This Fungus is Everywhere and Wants to Kill Everyone

Blasto can pretty much do what it wants, where it wants and look like anything

Published: December 27, 2016

You may never have heard of blastomycosis (or if you have, my condolences), but it is caused by a ubiquitous fungus called Blastomyces found in certain parts of the U.S. and it wants to eat your dog and, very rarely, your cat. It lives in soil and sometimes it also wants to eat you (although – important point here – you can’t get it from your dog). You and your dog get it from the same place: dirt. That point is important, so I want to stress it again: Blastomycosis (often abbreviated to just “blasto,” which to me sounds like a really sugary breakfast cereal or the latest aperitif creation from the fine folks who brought us Goldschlager) is not among the diseases we call zoonotic like rabies and ringworm: it doesn’t go from pets to people, or from people to pets.

Since I’m a human and a doctor, but I’m not a human doctor, I can’t talk about the whole wants to eat you part. I can only talk about the wants to eat your dog part, so that’s what I’ll do. (If you have ever had a dog sick with Blasto, I want to point out that I’m not making fun or light of the disease, or any dog that’s ever been sick with it, or died from it.)

Here are the relevant facts about Blasto:

  • It is found in the Midwest, usually around the Great Lakes region.
  • It usually affects the lungs, eyes, and skin of dogs.
  • Symptoms can include anything – weakness, loss of appetite, lethargy, fever.
  • Dogs with the lung form usually cough, stop eating, and lose weight.
  • Dogs with the eye form have red, painful, and swollen eyes.
  • It is very, very, VERY difficult to treat.
  • It’s a part of this nutritious breakfast.

Blasto is one of those diseases that can pretty much do what it wants, where it wants and look like anything. It can look like cancer, it can look like a skin infection…anything. It’s an utterly terrifying disease and when I diagnose it, my heart sinks. I know it’s just trying to survive like the rest of us, but Blasto is mean, nasty, and verging on evil.

The only way to prevent this disease is to move to an area that doesn’t have it.

I hear Antarctica is nice.

Many other parts of the U.S. and the world have their own endemic fungal diseases, like histoplasmosis in the Ohio River valley, and coccidioidomycosis in the Southwest. If you move around, you may just be swapping a risk for one disease for another. (One common thread among fungal diseases is that they are as hard to treat as they are to pronounce.)

In order to diagnose Blasto, you have a few options. Let’s say you have a dog with chronic fevers, and your vet decides to do a chest X-ray as part of the workup. With Blasto it looks like someone took a normal dog chest X-ray and put it in a snow globe: little white globby patches everywhere. A dog with cancer that’s spread to the lungs can look quite similar, which is why blasto is often misdiagnosed as metastatic cancer. For dogs with the lung form (they can have it in many places at once, as well. Did I mention this was a nasty disease?) you can sample the airways with an endoscope in hopes of seeing some of the little fungal organisms, or you can do a pretty convenient and relatively inexpensive urine test that is fairly reliable. The turn-around time is several days, which often frustrates people, but it’s a good way to confirm suspicions of blasto. It’s not 100%, but it’s good: no test is right 100% of the time, a fact pet owners should remember.

For the eye form, many veterinary ophthalmologists are well versed in dealing with it, so if you have a dog with an eye problem that hasn’t resolved after seeing your family veterinarian, ask them about a referral to an eye specialist. Sadly many dogs with the eye form will end up losing the eye due to the damage caused by the fungus.

The skin form is the easiest to diagnose. Dogs with the skin form often have chronic open sores that ooze green goo (which is dead fungus, bacteria and white blood cells: pus), and it doesn’t respond well to antibiotics (more on that below). To diagnose the disease, you can often take some of that green goo, put it on a slide, send it to a pathologist and get your answer in three to five days.

The reason I say doesn’t respond well to antibiotics instead of doesn’t respond at all is that the sores from blasto can become infected with bacteria; remember that blasto is a fungus, a whole different type of organism than bacteria and viruses. If the sores become infected, it’s like a ship full of pirates (blasto) that’s stopped to take on a load of dangerous lunatics (bacteria). You have just added badness to the badness. If you get rid of all the lunatics with antibiotics, you still have a ship full of pirates. That’s what antibiotics do to the skin lesions in blasto, and why they may have a small response to antibiotics.

So what does it respond to? Well, if you’re lucky, it’ll respond to antifungal drugs like itraconazoleketoconazole, or fluconazole. But like much with this disease, it’s not that easy. First, antifungals can cost a lot; depending on the size of the patient, the drug alone can run into the thousands. It doesn’t clear up quickly, either. Dogs who are being treated can take the medication for months on end. And sometimes the medication themselves can have nasty side effects (all medications have the potential for side effects, but antifungals are more likely to make patients feel sick than most drugs we use). However, unlike coccidioidomycosis, the patient doesn’t need to be on an anti-fungal for life after recovery.

One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this disease is that in many cases the treatment can lead to the patient’s death. If the dog has lungs full of fungus, the dead organisms can set off such a strong reaction by the immune system when treatment starts that the inflammation alone can make the lungs worse and kill the patient, or make them so desperate for air that their owners choose to euthanize. It’s like the ship full of pirates setting fire to the ship as it sinks below the water. Treating a dog with the lung form of blasto has about a 50% success rate.

So here’s a summary of my thoughts about blasto:

  • It’s hard to diagnose.
  • It’s impossible to prevent.
  • You have to treat it with a drug that costs thousands.
  • And can make the patients even sicker.

It’s an evil disease. I don’t care if it is just trying to survive. Owners and veterinarians alike often experience an emotion sometimes referred to as helplessness, but unfortunately that's the reality.



March 12, 2024

I would like to start by saying this was a rollercoaster.. I just moved upstate and my 9 year old Canis Panther randomly got ill.. limping and seemed blind and deaf over a few days then when he stopped using the bathroom I made an appointment with the vet. He then peed blood the next day and since I live in the country no vet was open the day of the vet visit I noticed my boys paws were swollen like a balloon I was in extreme distress as my body could not walk or seem to see all in this one day. Needless to say he was put down immediately that morning as I called them in complete disbelief and shock she came out and did a home visit to put reaper down. She thought it was lymphatic cancer of some sort. I remember him waving his head back and fourth for such a long time she basically had to give him the entire syringe of sleepy and heart stopping meds. I was devastated and he was too. His last breathe went deep into my lungs and still to this day I’m petrified.. my step son also passed away from blastomycosis as well.. but I’ve done so much research on blastomycosis I could label the cell structure of the thing. This is a nightmare.


December 27, 2023

I've been researching because it's too weird that both my dogs got sick and no one put this together. My therapy dog, my life, my velcro, died suddenly early Monday morning. She was fine Saturday. Playing, eating, snuggling. Then around midnight she stumbled and I tried to help her in the couch and realized she couldn't see. And seemed she couldn't hear. But otherwise seemed good and was getting along. Sunday she was good, ate, chilled, walked around outside and then collapsed. She couldn't open her eyes, foaming at the mouth. I took her to er and she was in a coma, swelling on the brain but no one could answer why, what, where, how, wtf?!? She got Keppra and prednisone iv and perked up. So thought it was a seizure. She wasn't stable so I had to leave her. She went into cardiac arrest and died at 7 am. I am still screaming at every turn. I need her. Well something just felt off especially since Marley has been dragging her front foot, even on her pain meds and then started to cough a couple days ago. I dropped Marley off at the regular vet while I went to pick up Sasha. When I got to pick up Marley the vet just looked at me and I knew. She took me in where Marleys x-rays were. I fell to the floor. I couldn't believe my eyes and neither could the vet. She said she had never seen this so bad. She did mention it was like "a fungal infection" and I immediately asked if it's my environment. She took her time saying no. But this isn't just coincidence. We moved here in July and Sasha never presented any symptoms. I had both at the vet in October for bw because they were losing weight but no one was concerned (south in summer). I had to keep looking into this. I really don't know how I'll make it through this. Sasha suddenly leaving me was devastating. And now Marley. You can't even count the number of little masses. Why didn't the vets catch this? And what can I do about my property?

August 23, 2023

I have a 1.5 year old great dane who about 5 weeks ago started showing signs of being sick. I took him to the vet and was given antibiotic's and three other medications... 2 weeks later he wasn't getting any better and he had lost a significant amount of weight. Went back to the vet and 3 hrs later I was shown an xray of his lungs and it was full of "spider webs" at least thats what it looked like to me. The night before I took him to the vet I ran into an article about Blastomycosis and I thought there is no way... but come to find out it was very much true. No idea where it came from as he doesn't leave our property. So not only do we have a dog who now has this horrible infection, but we also need to figure out where this came from so he doesn't get it again. This will be day 8 on Itraconazole and believe me the first 5 days was questionable and it didn't seem like he was going to get any better. Day 6 he was getting his old personality back and day 7 seems to be doing good... then today woke up with a runny nose and breathing heavy again, doesn't want to eat anything but Chicken and Rice. I feel like we are on a roller coaster that is just always going up and right back down. The one thing I have been thankful for is the support of our local Walgreens as our vet didn't stock this medication but they did. While the normal price is $286.00 for 30 pills the pharmacist was great and found a discount program that brought it down to $41.56. Its still roughly 80 bucks a month for his medication but that's way better than $600! I cant say how much I appreciate this article because I was unaware that there was a urine test that could be done affordably.. the only test I was told about is through blood and it was about $500. I would spend what I had to but if there is more affordable option that gets the same end result why not.


January 7, 2022

I live in north central Wisconsin.  I have 2 dog with blastomycosis.  My 1.5 yr old female became deathly ill.  After 1 month on pneumonia meds and not getting better, she was tested for Blasto.  positive.  so we then tested my 3 yr old male with no symptoms.  positive.  they have both been on Fluconazole for 12 months.  both had to get neutered / spayed.  both had to go to an eye specialist.  bottom line, $7000 and still holding there own.  They now look and act normal.  healthy weights.  but still testing positive.  This is truly the worse dog disease in Wisconsin and it is EVERYWHERE!

Angela Cusimano
December 31, 2022

We just lost our golden doodle to Blasto on Thanksgiving day.  She was only a year and half….still a baby & usually so full of life.  This disease hit us like a ton of bricks out of nowhere.  I got up one morning to find Oakley laying in the kitchen in front of her food & water bowl which seemed very out of character for her.  I started talking to her as I normally did… didn’t take long before I realized she couldn’t see my hand in front of her….she was blind.  Out of nowhere—-how could this be??  My baby can’t see….why what is happening?!!??  We called the vet & they got her in tht afternoon.  The vet didn’t run any tests…didn’t do anything but tell us he thought she had some rare genetic disease tht causes blindness & sent us home.  I wasn’t happy w that answer & did not believe that. So we made an appointment w a specialist for the following week.  But a few days before going to the specialist Oakley came in w a chunk missing on her nose.  We thought she must of ran into something and cut her nose.  Went to the specialist and tht morning her breathing was sounding funny….almost like a wheezing but jst barely.  We got to the appointment & right away tht vet asked how long has she bn breathing like that & I told her it just started last night.  She rushed Oakley to the back and took a biopsy of her cut on her nose…thru it under the microscope & immediately turned to me and w the saddest look in her eyes…told me my girl had blastomycosis & it didn’t look good.  The X-rays showed her whole body was covered w white dots.  Her lungs/covered….and it had made its way to her brain-hence her losing her eyesight.  We immediately started treating her w 100mg  and they said the next 48 hrs r crucial & if she makes it it will be a miracle.  She made it thru the first. 24 but died the following night in my arms.  I held her as I felt her heart beat fade away…..she took one last gasp for air & then she was gone,  all of this in a matter of less than a week.  My heart shattered.  I layed and held her & just cried and told her I was so sorry.  So sorry we didn’t catch it sooner.  So sorry I couldn’t save her.  Then reality set in….she had had puppies and we still had 3 girls left that had kinda just made our home their home & we got too attached so we kept all 3. They followed momma everywhere.  We live in southern Indiana in the country on a farm so they have free rein to run and play and go swim when they get hot….& they did this all summer….Oakley & her 3 pups.  My girls as I call them.   If my baby Oakley had blasto…..who’s to say these puppies don’t also hve it????  They went everywhere w her…always.  Before I could get them in to see the vet….one of the girls started getting a weird milky look in one of her eyes & I knew immediately.  I knew it.  So now I am treating her for blastomycosis & waiting to get urine test results bk on the other 2 girls that probably have it too.  They will be taking treatment for 6 months.  Please whatever u do if u r treating ur dog for this awful disease..,,do not stop treatment before ur vet says it’s time.  Regardless if u think they seem all better now.  Ths disease is sneaky.  And it’s ugly & brutal.  And once it’s cured it can still come bk again…and again…….so u really have to watch ur dog closely for any symptoms.   If Oakley wouldn’t of lost her eyesight I never would of went to the vet.  And by this time it was alrdy too late.  She never lost her appetite.  She never lost her energy…..she was the same precious baby girl as always up until a few days before we got the dreadful news.  I will never forget how this disease has changed my life.  It is so unfair.

November 17, 2022

We just lost our boy, Charlie, yesterday to Blasto. He started with a cough so I brought him in and he had a temp and cough, clear lungs. Started on a antibiotic for kennel cough….I was woken five days later to him foaming at the mouth, couldn’t breath…rushed him to the vet and got the blasto diagnosis. It’s so rare in our area but he’s the second dog who’s presented with it in our area recently. He had just turned 2. Our family are missing him desperately. Thank you for writing this article

Libby Kingler
October 6, 2022

Thank you for the information and the way it was delivered. I have read several articles and found yours to be the most informative.

September 17, 2022

We live in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. After several camping trips to midwestern Illinois my 6 year old Goldendoodle developed Blastomycosis. At first the vet thought is was pneumonia. The initial chest X-ray did not show Blastomycosis. He had every symptom though. I had no idea this nasty fungus even exhausted. He was given antibiotics, cough meds and was instructed  to return in 3 weeks for a repeat chest X-ray. 3 weeks  later he was not any better. He had now developed red eyes with discharge, still coughing and throwing up white phlegm. He was losing weight, but hadn’t missed a meal. The vet decided not to do another chest X-ray because she could tell he still had pneumonia by listening to his lungs. She prescribed a different antibiotic and steroids to treat pneumonia. We were sent back home. The next 2 days my dog had lost control of his bladder. We felt like since starting the steroids he was declining even faster. That night my dog was unresponsive and in respiratory distress. We rushed him to the vet emergency clinic. They did a full work up. The chest X-ray showed spots throughout his body and lungs. They said the cause of his red eyes meant his eyes are infected with Blastomycosis too. He was immediately given Itraconazole. We had to wait 3 days for the urine test to come back. The vet was positive he had Blastomycosis though and wanted him to start the meds right away. The urine test came back 3 days later, positive. It’s been 5 days since he started the medication. He has developed blisters on his skin that pop open and ooze. I’ve read where the first 24-72’ are the most critical after beginning the medication. They are right. In my case it could be longer. He’s still holding his own, but is far from being himself. My dog went from running and playing to hardly being able to raise his head. I had to bring the water bowl to him. The fungus has settled in his bones and he is barely able to walk. It has affected him neurologically. He’s not able to get his front legs in sync with his back legs. He is scared of the stairs now, where as before my stairs were like the Indianapolis 500.  My other dog went on all the camping trips as well and did not get this nasty disease. I wish they would find a cure or vaccination to prevent our pets from getting this. I think we are going to have to make a tough decision soon if my sweet boy doesn’t show improvement soon. I don’t want him to suffer.

Johnny S
September 16, 2022

My Lil girl Frankie I've had for 8 yrs. We went camping, came back and 2 weeks later couldn't/ wouldn't poop right. Eventually after giving her a bland diet of rice and chicken she wouldn't eat.Took her to the vet, vet said she had cancer in her lungs, 3 days later she died in my arms.Vet didn't offer blood / urine test. Then I read your article on this blasto. I have the x-rays of her chest and it looks like a big cotton ball, the vet said without a doubt it's cancer she's got 2 months as she dies 3 days later can you help me I'm really going through it

July 13, 2022

We live in Vermont, so out of the normal area for Blasto to be. We finally got a diagnosis in February for our 11 year old GSP after months and months of misdiagnosis. He was put on two anti-fungal meds and got worse before he got better. Still fighting a swollen leg and seeing a specialist next month. Thank you for a wonderful article.

June 29, 2022

Our 2 year old lab mix was finally diagnosed with Blastomycosis. We had to go through about $5k of testing and a misdiagnosis of lymphoma last week to get to this point. He starts anti-fungal tonight. He seems to be showing signs of lymph node involvement, left eye infected, GI issues and one open lesion. Vet is giving him a good prognosis but I am not feeling sure about it since I know for a fact he has been sick since at least early March.

June 25, 2022

my gsd looks like has blastomycosis i have him on flucazole and eye drops found out about this last week and started fluca and now 4 days into it.  hos left eye he keeps squinted and its getting a little milky look to it now and he paws at it when i put drops in which i do 4 times daily and twice daily on fluca.   will he loose. that eye or once i get him to opthalmologist next week can they prevent eyesight loss? thanks

June 6, 2022

My five year old standard poodle, Ace, is in day five of treatment for Blastomycosis. The most cost has come from the local emergency room whom treated him poorly. Going to the OSU veterinarian hospital emergency room is what saved him. They diagnosed him almost immediately after bloodwork and chest x-ray. His medication is not thousands of dollars. Very affordable. The symptoms do get worse before they get better, especially when the lungs are affected. We are fighting this horrible disease and are keeping a positive attitude for a Ace to beat this and be around for many years to come.

Anne Prather
May 7, 2022

I just want to refer anyone dealing with this to "Blastomycosis Awareness Forum" on fb. It's a great resource with a plethora of information, advice, and support. Since many vets aren't well versed in blastomycosis, this is a great place to learn, or even share your own knowledge with others.

Thomas LeTourneau
March 30, 2022

Buddy ( Golden) my friend and confidant for the last ten years lies in front of me, facing death. We live in S.E. Texas He has been diagnosed with maybe fungus, maybe cancer, dmv said he would have to have blood samples sent out and might take a week. His X-rays show Lungs wIth peppered white spots. My old friend is wheezing, having a hard time capturing air, unsteady in walk, vomiting, loss of spirit, loss of appetite,…..I on the other have to watch as this torturous redintion goes on with no ability to help. It seems , like this is progressing so rapidly,….3 weeks ago he was playful, having fun. Now, I am too cowardly to release him of this torture, in Hopes instead that the blood test returns with something less ominous He deserves better. All be aware of scabs under dogs arm pits, itching that is getting worse, and all the above symptoms.

March 15, 2022

We have two golden retrievers one that has never been sick all of a sudden started throwing up his food, very lethargic,we took him to be checked did blood work and showed his white blood count was high and his kidney but the vet still thought maybe it was some king of intestinal bug..  he was put on antibiotics and drug for mouth watering, they told us if he wasn’t any better in a couple days call, I called did X-rays, it showed his chest was filled with cancer, the vet was quite surprised no lymph nodes swelling or anything … I question whether he had blasto after I researched, we did live in Western Kentucky for nine years but we moved back to NH have been here for three years and he gets sick, so I’m not sure if it would take that long for blasto to show up?  So I’ll never know we had to do the unthinkable after eight days of saying he had cancer… he was other wise healthy and it happened so quick… just wish we could of known something was really wrong sooner so we could of helped him… he lost his mobility and having a hard time breathing we had no other choice… horrible devastating loose… for his sibling and us!

December 20, 2020

Just lost our beautiful 8 year old German Shepard.  Vet said either fungus or cancer. They said hard to tell which without urine test. He went downhill so fast there wasn’t enough time. Looking back as soon as we saw weight loss we should have been at the vet. I just thought he was getting older. Hope this helps someone. Just devastating!

Alton E Parker
July 26, 2021

Good article.  My Rottweiler has this.  Rottchester is in the last 30 days of a 90 day lunf fungal infection.  When he stopped eating I started force feeding him chicken broth and meat baby food.  Rottchester is doing well and eating on his own now.  God bless anyone whose dog gets this.

July 3, 2021

Thank you for writing this.  My little doggy is on an anti fungal med, and struggling to breath.  $100 a bottle for a one month supply. He's only 3 days into treatment, so it looks like "no change." I read that it takes about 14 days for enough of the med to build up in the bloodstream to cross the barrier to the lungs. It helps me to know the 50-50 odds.

Elaine Smith
June 30, 2021

Took my son’s golden retriever to the vet today to have them look at several oozing red lesions on his head and ears, one on his foreleg. I’m in Wisconsin and worked at this vet clinic for 8 years, saw my share of Blasto cases so I know how nasty it is. Vet said it wasn’t his first thought and he’s not concerned, likely a skin infection, sent us home with antibiotics and ointment. He better be right.

Karen Y Sanders
June 10, 2021

Can dog give it to other dogs ?..

June 2, 2021

We live in Wisconsin and my 5 year old Border Collie contracted blasto last summer. At first I thought it was allergies, as the breathing spells kind of sounded like sneezes. He also had a red oozy eye. It wasn’t until the disease became so severe & he was admitted to vet hospital that they tested for blasto. He was put on an intense IV treatment to kill the fungus. We were told his levels were so high that it was highly unlikely he would make it through the treatment. It was a huge blessing that he pulled through!! Fast forward one year later and I noticed the odd breathing again, he didn’t seem nearly as sick as the last time (he was so lathargic we had to lift him in the car before). He is taking fluconazole again and we will probably keep him on it even after his numbers go down to be preventative. One thing I did do that I found in hours of research was feed him a tablespoon of organic coconut oil 3x daily. It’s more holistic, and would not work alone to fight it, but it is a natural antifungal and I think it helped our Scoobie be one of the lucky ones to beat it! My best to all of you- it is a scary horrible disease but there is some hope of beating it, early detection will help greatly in that battle.

Elaine G. White
May 30, 2021

We just lost our dog at the end of April due to Blasto. She had the skin version. We thought we had it licked but she got a lesion that got infected and she could not fight the infection even with.antibiotics. so we had to say good bye to her. We miss her everyday.

Amber L
April 29, 2021

My 8 year old indoor cat has been coughing for maybe 6 months, I thought it was hairballs at first but when she started to lose weight and the coughing increased I took her to the vet. Xrays showed fluid around her lungs (lots of white) but her bloodwork was normal. Next, we had a chest tap done to remove the fluid and test it, not much came back for results. The vet also did an ultrasound and found a small mass between her heart and throat and a tumor on her lung. He assumed cancer like many people have mentioned. We took her back yesterday so he could remove a sample of the lung tumor for testing (via needle). After looking at the results under the slide he had a thought it could be Blasto. He’s not a pathologist but that’s his inkling. He collected urine to have that tested too. We’ve started her on steroids to help with inflammation and Fluconazole just in case she has this. I’m just so worried because the meds may aggravate the lungs more due to killing the fungus. I am hoping it’s this rather than cancer because she’s die from that for sure. We’re $2000 in but she’s our baby. Putting this out there for others with cats who have this, I couldn’t find much about it, mostly regarding dogs. I live very close to Lake Michigan in SE Wisconsin, he said it’s more common in our area but more rare for cats, especially indoor. Hoping for the best.

April 22, 2021

Update: our boy passed away. He survived the treatments but had no lungs left after. We are devastated and upset that the vet didn’t offer a urine test (we didn’t know there was one) before a biopsy surgery that he never recovered from. Had I known blasto was even still on the table as a possibility after initial diagnostics back in January, I would have done any diagnostics that could satisfy the vet enough to start immediate treatment. Instead, as my dog declined slowly at first, he kept him on the same medication and kept saying “maybe he just needs more time to respond.” This is our referral hospital, so they were our second opinion. Now my gorgeous boy is gone and I’m out $26k. Money doesn’t mean anything if vets outside of the Midwest don’t start taking this seriously and stop the “wait and see” method when it comes to this horrible fungus..

April 14, 2021

We are about to call it with our boxer, who is hospitalized with blasto. We live in MA and have never been to the Midwest or South. It took 4 months and $16k to get to a diagnosis, which we only received yesterday. Tests and specialists all missed it previously. His only ongoing symptom was cough and presentation on radiographs. He is so beautiful and strong. He doesn’t want to give up; he’s such a good boy. He’s only 3 years old, but the doctors say he has lost 90% of his lung function to this disease. A boxer with absolutely no issues or other illnesses and this is what takes him down? At age 3? This is going to break me.

Beth Smits
March 10, 2021

All of your comments have been extremely helpful and unfortunately I am going through this as well. We don't have time to get into it all but my dog is suffering through this choking, gasping for air, dry heaving, retching, my precious pups name is Callie she's only 20 months old and she was hit by a car a year ago so the comment that the woman mentioned about her having a broken bones prior to and Contracting this godforsaken disease runs true with me in my precious Cali. Anyway she's going through all of that rats and gagging gasping for air he has zero energy she just lays there she won't eat she didn't eat any solid food whatsoever for like nine days so I was forcing honey mixed with water and lemon and and fish oil to her through a turkey baster as I don't think that the dogs can survive if without any food. She doesn't want to eat she only lays there she's looking at me begging Mommy to stop her from suffocating to death. I was finally prescribed itraconazole yesterday after waiting in paying thousands of dollars and no response and no diagnosis and just feeling helpless looking at her suffocating so horrible is a god-awful thing. I would like to write more I don't have time right now but If anyone at all knows of any holistic assistance if anybody knows about how to help her get through the pain of this choking I need to know about pain management for her maybe sedation it would that help I've already asked my my doctor did anybody out there have a good results did any of their dog survive or am I just throw longing to her dad and making her suffer through it this is my little girl she's so precious and I'm too devastated about this and I need whoever knows anyting about a fungal infection in the lungs or fungal pneumonia in the lungs for dogs if they know anything or have any tips or suggestions tidbits of Hope please let me know. My email is I did finally get the antibiotic itraconazole yesterday and I'm about half an hour after she ate its he finally ate a little bit of solid food now she's kind of back to where she was before but I just want to know if anybody knows anything about this cuz it's a god-awful thing to go through and I don't want to torture her and I can't imagine putting her down so I'm just devastated in desperate for a assistance or advice or information thank you so much.

Matt Field
December 12, 2020

We are going through this right now with our 4 year old rescue. He came from Cabo Mexico when he was 1 and has been in BC Canada ever since. He came to us with swollen legs where the vet figured he was hit by a car at a young age and the bone never healed properly. It never bothered him. 6 months ago he would get periodic episodes of extreme pain and would shriek loudly and not want to move. Wpuld only want to stand with an arched back. We have been to 4 different vets and thousand $ later. Unfortunately one vet put us on a heavy dose of prednisone  to try to control the inflammation from the unknown pain. Unknowingly this made things much worse by lowering his immune system. His front legs became extremely swollen and he can barely walk. Only wants to lay down, shrieks in pain whenever he is moved. Our latest vet took further xrays and thought his legs had bone cancer, the images did not look like normal bones. The images were sent to a specialist in the states for confirmation and came back with osteomyelitis which is blast in his bones and small amount in lungs. They immediately put him on itraconazole to kill off the fungus. It has been 9 days since taking the medication, he still does not want to move, appetite is almost non existant, we feed him via a spoon with raw beef and wet food and he eats a tiny amount each day. We also give him water via a syringe. He gets up twice a day to go for a short walk around the yard and pee. Each time he is moved from or to his bed he screams in pain and shakes until he settles in..we have a harness that we have to hold him up with when he walks otherwise he shakes and falls over screaming. This is a terrible disease. We are unsure how long it will be until he starts to improve. We are hoping soon, the only other option seems to be to put him down. Hoping others can recognize these symptoms sooner and get the proper treatment right away, osteomyelitis and blasto are unknown in our area

November 27, 2020

My 12 year old poodle Daphne presented with a nasty cough and the vet diagnosed either blasto or lung cancer. Radiologist confirmed cancer. I was hoping that it was blasto as I had thought treatment was possible.  Based on this article, it seems there is not much difference in terms of outcomes.

September 15, 2020

I live in middle TN and our female Rottweiler got Blasto. She is 2yrs old weight was 100lb, and she lost 20lb and we noticed hard lumps on her snout, fever,lethargic, hurt to walk. Vet check thought was bone cancer because her face bones were starting to deteriorate to the point they had to pull 2 teeth. Tests results came back negative for cancer and bone samples produced the bacteria growth of Blasto. She was given Itraconazole 100mg (2 daily) and she recovered fairly quick. She fat and sassy again! I researched to see that female dogs seem to have a better survival rate than males. Now her brother (male Rottweiler) appears to have this! Going through testing procedures Now. He has soft lumps you can feel under his skin but fevered, lethargic, lost 20lbs so far, it seems like the symptoms just hit at once. So far both dogs would eat fairly normal and then one day your like..wait I can almost see your ribs buddy. Also both had runny nose also. They are full time inside dogs but do have about a half an acre of fenced in yard they use to potty/play. The vet asked if they were in wooded area...there is woods right outside the fence in the back but not in our yard but I guess Blasto gets in the soil and so far not seeing a treatment for that. We also had a lab that was full time outside...he never got it and so far our toy pomerian hasn't gotten it. We've been here 6yrs at this address these Rottweilers are almost 3yrs old now. I'll try to update in the male...hope he makes it!

Carrie Ashley
September 2, 2020

I am desperately trying to learn all I can about this disease.  Blastomycosis just took the life of my otherwise healthy 7 year old rescue dog.  The day he was diagnosed is the day we had to put him down as he was beading internally and struggling to catch his breath.  Unfortunately, he was sick for a month and not diagnosed with Blastomycosis until it was to late.  We spent thousands of dollars trying to save him thinking it was Prostate cancer and it ended up being Blastomycosis.  (Enlarged Testicles and prostate are a sign of Blastomycosis) The guilt is tremendous, knowing if found earlier, it could have been treated.  "Lucky" was a humane society dog and was presumed a mix of border collie and beagle. We live in southestern Wisconsin and our dog was ALWAYS on a leash.  Our outings involved walking on our streets in our neighborhood.  He was not a "chewer" or a digger and was never in our yard unless we were walking him on our leash.  We cant figure out where he would have picked up this virus.  The only thing I can think of is that we have pine trees in our yard and instead of grass, we put wood mulch underneath our trees and into our yard (instead of grass).  He would walk over this mulch to get to our front door.  I am trying to research if a dog can pick up this virus from walking on freshly laid or older wood mulch?  We get "yards" of mulch delivered every spring and lay fresh mulch down.  We would like to get another dog and I am deathly afraid of the same thing happening.  I am ready to remove all the wood mulch in our yard as I cant imagine going thru this pain with another dog.  Heartbroken in Wisconsin

Jean Morgan
August 30, 2020

I had to euthanize my beautiful German shepherd June 23, 2020. Her name was Bridgit Jones and she was only 5. This Blastomycosis took her down so fast. Bridgit , a month before she died was vibrant, happy, and I'm devastated by her getting this wretched thing and dying so young. Her chest x ray was just like a snow storm. I had had her to the vets several times, they did tests but were insure what was wrong. Bloodwork showed nothing 3 weeks prior to her death. Bridgit had no cough, no discharge from her nose or mouth. Covid made vet visits tricky. On June 23, when I got home from work, Bridgit was panting through her nose, cheeks puffing out, her tongue was blue. The vet clinic said, in the 25 years in practice, they've not had a case before. I'd never heard of it before and I'm in my 60's. This is a dreadful fungus. I miss my Bridgit everyday. She was the best .

Bridget Krieglmeier
August 23, 2020

We leave in Minnesota , our black  laborador died of this disease in july, devastating .

Rebecca Carson
August 20, 2020

December of 2019 my fullntime indoor cat got sick. I took her to my vet whomsaid she was getting old and dying. I took her to new vet who did lots of bloodwork and uktrasound ($700). Took her next to U of I who told me she had cancer  of mouth, lungs, blinded in one eye, swollen lymph glands, . Took her home  but got scared so in three days took her back to U of I expecting they would put her to  sleep. A student was the one who said blasto. She spent a week there and sent home with feeding tube for a month. Then she had some breathing probkems and spent another week there. Recently we cut her fluconazol to half for a week because she was throwing it up. She has bloodwork next week.You have to  have blood work every month. The disease is a nightmare. They think i brought it into the house on my shoes. We just finished 7 months of treatment and her lung tumor is just now shrinking. She won't get her sight back,

Kayla R
August 17, 2020

We live in GA, north of Atlanta, and our black lab contracted this and died last week. It has devastated our family. Because it's so rare in GA, the vet was treating him for pneumonia which of course, the anti biotics didn't help. We found out it was blasto once we took him to the ER and they took a sample. We don't know where he could have gotten it other than our yard - which I hope not because we have two other dogs - or when we went hiking in N GA. My poor baby lost 10 pounds over a couple weeks and by the end he could barely walk and didn't know where he was. This is truly an evil thing.

Pam Wilson
July 23, 2020

My 8 year old Ibizan Hound was just diagnosed this week with Blasto. He is covered in oozing abscesses all over his body, he has a fever and lesions were found in his lungs. He lost 5 lbs in one week. and his legs are swollen and painful. He was put on Fluconazole immediately after diagnosis. He is in such bad shape we dont know if we have caught it in time. We beleive he also contracted it from our backyard and there is nothing that can be done. I cant just up and move. This is a horrid infection and would not want any other animals to get this. I can only pray Levi will survive.

Meri R.
July 5, 2020

My love, my heart, my 6 yr old goldendoodle was diagnosed in February after having to have a toe amputated. She responded great at first to meds, blasto numbers decreasing by 50% every month. Then all the sudden she got a sore on her tail, and a rash on her back..and then a cough in May. We have cleared her pneumonia, but the sores are not going away, and now she is very lethargic. We think the meds are killing her. I'm at my end, I don't know if I'm helping or killing her anymore.

June 24, 2020

This breaks my heart. I live in Arkansas and we just lost our most loved dog Ash, who served as my dads PTSD dog, to this nasty thing. We only found out it was this and maybe also something called Histoplasmosis after he was gone. We have lost two other dogs in the past ten years and now we know it must have been the same thing. IT'S FAST!!! One day he was chasing squirrels the next day he had a slight cough. Took him to the vet to make sure something wasn't lodged in his throat, it wasn't. They didn't do an xray. the next day he was limping. Took him to the vet and they couldn't find anything. They gave him a steroid. A couple of days later he was blind in one eye the the other was going. Rushed him to a specialist and they told us they were going to have to remove his eyes but he is young and should be able to cope. They first had to do a chest xray. They called us early the next morning and said that after they took the xray the night before they found his lungs were full of fungus! Not only his lungs but it was throughout his body! He died the next day. All of this happened in a weeks time! Looking back now we realize that all of our loss of dogs had the same symptoms and died fast and no one had a clue. After thousands of dollars and more heartache than one family should have we finally know what it was (by our request we asked the last vet to do a fungi test to see what it was) Now we find out that apparently there is no way to get rid of the fungi from the soil. So is it safe for the grand kids to be outside playing in the dirt? Can my dad never have another service dog? How come none of the vets in the past have caught this?

Joy Banks
June 16, 2020

I have just lost a GermanShepherd last week to symptoms alot like the one's you have described. My vet thought it was cancer then he went on to mention a fungas, it has cost thousands to treat, but sadly it was too late. The problem i have with this, is i live in the UK and there is no mention of this country with this type of fungas. I used to take my dog out in woods near lakes, so i am curiouse to know can this fungi be in the UK

April 8, 2020

I'm in Southern Middle TN a few miles from AL. My dog was diagnosised with blast yesterday. His foot is so swollen and he cant walk on it- Vet says its eaten his bone... im so afraid we will have to euthanize our baby...

Tommy Reeves
March 29, 2020

I recently had to put my Golden retriever down due to she had cancer. She was only 8 years old. My other dog (Gracie) had an infected toe for 8 weeks so after finally doing an x-ray, they said it needed to be amputated. As you can see, this is getting very expensive. Now, Gracie has not been eating again but this time the diagnosis was blastomycosis. She has not eaten in 2 weeks and not drinking very little. She is lethargic and as the Vet said, these pills are very expensive. We are frustrated this is happening again and we do not live in the region where it is prominent. We live in Alabama. My prayer is she makes it through, the doc. said let's just go 1 week at a time.

March 7, 2020

I had an Australian shepherd diagnosed with the lung form of blasto in October he was miss diagnosed once and was given antibiotics which worsens the blasto. The disease had progressed so far he had lost his vision before he was diagnosed and it had completely covered his lungs, his eyes, his skin, his brain. He was on an extremely high dose of antifungals and steroids along with medicines to calm his stomach and help him eat. Some medications were administered through IV. After 2 months of treatment he had good days and bad days but  there was no real improvement and it had continued to spread until it affected his mental capacity and he became incontinent amount other things. We had to put him down at the end of January. At the end of February my other dog is now having the same symptoms and I don’t know if I can go through the process again. The vet has ran all the test and so far everything has come back negative but his symptoms are getting worse by the day. I hope no ones pet has to experience this disease and if they do I hope they are the lucky ones because it is hard on everyone.

March 4, 2020

I live in southern Illinois. My housecat was diagnosed with blasto a month ago. She is blind in one eye, has a mass in her lungs, had abscesses all over her tail, and a lump on her neck. I have to tube  feed her because it attacked her mouth and it is too sore to eat. It was  misdiagnosed four times. I truly believe she has had it for over a year. She was being treated for tail abscesses and asthma. No one can believe a housecat got this. I am surrounded by crop land. I can't believe this happened.

Lori Kater
January 31, 2020

I am in Southern Illinois and my Australian Shepherd was diagnosed with it, started as a terrible cough with a runny nose.  I thought it was like a sulinus infection then noticed little sores that he constantly licked.  Did X-RAYS, blood and urine test confirmed it.  Put on Itraconazole once a day helped tremendously.  He was placed on antibiotics and Prednisone in the beginning.  Vet is keeping him on Itraconazole for two months and repeating tests again.  I want to know how to get rid of it in the soil...

Sandra James
January 23, 2020

Faye Neeland & anyone whose dog has blasto in lungs. Keep them calm. No running around. Walk on leash. Activity puts too much pressure on lungs that are already severely compromised. Our dog Hammer just wasn't right and I kept taking to vet for 6 months then finally diagnosed on a Saturday and gone on Sunday. It's been 2 1/2 yrs and I am still broken hearted. We moved but still own the house. Was looking for info on what we could do to our yard so we could move back home and protect our other dogs. From everything I have read here I guess there's nothing we can do. Seriously considering turf and concrete. It is a horrible disease and the treatment is horrible too.

Theresa Bringhurst
January 15, 2020

My dog was diagnosed with blastomycosis over a week ago along with pneumonia we have him on itraconazole and clavamox. Thought we where going to lose him last night he was coughing so hard he could barely breath. This clear & white foamy mucas was coming up. Is this good or bad? I'm just beside myself he is 6 years and I've had him since he was 5 days old! Any advise? I'm desperate in the smoky mountains NC

Karen L. Pennington
January 15, 2020

4 Year survivor of Blasto! I want to give hope to some of you with newly diagnosed pups. My 8 year old Golden Retriever was acting lethargic, no appetite, eye draining, no energy, her breath smell changed, and she would sit in a corner and stare at the wall. I was aware of Blasto being a problem where we vacation in the summer, so insisted on testing for it at my vet. She had no sores, her lung xray was clear (unusual), but it came back positive. We started on Itraconazole, and things worsened. She got lesions that the vet could see behind her eyes. We switched to Fluconazole, and she improved pretty quickly. We tested again and it came back clear, but they want 2 clear tests before going off the meds. After consulting with our vet, I opted to keep her on the Fluconazole preventatively. She takes 200 mg morning and night. I get her blood tested regularly to make sure her organs aren't suffering from the meds, but have had good luck so far.  We continue to vacation at our cabin on the shores of Lake Huron in the upper peninsula of Michigan and I feel very lucky to have caught it quickly and still have a healthy dog. Early diagnosis is key. You know your dog better than anyone - insist on the testing if you suspect something is up.  This disease is misdiagnosed as cancer often, and unfortunately the word is just NOT out about this disease. Even the vets in our area are a bit uninformed about it. 

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
November 22, 2019

Hi Tammi, I'm so sorry to hear about your dogs.  Unfortunately, as Dr. Johnson said in this article, there really isn't any way of removing Blastomycosis from the environment.

November 20, 2019

My beloved sheltie died 3 weeks ago with no warning after undiagnosed congestive heart failure. Right after that, my half heeler/border collie started a cough like she had swallowed something and couldn’t get it out of her throat. I took her to my vet and told them “ I think she swallowed something and can’t get it out of her throat“. They prescribed cough medicine and sent us home, saying she was healthy. Then, one week ago I came home from work and all of a sudden she couldn’t open her left eye. It looked like it had a bad infection. It’s startled me so much I took her to the emergency vet that night. He drew a lot of lab work, took a chest x-ray, and sent a specimen to test for Blasto. He also started her on an antibiotic for her eyes. Three days later, he called and said it came back positive for Blasto and he started her on an anti-fungal. Her left eye still locked iPhone. They said we needed to get her to a canine ophthalmologist as soon as possible. I took her up to the University of Wisconsin Madison and brought her to their animal clinic. They said her left eye prognosis is “guarded” and that she had a partial retinal detachment from the blasto, but the blasto did not get into her right eye, her lungs, or anywhere else in her body. She has now had five doses of the antifungal and the coughing has stopped. Her eye looks better. We are holding our breath and going day by day. This disease is awful, awful. This is what I would love to know: IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET RID OF THIS IN YOUR YARD? I don’t want grandchildren or future pets to get it! SHOULD I MOVE? IS IT POSSIBLE TO TREAT A YARD AND NOT HAVE THE TREATMENT ITSELF BE A THREAT TO THE DOG? Who am I supposed to direct these questions to? Do you think a yard specialist would know these answers? Please, and the answers you can give would be greatly appreciated!

Madelyn Phillips
November 8, 2019

My dog had a chest xray today. It came back with white spots everywhere. I do not know what to do. It is either fungal, bacterial or cancer. Can anyone review the xray and see if it looks similar to their dogs. I have a feeling its fungal. Doctor recommended transtrachel wash. It starts out at $3000. Is there a cheaper suggestion for diagnosing that anyone knows of? Please any information will be greatly appreciated. Btw I live in Mid Michigan area.

Christy Corp-Minamiji, DVM
October 8, 2019

Hi Lori,  as with any medical care, you'll want to give your veterinarian a call to ask about activity for your dog during treatment.  They have a better idea of the risks in your area and how much your dog is likely to exert himself than we do.  Best to you and your pup!

Lori D McCoy
October 7, 2019

My dog was just diagnosed with this blasto fungus in his lungs. I live in a heavily wooded area. Is it still ok for him to be/go outside?? He's a lab/Rottweiler mix, so he loves to be outside hunting critters and digging holes. His veterinarian never said if it was ok or not for him to stay outside while he's taking this medication.

September 14, 2019

We lost our beautiful playful dog Rosie after about 2 weeks of trying to figure out what she had and treating her for blastomycosis for four treatments.  She could NOT breath and finally could not go on.  This is brutal.  Healthy to dead in no more than 3 week.  2 weeks of realizing something was wrong.  Dropped weight, energy decreasing daily and breathing so heavy the last few days.  If you dog is outside in the country KNOW this disease and its symptoms.  It is heartbreaking.

Dr. Tony Johnson
August 27, 2019

Hi Faye, I'm so sorry about your dog. To my knowledge. there's nothing that can be done to sterilize the yard, unfortunately. This a very ubiquitous fungus and can't be eradicated. Trying to prevent your dog from digging might be helpful. Luckily, not every dog who digs will develop clinical disease, so the odds that your other dog will be affected are vanishingly low. Good luck and try not to worry. -- Dr. Tony

August 27, 2019

Thank you for this great article (and comments), unfortunately we discovered it too late. Our 8 month old chocolate lab enjoyed the months of June - August at our island summer cottage on Georgian Bay in Ontario.  She had boundless energy and loved to dig into and chew on anything she could get near.  We were totally ignorant to the dangers hidden in the soil. Near the end of July we noticed a slow decline in her energy levels and by the first week of August she had a large abscess on her nose.  We brought her to the local vet who also noticed a high fever and swollen lymph nodes throughout her body.  Her blood work looked normal and he advised taking her back to the US for tests immediately.  The animal hospital in the US noticed several more abscesses on her body (legs, sides) and even some secretion coming out of her nails.  They eventually diagnosed her with Blastomycosis.  We had no idea what this was but were initially relieved to find out it was treatable. We were wrong.  Despite every possible effort, she did not survive two weeks on the treatment. Her appetite and energy kept declining and eventually she stopped eating anything.  Not sure if it was the infection, the treatment, or the lack of will to endure more pain that took her in the end.  She was one week shy of 9 months. We feel so guilty that we were ignorant to the risk of this horrible infection.  Would advise anyone to keep their dogs from digging around the Great Lakes and to alert others of this danger.

Faye Neeland
August 26, 2019

We just lost our beloved dog to blasto, and he was only a year old. I watched him suffer from this disease for only a week and it took him, fast. We still have one dog that is living in the same conditions as the one that passed. We don't live on the lake, they are both diggers and we have a lot of trees in our yard. I live in northern MN. Where did he get this?? Can I get soil tested in our yard? What can I do? I am terrified my other dog will also get this.

Phyllis DeGioia
August 16, 2019

Jackie - We are so sorry to hear of your deep loss. My heart is with you.

Jackie Carroll
August 15, 2019

Our Dog Moose passed away today from this fungus. My heart is breaking.

Nala's Mom
June 1, 2019

Unfortunately our beloved nala has been attacked by this nasty fungus. She didn’t show any symptoms and suddenly this past week she stopped eating completely, was having trouble breathing as if something was in her throat and she was trying to get it out. So I took her to her vet. 6 hours later and after 8 vets looked at her xrays they all agree it’s Blasto we see her X-ray and her lungs are almost completely taken over by this fungus. They started her on itraconozole, tid, and amoxicillin. She’s not eating or drinking so we had the vet administer fluids. I’m scared, scared we caught it to late and I’m being selfish pumping her with fluids and meds because I’m not ready to let her go. She’s lost almost 20 pounds in a week. Maybe I didn’t notice and she had signs before. I have two other dogs and I want to know how to get rid of this thing from my yard. They are inside dogs and only go out to do their business, so she must have caught it from our yard. I don’t have house plants.

January 13, 2019

We are currently treating our lab for Blasto. She was diagnosed fairly quickly by a vet in Kenora, Ont.  we are from an area where Blasto is not endemic but we have a cabin in the Lake of the Woods region of Ont. Canada. She started on Sporanox and then we switched to generic itracanozole. I discovered on online c drug coupon site called and it is honored by Walmart, Costcond others. It reduced the cost of 60 100mg from over $500 to about $140. This is generic itracanazole in capsule form. It is not compounded form which is hardly effective. Our dog has responded well and has been treated for about 31/2 months so far. She had been symptom free until a couple weeks ago when she developed what looked like a pressure sore that she had licked on her hock and another oozy small lesion on top of her head. We are currently trying to discern whether these are Blasto related or possibly vasculitis lesions from the itracanazole. She has been on a high dose the whole time due to miscommunication between vets. The vet in Kenora that has treated lots of Blasto says it is more likely from the mess than Blasto so we have reduced the dosage and seeing if the lesions improve. Dogs at 5mg/kg per day don't seem to get vasculitis lesions but dogs at the 10 mg/kg per day sometimes due. Our dog has been closer to the higher dosage than the lower for the entire treatment time. We will be send blood work to MiraVista Labs to check for Blasto and itracanazole levels after two weeks on the lower dosage.  Hopefully we can finish the lower dosage and get her lesions healed and have evidence of being Blasto free. For some excellent information about Blasto check out the Mira Vista Lab website. Good Luck to everyone dealing with this dread disease.  There is treatment available and early diagnosis is the key.

November 21, 2018

Reading peoples comments and I noticed most of them sound like their pets were sick with symptoms for a while. My dog just died today. She was sick a week and a half. She was only diagnosed with Blasto yesterday. It has been a horrific time for her and I. I now fear my other dog will get sick. They both are in my yard 80% of the time. I am looking for something that says how to rid your yard of it. Or a way to prevent an exposed pet from getting sick.

October 21, 2018

My little man Jake got this fungal infection little over a year ago. Never heard of it and his vet was not very familiar either; he had heard of the disease. He did quite a bit of research and we started treating Jake with Intraconazole but no one expected him to survive. Many tumors in his lungs that caused him to cough like he had something stuck in his throat and attempting to clear the object. He had one huge one and a lot of smaller tumors. Two vets later, they diagnosed allergies. When his breathing became very shallow and rapid, i took him to an emergency clinic. That is where it was determined to be blasto. With the diagnosis, he began the Intraconazole protocol. 2 capsules daily for 6 months and that medication is expensive @ $8 per capsule. After 30 days he showed improvement and after 6 months, appears to have eliminated the fungus. His last two urine samples came back negative for presence of antigens. My only advice is be diligent and never hesitate to get a second or even third opinion.

March 29, 2018

My German Shepard Bear is at MedVet right now for second day and most likely has this. We are waiting for final results tomorrow. He has lesions on lungs and kidneys. He stopped eating and has labored breathing. We are distraught and first time learning about this.

March 20, 2018

My 4 yr old Boxer has this and it's horrible.  We have been fighting this since last December and just last week had to have both eyes removed.  He has it in his lungs, eyes and has bald spots now on his fur and scabs on his body.  Since removing his eyes he is actually starting to act like himself.  Please do not waste time if you think your dog has this horrible fungus!!  If our vet would have even asked somebody else or referred us to MedVet in Indy right away....we might have been able to save Fletchers vision.  I am eternally grateful to his specialist at MedVet in Indy and his eye specialist at Animal Eye clinic in Carmel.  They were very honest about the expectations and did everything they possible could to save his vision.

March 15, 2018

My dog was just diagnosed yesterday with Blasto after 5 weeks of tests at the local vet, we finally took her to Purdue Vet Research Hospital.  Thankfully they diagnosed it pretty quick.  My dog doesn't have it in her lungs.  She contracted it through an open would in her paw.  She has open sores on two paws, one on the inside of her mouth and one on her gumline....I am horrified that she contracted this nasty, nasty thing.  We live in a wet wooded area, so there is no question this came from our backyard.  She will be on anti-fungal meds for 4-6 months.

March 14, 2018

My sweet Bones has this horrible disease for the 2nd time in her life. She is a "home" dog, who is only outside in our yard to do business, or if we're outside as a family. It's winter in WI, so she could have ONLY contracted this horrible fungus in our own yard. She lost her vision in one eye last summer with her first bout of this, but recovered quite well otherwise. Now she's lost vision in her other eye. She's 8 yrs old, and we're having a hard time deciding if we should continue treating her, or say good-bye and stop her suffering. I don't know if my heart could bear her recovering, and then contracting this nastyness a 3rd time! When we do say good-bye, I'm terrified to get another dog due to the fact that this must be in our yard! My heart goes out to any owner who has been through this!

January 9, 2018

We are going through this now, and treating at home with several drugs prescribed by our vet. We have fungus all over our lawn (near where our dog goes potty), so we suspect this is the culprit. We are not sure what to do to fix the soil, but right now our concern is getting her healthy. She has lameness (which does seem to be improving), absesses that drain, large lymph nodes, swelling in the leg, and bad pneumonia. She is having a difficult time breathing, and has been on the medication for almost a week. Her fever has remained a constant 105 or higher, and this has been so heartbreaking for us. We can't afford to hospitalize her, and we don't want to give up either. We are hoping the medication will kick in soon. We are having to feed her with a syringe with boiled chicken and rice liquefied. We are also having to force her to poop, which has been less than fun to do. She has been more responsive today, and loves when we lay with her and pet her; though she isn't her usual self. This disease is heartbreaking.

April 30, 2017

When our 1 yr old Black Lab was diagnosed, it was devastating! We had never heard of it but immeadiately did our research! Our vet put him on Sporanox right away. He wasn't improving and was put on Fluconazole. It was incredibly expensive! Our vet worked with our local Target Pharmacy and got us a great discount! He had open wounds where his lymph nodes were. We noticed his eyes started to look like he had cataracts. Our vet examined him and gave us the bad news that it had moved to his eyes!! One was worse than the other. The fluconazole was working and the sores started to heal and his lungs were also starting to clear up! We then took him to see a vet optholomigist. He confirmed he was blind in his left eye and the right one was recovering! We were so sad! We met with our vet and decided it was best to have the eye removed and have him neutered. Blasto can be in the testicles. She removed his left eye and neutured him. I just bawled when we picked him up after surgery! He was so excited to see us! Having only one eye has never slowed him down! Our vet did test his eye and testicles and the Blasto was still present in his eye! We made the right choice to remove it! Sammy is going to be 12 in July! He is the best dog EVER!! He had a rough start his first year, but has had a great life and lots of love!! Working with the MN Dept of Health we think he got it from the lake shore at our resort in Northern MN. We never allow him near the lake shore any more! That was hard because he loved the water! He still loves the boat and goes fishing with us. We walk him onto the dock and into the boat! Even with only one eye, his is a great frisbee dog! Without the great care he received from our vet, I don't think he would still be with us!

Kate McDuffee, DVM
April 14, 2017

Hi, Tony! Just FYI. We've got it in the Southeast as well (at least here in North Georgia).

Meg Hoffmann
April 14, 2017

I've known a few dogs lost to Blasto having lived in Northeastern WI where people and dogs alike are killed from it too often. If you decide to treat with the expensive drugs (I know I would try) Walgreens has a Rx drug program that allows dogs (and cats) on it and they give substantial discounts. I've used it for antibiotics because my dogs and I are all Lyme victims so I don't know what the discount would be for the costly antifungals but I would certainly look into it and not give up.

Jan D
April 14, 2017

Is there a way to treat your yard to kill the fungus while it's still in the ground?

Carolyn Hettich
April 14, 2017

Ok...  I'm just moving is to a bubble.

Dawn Reisinger
April 13, 2017

Montana is blissfully lacking in fungal diseases.

Janice La Pinta
April 13, 2017

So if I dig in dirt, for planting, I could get it too?  and does washing hands help ?

April 13, 2017

Sounds like an awful infection.  What about adding Serrapeptase (proteolytic) enzyme to assist the antifungals?

Phyllis Dinsmore
April 13, 2017

Is it related to cryptococcus gatti (sp?)

Victoria Meurer
April 13, 2017

My collie was allergic to several kinds of fungus that are found in dirt. I had to get rid of all my house plants. I read a lot about fungus in the lawn and dirt and it said the best way was to keep the grass cut really short so the dirt has a chance to dry out and also to get rid of as much dead grass as possible because that keeps the ground moist for the fungus to grow. It did help and he was able to lay out in the yard without breaking out in sores.

Sheila Hamlin
April 13, 2017

To scary to comprehend! Never heard of it until this article and I live in Northern Minnesota

April 13, 2017

It is as bad as described...had a dog with it...started with eye, which he lost due to blindness caused by blasto....then came sores over 95% of his body....terrible...then research done on him as test subject, only to die in the end because of complications from everything I stated...check your dogs and cats, ny vets frequently.  It is a very heart breaking disease.

April 13, 2017

One option to try to minimize dogs digging in dirt (where this evil fungus lives) is to set up a sand box for them. If necessary, you can work with a positive reinforcement trainer to encourage your dog to choose the sand over dirt. But, it's an easy and inexpensive option that often works. Good luck, everyone.

January 27, 2017

Oh no, now I have another thing to worry about. Both my dogs are diggers and would dig themselves to China if they could.  I am constantly filling up holes in their yard. How in the world am I going to stop them from doing that now?  I've tried everything I can think of short of coating their whole 1/4 enclosed yard in hot pepper flakes. I'm really at a loss here and will just have to suggest the vet check them for this disease too if they get sick with a mysterious illness. .

Dr. Tony Johnson
January 4, 2017

That's a good point - Sporanox is thought to be better by many internists who treat this condition a lot, but there is paper saying fluconazole is useful as well and it's cheaper.  If starting with itraconazole, use Sporanox at first to be sure it's working.

Taylor Race Sutton
January 1, 2017

Very insightful. A lot of new things learned. It's a damn shame this disease exists.

Patricia R.
December 30, 2016

Ugh!I agree that this is a nasty disease.  I just had a cat diagnosed in upstate NY.   Blastomycosis is everywhere. It was really horrible to treat and the cat didn't make it. One thing that I discovered is that compounded itraconazole is not effective. You need to use sporanox. Thanks for the great info.

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