded that I had heard of it but didn't know of any cases personally. There are so many things out that that can get our precious dogs. It seems like it is a miracle that any of them live to a ripe old age, but many do. I guess the message is that ou have to love and appreciate them every day, just like with the people in our lives.
 

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Lady Duck Hunter said:
LFL, I responded that I knew someone personally with a dog with Blasto because of your case. before that I would have responded that I had heard of it but didn't know of any cases personally.
Ditto for me.
 

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Blasto is more common up here with certain climate conditions causing more spores in the ground. It's pretty much always a possibility to consider if you are in the areas that it is common. Getting a diagnosis asap and hitting them with antibiotics is imperative. If your dog has respiratory symptoms and an xray and it's inconclusive, insist on cultures done on trachial washings! If he has eye symptoms go to a canine opthalmologist.
http://www.dogstuff.info/blastomycosis.html
 
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