What is Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis)?
Sporotrichosis is a fungal disease of the skin, but can also negatively affect the respiratory system, bones, and brain. The fungus, Sporothrix Schenckii, which is abundantly found in nature, is responsible for the fungal infection that can spread to dogs. It affects dogs by entering through abrasions of the skin or even by breathing it in. Although this disease begins on the skin, and if allowed to grow it can adversely affect the organs of the dog’s body and can become quite serious.
The fungus is found in the environment. It is readily found in soil, certain types of moss, plants, and between a variety of animal species and humans as well. Dogs that are out hunting among the wooded areas with moss, soil, and thorny branches are susceptible to this illness.
This fungal disease is highly contagious and can spread via animal to animal and from animal to human.
Fungal disease (Sporotrichosis) of the skin in dogs is caused by the fungus Sporothrix Schenckii. The direct contact through open wounds or other orifices of spores of this fungus can cause mild to serious inflammation.
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Symptoms of Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) in Dogs
The most common symptom of sporotrichosis is the bumps or nodules that show up on the skin. At first, these may be hard to see because the dog may not be seemingly bothered by them. Other symptoms include:
- Boil-like lesions
- Nodules that drain fluid or crust over
- Licking at the site
- Loss of appetite
Dogs are not the only animals that can be infected by sporotrichosis; other animals and humans can also get this disease and it is highly contagious. Types of animals commonly affected by this fungal infection include, but are not limited to:
Causes of Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) in Dogs
Sporotrichosis is triggered by a fungus called Sporothrix schenckii which enters the skin or any other orifice of the dog. This is caused by:
- Dogs with open abrasions in areas with soil and trees
- Dogs that become in contact with another infected animal
- Inhalation of the fungus Sporothrix Schenckii
Diagnosis of Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) in Dogs
It is very important to diagnose this disorder promptly in order for the dog’s organs to not become infected with the fungus. The veterinarian will ask you to explain the dog’s symptoms and will look at any lesions on the skin. This will be the first clue to the medical professional that the dog may be infected with a fungus.
The veterinarian may perform fluorescent antibody testing to check and see if there are any antibodies present. If so, it will show that there are antibodies fighting the fungus. He may then collect a sample of fluid from any nodules and have it tested to check for the presence of the fungus.
Treatment of Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) in Dogs
Prompt treatment is necessary to begin fighting the infection so it can be contained and no longer spread. Your dog may also be hospitalized in the beginning, as this infection can spread to humans. If your dog has been diagnosed with Sporotrichosis, treatment may include:
There are several types of antifungal medications, such as Itraconazole and Terbinafine. Medications that contain potassium iodide may also be what work for your dog. This medication will wipe out any spores and kill the infection. The veterinarian will show you how to apply this and it is crucial to keep giving the dog the treatment regularly until it is finished.
Recovery of Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) in Dogs
Recovery of Sporotrichosis will happen with the proper anti-fungal treatments and if this disease is caught early. Once your companion is home, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s guidelines on care and how to apply the medication. Regular observations of the affected area should be recorded to check if the lesions or nodules are beginning to dissipate.
Follow up appointments will be necessary so the medical professional can be sure your dog is healing properly. Side effects can occur with the anti-fungal medications, so it is important to watch over your loved one and report to your medical professional any side effect he may be having. The veterinarian may be able to prescribe an alternative anti-fungal drug.
Fungal Disease (Sporotrichosis) Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Our Boykin spaniel has contracted sporotrichosis while bird hunting he is being treated with fluconzole. Is it advisable to bandage the the sore on his front leg to discourage licking the sore. The diagnosis was made relatively early--as soon as the sore appeared.
Usually sores caused by sporotrichosis don’t cause much irritation, but you should discourage Finn from licking it; bandaging is normally not necessary, but remember that this fungus is zoonotic so there is a risk of you getting it too, especially if you have a cut or wound that is exposed. Treatment can be long with a recommendation of continuation of treatment three to four weeks post recovery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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