Fungal Disease Blinding, Killing Dogs

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A rainy start to summer means more dogs, cats, and even humans could be exposed to a fungal disease called blastomycosis.

“Only some of the animals or humans that are exposed to the fungus develop an illness,” Dr. Leah Cohn, Professor of Veterinarian Medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia, explains.

Cohn says the fungus is geographically more prevalent in river valleys.

“We think that the dogs are exposed by inhalation, that they inhale the fungus and then the fungus sets up shop in the lungs,” she explained. “It can affect other tissues of the body, like it can affect the eyes and cause blindness, the lymph nodes and cause them to become enlarged.”

Once contracted, dogs develop a fever, weight loss, and sometimes draining skin lesions. The key to saving your pet’s life is to get them to a veterinarian quickly once the symptoms arise.

As for humans, they can contract the infection but not from their dogs. Humans develop it the same way animals do, by inhaling the organism.

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