Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor
Medical Database

Infectious Disease


Animals Affected – Dog, Cat

General Information
Histoplasmosis is a disease of people and animals caused by a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. This fungus can exist in two forms (dimorphism). One form is a mold phase capable of floating in air, and the second form is a yeast phase that is capable of surviving and multiplying in body tissue. It is as common in dogs as in cats. Although they may show similar signs, cats most often show signs of breathing difficulty, whereas dogs usually show intestinal disorders accompanied by diarrhea.

Animals contract histoplasmosis by breathing the mold into their lungs (primary pulmonary stage). The organisms remain in the lungs until destroyed by body defenses and treatment or until they overwhelm the body. From the lungs, the disease may spread (disseminated stage) to any other tissue, such as the bones, kidneys, liver, spleen, lymph nodes, and eyes via the blood and lymph system. It may cause fever, anemia, depression, and weight loss. Animals with the disseminated form have little or no chance of surviving. However, if the disease remains in the primary pulmonary stage, your pet has a better chance of surviving, depending on its individual resistance and state of health.

People cannot contract histoplasmosis by direct contact with infected pets.

Important Points in Treatment
1. Diagnostic tests, including complete blood counts, serum chemistry profiles, cultures, cytology, and  radiographs (x-rays), provide an overview of your pet’s organ systems and general physical condition. It is important for some tests to be repeated at certain intervals to help guide your pet’s therapy.
2. Treatment may extend for several weeks.

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.