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What are Aspergillosis?

Aspergillosis is a particular type of fungal infection that is caused by various species of Aspergillus, an organism that is common worldwide. The symptoms your dog exhibits will dependent on the type of severity of the infection, ranging from abundant nasal discharge to general lethargy. Aspergillus can cause considerable damage if left untreated and should be combated with antifungal medication as soon as possible for a better prognosis.

Aspergillosis is a fungal infection that may be limited to the nasal cavity or may spread throughout the body. Disseminated aspergillosis is rare compared to the nasal form of the disease and can be difficult to treat while nasal aspergillosis may be successfully treated with topical antifungal medication. In all cases, an early diagnosis leads to a better prognosis.

Aspergillosis Average Cost

From 116 quotes ranging from $100 - $3,000

Average Cost

$300

Symptoms of Aspergillosis in Dogs

Signs of aspergillosis include:

  • Greenish-yellow nasal discharge
  • Ulcers around the nostrils
  • Pain or discomfort around the face (especially nasal cavity)
  • Sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of pigment or tissue on the surface of the skin
  • Bleeding around the nose or nostrils

Additional symptoms may be exhibited with disseminated aspergillosis though they vary depending on where the disease has spread. These include non-specific signs such as weight loss and lameness.

Types
  • Nasal aspergillosis

    - the more common form of the disease and affects the nasal passages, leading to mucus discharge and other signs of infection around the nose.

  • Disseminated aspergillosis
    • which is rarer, may occur in various areas of the body, including lymph nodes, stomach, kidneys, and vertebrae.
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Causes of Aspergillosis in Dogs

Aspergillosis is caused by the Aspergillus fungi, which is an organism that is commonly found throughout the world in compost piles, barns, and stables. Aspergillus fungi was first discovered in the environment in 1729 and it's first case associated with family (companion) animals was in 1829. The infection is typically limited to the nasal cavities and is often caused by Aspergillus fumigates, but there is a small chance that it may spread to other areas of the body and involve other species of the fungus. The disseminated disease is identified primarily in female German shepherd dogs, while the nasal infection affects dogs with long noses, such as collies. Dogs with weakened immune systems, any type of underlying lung disease, and chronic or severe asthma are more at risk for aspergillosis.

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Diagnosis of Aspergillosis in Dogs

The symptoms for aspergillosis can be non-specific, especially with the disseminated disease. If you notice that your dog has nasal discharge or is behaving abnormally, visit the veterinarian, and provide a list of symptoms and their duration. The veterinarian will take your dog’s history and conduct a physical examination, which may include a blood test or a urinalysis as part of the initial diagnostics process.

With nasal aspergillosis, a diagnosis can be made by examining nasal discharge and identifying the organisms responsible for the infection. This is not reliable, however, as Aspergillus is commonly found and may be present even in animals whose symptoms are not related to aspergillosis. Instead, the veterinarian may recommend radiographs, which will reveal any damage the fungus may have caused in your dog’s nasal tissues. Another diagnostic tool is a rhinoscopy, which gives the veterinarian a clear image of the nasal cavity and helps with performing a biopsy if needed.

Diagnosis for disseminated aspergillosis varies according to the affected area, but tests may include x-rays, CT, and urinalysis.

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Treatment of Aspergillosis in Dogs

Antifungal medication is most commonly the preferred treatment of choice for aspergillosis. Oral drugs, such as itraconazole, are available but do not have a consistent rate for success. These systemic drugs also carry side effects that your dog may not tolerate well but is necessary for dogs with the disseminated disease.

Topical antifungal medication tends to have a higher rate of success than systemic drugs and is recommended for dogs with nasal aspergillosis. Using general anesthesia, this treatment involves applying the solution directly into the nose, where it is left for up to an hour. During this time, your dog will regularly be turned in order to maximize contact with the antifungal medication. Before your dog wakes up, excess medication will be drained out through the nostrils.

The success rate of the treatment depends on how widely the infection has spread, the extent of the damage, and the general spread of the fungus. Treatment is considered effective for dogs where the infection is confined to the nasal cavity, but if the infection is systemic or has entered the brain, the success rate is lower.

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Recovery of Aspergillosis in Dogs

In some cases, several approaches to treatment may be required in order to fully clear out the infection. In the case of severe infections, your dog may need to be hospitalized so that the veterinarian can complete treatment.

Once your dog is home again, monitor it for nasal discharge, and inform the veterinarian if you notice any additional symptoms. The veterinarian will usually ask, and prefer, for you to bring your dog back for follow-up examinations to ensure that the infection has been cleared out.

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Aspergillosis Average Cost

From 116 quotes ranging from $100 - $3,000

Average Cost

$300

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Aspergillosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Mutt

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Six Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Nose

Nose looks very dry and has a little discharge - can’t tell if there’s a more serious issue

July 30, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, It looks like your dog may have an infection in their nose. It would be best to see your vet. You can apply triple antibiotic cream to the openings to try to help this raw area heal. If not, you would need oral antibiotics and maybe antifungals to help your dog feel much better. I hope your dog starts to feel better soon.

July 30, 2020

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Coonhound

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Discharge From One Nostril

My dog is having a trephination surgery for Aspergillus in nasal cavity and sinus. Where will the vet drill . Will it be I. The bridge area of nose or forehead

July 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. The location that they will drill will depend on where the problem is that they have found. Since I don't know the details of your dog's situation, that would be a great question for your veterinarian, so that you know what to expect. I hope that all goes well.

July 27, 2020

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Bella

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German Shepherd

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9 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Lethargy
Decreased Appetite
Incontience
Pain In Back

My 9-yr old German Shepherd is recently diagnosed with Disseminated Aspergillus. We are starting a routine of a bunch of ‘conazole anti-fungals. My question though, is this contagious to our Yellow Lab or to humans?

Aug. 24, 2018

Bella's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Aspergillosis is not considered a contagious disease as dogs normally pick it up from the environment (it is everywhere) so I wouldn’t be worried about your other dogs picking it up from Bella. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 25, 2018

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Paladin

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Flat-Coated Retriever

dog-age-icon

7 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Bleeding
Lethargy
Nasal Discharge
Off Food
Licking Mouth

Hi, reading through the article on curing fungal aspergillosis, I was surprised that you estimated the cost at between $300 and $3,000. VCA Animal Hospital seems to have taken over the country. It's $150 to see a Vet for an estimate. No ballpark quotes, and at that rate comparison shopping is impossible. Our quote was for between $3,400 and $3,700 with the strong possibility that we may have to do the treatment a second time. I called extensively throughout the Los Angeles area and could not find a Vet outside the VCA who performs the rhinoscopy with nasal catheter and anti fungals. Where on earth do we find those low low prices you quoted? Thanks!

July 26, 2017

Paladin's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

At the time of writing, the price range was based on 116 quotations of clients which applied for finance through Vetary for a dog with aspergillosis. Diagnosis of aspergillosis may be done by x-ray and looking at the radiolucency of the nasal cavity which along with symptoms and culture would be indicative of aspergillosis. Pricing for California and Los Angeles in particular is well above the national average; a practice in Wichita, Kansas will have lower overheads etc… than a practice in Los Angeles. Also, this type of treatment is what is known as a back-end price treatment which means that practices don’t disclose the cost publicly because they use back-end pricing to increase their revenue; front-end prices like consultations, dental cleaning, neutering and vaccinations are publicly available because they are the low prices that get clients through the door. The main problem with treatment of aspergillosis is the time and technique used to administer the treatment; again this varies with location. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Hi, I'm sorry you're going through this and it's cost sooo much money. I'm in the same boat and honestly I don't know if I can keep going in for treatment after treatment. We've done 2 fungal procedures so far (the first was the worst as they had to remove all the fungal plaques.) We did a second treatment and they didn't see any fungal plaques but staph. We treated him with antibiotics for the bacterial infection and thought we were done. We're 6 weeks out from that last treatment and now he's getting drainage from the left nostril again and I can hear the congestion in his nose and he's rubbing his head against the carpet on the left side as well. I know it's back. Obviously the fungal cream in the nose for an hour doesn't work. Now they want to put a tube in his head and have me put the cream through the tube for 6 weeks. That's 2 more surgeries and a TUBE IN HIS HEAD! OMGosh it sounds awful! My poor little boy. He's only turning 5 in a few days. He's been through 5 surgeries already ( different issues along with the fungus issue now). I've been working with a holistic vet and trying to improve his immune system. I've spent hundreds on supplements and really good fresh food but I see it isn't working. I've spent so much money and my boy isn't cured. Do you know of the name of any "Eastern medications" that seem to be working? They say the oral fungal meds don't work on nasal aspergillosis only the cream coming in direct contact with the fungus works. I'm trying Colloidal Silver( as of today) in conjunction with the other natural supplements. I'm gonna call the holistic vet ( who charges me 50 $ every 15 mins I'm on the phone with him) and letting him know his treatments aren't working either. Holistic & Western vets...nothing is working. We can't do this fungal cream flush procedure every 4-6 weeks...it's not only hard on my baby to be put under so often, but no one could afford the 3000$ price tag that often. Why are some dogs cured but some aren't? Am I going to lose my baby to a fungus?

Jan. 6, 2018

Kristine C.


I took my dog to a great vet in Mexico to escape the horrible, price-gouging vets in LA/California. My vet in Tijuana did a few nasal flushes which cost around $400 each. And while a month supply of Itraconozole can set you back up to $700 in the US, I only pay about $30 buying the meds in Mexico. I eventually had to get the trephination surgery done by one of only a handlful of vets knowledgeable about Aspergillosis. Her name is Dr. Rossi and she is apart of Southern California Animal specialty Hospital in Irvine. They call her the fungal queen. She knows what she is doing but be prepared, the surgery will set you back nearly $5k. My supposedly got pneumonia after surgery and after all was said and done, that one surgery was over $7k. It’s been 10 months and guess what? Right back where I started and out over $14k. Just like human medicine in the US, veterinary medicine is out to drain your bank account. It’s disgusting. I’ve found people have had better long term results treating via Eastern medicine. Good luck and I’m sorry you’re dealing with this nightmare.

Oct. 19, 2017

Alia M.

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Caro

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Giant Schnauzer

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lameness In Front Leg And Deafness.

Good day, My Giant Schnauzer, 3 years old, has been diagnosed with disseminated aspergillosis. What treatment should be done and what is the chance that she will be cured.

July 26, 2017

Caro's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Treatment of disseminated aspergillosis can be a long and non-productive process; treatments like itraconazole may take ten or more months to have a successful outcome, but it isn’t guaranteed. Amphotericin B is a more effective medication but may lead to kidney damage, and again success cannot be guaranteed; treatment may also be over a prolonged period of time. You should speak with your Veterinarian about different treatment options specifically for Caro based on his overall health. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

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Aspergillosis Average Cost

From 116 quotes ranging from $100 - $3,000

Average Cost

$300

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