Blastomyces Dermatitidis: What Is It and Are You And Your Pup Safe?
What is Blastomyces Dermatitidis and how can you and dog contract this you ask? For such a strange word, this issue is more common than you think!
The Fort Myers area is full of residents, snowbirds, travelers, and man’s best friend, dogs! In today’s world, we want to be more educated about illnesses than ever. One significant fungal-based disease is Blastomyces Dermatitidis. And while our general focus as a company is about inspecting your home for mold, we want to help educate you as well.
For some mold infections, such as Blastomyces Dermatitidis, there is no commercial test. With symptoms that mimic the seasonal flu diagnosis can be challenging to obtain. This fungal infection affects humans and dogs alike. And today, we will equip you with the knowledge to understand and cope should this illness arise for you.
Blastomyces Dermatitidis, What Is It?
As aforementioned, this illness is a fungal infection that affects humans and dogs. The fungi originate in the moist soil and leaves near river banks and bodies of water. The reason for mentioning snowbirds and travelers is because of the endemic areas.
These areas include:
- Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys
- Great Lakes
- Saint Lawrence River
The fungi transmit to an individual when a person, or dog, inhales the conidia (or mold spores). Following the inhalation, the spores travel to the lung tissue. Within the lung tissue, the spores germinate into budding yeast, causing respiratory distress. Unfortunately, the fungi will not stop at the lung tissue; it will spread to other systems in the body as well. While some individuals, of both human and dog species, may fight off this infection, others may not. The ability to attack these fungi relies on the affected individual’s immune system.
Blastomyces Dermatitidis lives within the soil and leaves along the water. The breakouts of this mycotic infection only occurs when something disrupts the soil. Camping, hiking, and construction are top disruptions leading to an outbreak.
With construction in the forest areas of our country at a high, the risk of this disease has increased. Campsites also have a higher risk of exposing guests to these fungi, and yet there is no warning given. Many pet owners bring their pets along on hikes and camping trips. Unknowingly, these owners are putting themselves and their pups at risk.
Dogs vs. Humans, How Are They Affected?
When it comes to Blastomyces Dermatitidis, dogs are more at risk than humans. Both species treatments include antifungals with a good prognosis. However, in dogs, the treatments may become more radical if it becomes systemic.
When a dog begins to suffer from this infection, granulomatous pneumonia begins. In laymen’s terms, this means the canine body is working hard to fight off the infection with immune cells. Unfortunately, when this immune response occurs, the fungi have begun to spread. The systemic dissemination occurs within the eyes, prostate, testes, skin, and bones. It is at this point that canine treatment begins to become more radical than that in humans.
Veterinarians have needed to remove eyeballs or castrate to seize the growing infection. Without treatment, the systemic spread can cause block capillaries (blood vessels). The disease can also cause ulcerations to form within the affected body systems. This radical treatment is rarely needed. And the prognosis for humans and dogs alike is favorable in many instances. Should an individual with a weak immune system, or a child, become infected, the prognosis may be grim.
Diagnosing Blastomyces Dermatitidis
The incubation period of Blastomyces Dermatitidis ranges from 3 weeks to 3 months.
Diagnosis for canines initially conducted with clinical symptoms. Symptoms include fever, weight loss, appetite loss, coughing, lameness. These symptoms will occur within the timeframe of the incubation period. However, asymptomatic cases are possible, as well. For canines, diagnosis can also occur with cytology or histopathology of the area.
The symptom list in humans is the same as that in canines and remains a means to diagnosis as well. However, humans alternatively can receive a diagnosis through a blood or urine analysis.
Treatment And Likelihood Of Contraction
Treatment for Blastomyces Dermatitidis is the same for both species: a prescribed antifungal. This type of medication will attack the fungi within the body, similar to that as an antibiotic. Treatment tends to run long, six months to a year, to eliminate the entire fungi from the body. It will be assuring to pet owners to know this mycotic infection is not zoonotic. Meaning, this infection will not be contagious between species. If your dog picks up this disease, it is ten times less likely you will contract it as well. Although should you also be walking in the wooded areas mentioned above, you do have a higher risk.
Changing the route in which you walk your dog or hike is also recommended if one of you test positive. Blastomyces Dematitidis is not detectable for tracking the origin. The best solution is to change your routes now that you know the fungi were living on your old course.
There is no way of tracking the precise origin of this fungi, due to the lengthy incubation period. We do recommend monitoring the areas in which you bring your pet for optimum health and safety. If you frequently travel to the high-risk areas listed above, consider a change in path.
When it comes to mold and mycotic illnesses, health risks seem to be a never-ending list. If you or your pet are experiencing health symptoms, consider a mold inspection. The mold can quickly travel indoors through the wind, clothes, or pet hair. When mold spores enter the home, they can spread rapidly, especially in a Florida home. The climate is optimal for mold growth, moisture, and warmth. Should you or your pet continuously around mold, your health is sure to pay the price. And soon after, your home will begin to show signs of mold damage as well.
Drywall bubbles, cracks, discoloration, and swelling are all signs of mold growth. When mold grows within our Southwest Florida homes, the spread is rapid and dangerous.
At Mold Inspectors Of Florida, we perform detailed mold inspections. Our professional services include air sampling, moisture meters, and infrared thermography, and more. Surface swabs and air sampling tests go under laboratory testing. Reports are ready by 72 hours, or 24 hours for an additional expedited fee.