Dog owner warns of rare fungal infection found in pets

Lisa Kavanaugh knew the symptoms because one dog died. Now she has two dogs fighting the fungal infection.
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 11:46 AM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY/Gray News) – A woman in Wisconsin says her two dogs have been battling a blastomycosis infection for over a year and wants to share her story so other dog owners know what signs to look for.

Blastomycosis is an uncommon but potentially serious fungal infection that primarily affects the lungs.

Lisa Kavanaugh said her dogs, Zena and Conan, have both been fighting the infection since December 2021.

She started noticing symptoms in Zena first. She was lethargic, didn’t want to eat and had swollen lymph nodes, as well as other symptoms that resembled pneumonia.

“Symptoms are usually a draining track like a wound that won’t heal. They can present with it in their bone, show signs of limping. Coughing is the most common because they inhale in their nose, so lung symptoms, it would look like pneumonia,” veterinary Dr. Jamie Zarda explained.

It just so happens Kavanaugh lost a dog in the 90s to blastomycosis, so she asked her vet to test Zena. She was positive, and it turned out that Conan had it too.

They are still positive and require constant, expensive tests and treatment. Zarda said knowing what to look for can save your animal’s life.

“Knowledge is your best defense against everything. The sooner you catch it, the sooner you can save them and the less money you have to spend,” Kavanaugh said.

Zarda says they aren’t sure if the dogs keep testing positive because they are picking it up somewhere in the environment over and over or if it is harboring somewhere in their body. Both are possible.

It’s important to note blastomycosis is not passed between animals and people. Wisconsin is one of the most common areas for fungus that causes it due to the moist soil.