From an Purina Pro Club – View Original Article
The 2017 National Amateur Retriever Champion, the 2016 Westminster Kennel Club Best in Show winner and a Finalist at the 2019 National Derby Retriever Championship have something in common. All suffered from fungal diseases.
Respectively, “Mully” contracted blastomycosis, “CJ” had cryptococcosis, and “Lucy” developed pythiosis, an infectious water mold disease likened to a fungal infection. Being at the wrong place at the wrong time put them at risk.
Fungal diseases occur in dogs when they inhale spores found naturally in the environment. These spores help to decompose organic waste and are essential for the recycling of carbon and minerals in the ecosystem. Similar to fungal diseases, pythiosis occurs when dogs ingest spores from a type of oomycete, or water mold, or when these spores enter scratches or cuts on their bodies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than two-thirds of 3,624 adults who completed an online survey in 2019 had never heard of six invasive fungal diseases. Disease awareness was studied for aspergillosis, candidiasis, coccidioidomycosis, cryptococcosis, blastomycosis, and histoplasmosis. These diseases account for an estimated $7.2 billion spent annually in health care costs to treat fungal diseases in humans.
Likewise, “dogs are especially at risk for fungal diseases given their inquisitive nature and close proximity to the outdoors,” says Jane Sykes, BVSc, PhD, MBA, DACVIM, professor of small animal medicine at the University of California-Davis. “Dogs dig vigorously and bury their noses in the soil and in decomposing wood and leaves. They swim, wade and drink from lakes and ponds. They eat grass and chew on sticks. As dogs hunt, explore and roam about, they can inhale or ingest invasive spores that have the potential to cause fungal disease.”
Here is a review of five fungal diseases that occur in dogs and the infectious disease pythiosis. All are endemic in certain areas (See map on page 3) except for aspergillosis that can be found virtually anywhere. Sometimes difficult to diagnose and challenging to treat, these diseases are worthy of being knowledgeable about to keep your dog safe and healthy.