Blastomycosis: Vet warns of deadly fungal infection affecting Indiana dogs

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A local veterinarian is warning pet owners about a deadly fungal infection affecting dogs in central Indiana.

A viewer sent us this photo of her son’s precious pup Sampson. His owners knew something was wrong when he started to cough, and then a sore developed on his paw. As the infection spread, Sampson’s condition became worse, and he ultimately had to be put down after going blind at just 3-years-old.

According to IndyVet’s Dr. James Speiser, the infection is called blastomycosis, and it is very common in the Midwest. “We’ve been seeing more of it recently, but it’s pretty common in our area,” Dr. Speiser said.

Dr. Speiser says he sees about once case of blastomycosis per month.

“This particular organism likes the Midwest because it grows in the woodlands where the soil is moist. Dogs go out and sniff the ground, and they sniff up the spores. That’s how the disease spreads.”

Dr. Speiser says it starts as a respiratory condition, and then it travels to the lymph nodes. Often times, dogs will develop an open sore that won’t heal.

“If we catch it early, it is treatable, but once they have had it for a while, it is usually deadly.”

Dr. Speiser said the medications to treat it are expensive, and it usually requires treatment for at least three months and sometimes up to a year.

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