Protecting your dog from deadly fungus - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Protecting your dog from deadly fungus

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Spur the golden retriever is somewhat of a celebrity. The 4-year-old was featured at a recent veterinary conference for his amazing story of survival.

"Instead of having Christmas Day like normal people do, we spent it in an emergency vet clinic," Spur's owner Brister Shum said. She says Spur was struggling to breathe, lost part of his eyesight and developed skin lesions. "The doctor looked at his eye very carefully and said I think its Blastomycosis and I said, 'What?'"

Blastomycosis is a disease caused by a fungus that lives in moist soil.

"Blastomycosis Dermatitadis," is the scientific name says biology professor Terry Hill. He says the fungi looks for organic material to grow on, like decomposing wood and leaves. "It is endemic in this area. Most cases that are reported come from areas like this," he said.

Dogs that inhale the spores can develop a fungal infection in the lungs, eyes and on the skin.  If it's left untreated, it can be fatal.

Dr. Danielle Bayliss says once Spur was diagnosed, he spent days in intensive care. "His respiration was so compromised he was in an oxygen chamber," she said.

While all dogs are at risk for Blastomycosis, Spur fits the profile of those most susceptible: young large males who keep their nose to the ground.  

"Dogs that are more active, dogs that live perhaps near water like a lake, are at higher risk for exposure," Bayliss told WMCTV.

Preventing your dog from exposure is impossible. A map from the Centers for Disease Control shows the fungus is present across the midwest and even here in Central Virginia. 
 
"In the late summer and early fall is the time of year when it's diagnosed the most frequently," said veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Kemp of the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center. 
"It is a disease that can manifest in many different ways and something that can be really difficult to diagnose."

Doctors say the only line of defense is to monitor your pet for symptoms like labored breathing, loss of eyesight and skin lesions. However, the symptoms are not always the same. 

Fortunately Blastomycosis is not contagious. And it's not an epidemic. Kemp has only seen one case in Richmond in the last year. "Thankfully that environment isn't very common but further out it can happen. It's definitely a risk but I would call it a low risk in our area," she said.

Spur is on the mend and is expected to recover fully. His treatment is ongoing.  "We're very lucky to have had that team that helped us through it.  Plus you have a mommy that loves you," Shum said.

Copyright 2014 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

  • Richmond NewsMore>>

  • Teen shot in chest in Richmond, fighting for life

    Teen shot in chest in Richmond, fighting for life

    Monday, May 21 2018 11:21 PM EDT2018-05-22 03:21:29 GMT
    A teen was shot in the chest in Richmond. (Source: RNN)A teen was shot in the chest in Richmond. (Source: RNN)
    A teen was shot in the chest in Richmond. (Source: RNN)A teen was shot in the chest in Richmond. (Source: RNN)

    Richmond Police confirm a teen is fighting for life after a shooting Monday night.

    More >>

    Richmond Police confirm a teen is fighting for life after a shooting Monday night.

    More >>
  • Enjoy good food, fun, games at CookoutForACause

    Enjoy good food, fun, games at CookoutForACause

    Monday, May 21 2018 8:50 PM EDT2018-05-22 00:50:22 GMT
    Flier for CookoutForACause (Source: Instagram)Flier for CookoutForACause (Source: Instagram)
    Flier for CookoutForACause (Source: Instagram)Flier for CookoutForACause (Source: Instagram)

    This will be the second year for the family-friendly event, which will feature live music, free food as long as supplies last, food trucks, various vendors, bounce houses, bubble soccer, arts and crafts, laser tag, a sensory area, a splash zone, and more.

    More >>

    This will be the second year for the family-friendly event, which will feature live music, free food as long as supplies last, food trucks, various vendors, bounce houses, bubble soccer, arts and crafts, laser tag, a sensory area, a splash zone, and more.

    More >>
  • AAA: 1.2 million Virginians to travel this Memorial Day weekend

    AAA: 1.2 million Virginians to travel this Memorial Day weekend

    Monday, May 21 2018 7:39 PM EDT2018-05-21 23:39:35 GMT
    More than 1.2 million Virginians will hit the road on Memorial Day weekend. (Source: NBC12)More than 1.2 million Virginians will hit the road on Memorial Day weekend. (Source: NBC12)
    More than 1.2 million Virginians will hit the road on Memorial Day weekend. (Source: NBC12)More than 1.2 million Virginians will hit the road on Memorial Day weekend. (Source: NBC12)

    The American Automobile Association says they expect nearly 1.2 million Virginians to travel this Memorial Day weekend, which is up 5 percent from last year. Not even gas prices that are 50 cents higher than last year are stopping the wave of travelers.

    More >>

    The American Automobile Association says they expect nearly 1.2 million Virginians to travel this Memorial Day weekend, which is up 5 percent from last year. Not even gas prices that are 50 cents higher than last year are stopping the wave of travelers.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly