Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Infectious Disease


General Information
Blastomycosis is a serious fungal disease of dogs, cats, and other animals, including people. The fungus is found in nature in soil, on vegetation, and in pigeon droppings. It is unlikely for it to be transmitted from pets to people unless the fungal forms are passed from an open, running sore of the pet to an open wound of a person. The fungus can exist in two forms: the yeast form found in tissue infections and the mycelial form found in respiratory tissues. Three forms of illness occur: the lung or respiratory form, a form that is disseminated or spread throughout the body, and a skin form.

Blastomycosis is contracted by an animal by inhaling the mycelial form or by direct penetration of the spore form into an open skin sore. Illness typically develops 5 to 12 weeks after infection. The fungus may invade any part of the body, including the brain, bone, and eyes.

One of the most common ways to diagnose blastomycosis is by impression smears, using special stains and microscopic examination of material from open skin sores of the animal.

Important Points in Treatment
1. Blood tests, microscopic studies, cultures, radiographs (x-rays), and special serologic tests are used to confirm the diagnosis.
2. Specific antifungal agents are available to treat the disease, but they can cause a toxic reaction in some animals. Hospitalization is generally recommended for treatment because the drug is usually given directly into the vein and the patient requires monitoring for signs of early reaction to the drug.
3. The prognosis (medical forecast) varies, depending on the location of the primary infection and the sex of the patient (females generally respond better than males). Most deaths occur in the first week of treatment.
4. Over 60% of treated animals recover. As in any other disease, the sooner treatment is started, the better the chances of survival.

An Important Update From Animal & Bird Medical Center On COVID-19

We are committed to offering a safe and healthy environment for our clients, pets and hospital team here at Animal and Bird Medical Center. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to avoid exposure to the virus. Taking typical preventive actions is key.

In being cautious and mindful of everyone’s safety, we are actively working to minimize your exposure to crowded exam rooms and long waits in the lobby.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made some changes to our protocols in-hospital for the time-being…

In order to limit exposure while still providing quality care for your pet, we will be implementing special protocols to keep you safe.

We will have our veterinary technicians get a history of the patient’s symptoms and owner’s concerns via phone prior to coming into the clinic.

Our goal is for you to be able to bring your pet in for medical care but have no risk for you or our dedicated staff of transmitting the COVID-19 virus.

The Doctors and staff are dedicated to making sure your pet’s medical needs are taken care of during this national crisis.

We can still fill prescriptions for pick up, however, for those who prefer, non-narcotic and non-urgent prescriptions can be mailed to your home.

As always, careful hand-washing and other infection control practices can greatly reduce the chance of spreading any disease.