Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Fungal Infection (Histoplasmosis) in Dogs

ADVERTISEMENT

Histoplasmosis in Dogs

 

Histoplasmosis refers to a fungal infection caused by the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. Dogs usually ingest the fungus when they eat or inhale contaminated soil or bird droppings. The fungus then enters the dog's intestinal tract, where it causes a diseased condition to develop.

 

Symptoms

 

The most common symptoms for dogs are lack of appetite, weight loss, depression, and diarrhea with straining. Other potential signs may include:

 

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnea), associated with harsh lung sounds
  • Unable (or unwilling) to exercise
  • Enlarged lymph nodes (lymphadenitis)
  • Lameness
  • Eye and skin changes
  • Fever, up to 40 degrees Celsius (104.0 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Pale gums and moist bodily tissues (mucous membranes)
  • Yellowish discoloration of the gums and other bodily tissues (known as jaundice or icterus)
  • Enlargement of the liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly)

 

Causes

 

The primary cause of this infection is the ingestion of the Histoplasma capsulatum fungus. The fungus may be inhaled when contaminated soil is disturbed, such as what happens when dogs scratch or dig in the dirt, or through contact with contaminated bird droppings, including that from poultry, and bat droppings.

 

Other causes for histoplasmosis include:

 

  • Diarrhea and anemia — may be a severe hookworm infection
  • Enlarged liver, spleen or lymph nodes — consistent with lymphoma
  • Respiratory problems — may be distemper, bacterial pneumonia, or heart disease

 

Diagnosis

 

A chemical blood profile, complete blood count, and urinalysis will be conducted. While blood tests may confirm the presence of histoplasmosa antibodies, this only means that your dog has been exposed to the fungus, and not necessarily that the dog is in a diseased state as the result of exposure. Further differential testing will confirm or rule out the actual state of histoplasmosis.

 

In order to settle on the correct course of treatment, your veterinarian will want to differentiate the symptoms of histoplasmosis from the syptoms of other diseased conditons. Severe chronic diarrhea and weight loss can indicate a variety of conditions for dogs, including lymphocytic plasmacytic enteritis, eosinophilic enteritis, lymphoma, chronic parasitism, and exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.

 

 

Treatment

 

Veterinarians will usually treat this condition with medications on an outpatient basis. If inpatient treatment is recommended, it may be as the result of your dog being unable to absorb nutrients properly (malabsorption) due to the intestinal disorder. If this is the case, your veterinarian will administer drugs, nutrients, and fluids intravenously until the condition has improved. 

 

Living and Management

 

After the initial treatment, your dog's activity level should be reduced until it is fully recovered. Cage rest, or restriction to an enclosed environment will limit your dog's movement enough so that it will not stress itself and prolong the recovery period.  If the condition does recur, a second course of treatment may be needed.

 

Prevention

 

To prevent the development of histoplasmosis, you will need to try to steer your dog away from areas that are suspected areas of exposure to the histoplasma fungus, such as where birds, poultry or bats might roost, or around soil that is obviously contaminated with bird droppings.

 

 

Related Articles

Foreign Objects Stuck in the Throat in Dogs
Dogs tend to eat unusual things. When a dog ingests foreign material or foodstuffs...
READ MORE
Bacterial Infection (Campylobacteriosis) in ...
Campylobacteriosis is a bacterial infection prevalent in puppies younger than six...
READ MORE
Canine Coronavirus Infection in Dogs
A canine coronavirus infection (CCV) is a highly contagious intestinal disease that...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»
Search dog Articles

 

Latest In Dog Nutrition

5 Reasons Life Stage Diets Help Improve Pet ...
Balanced and complete nutrition is important for any animal. However, the nutritional...
READ MORE
How Your Overweight Pet Could Benefit from ...
Pet obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Fortunately, there are some things...
READ MORE
How Obesity May Shorten Your Pet's Lifespan
Obesity is a nationwide epidemic for our pets. Unfortunately, being obese can shorten...
READ MORE
Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM