Canine Sporotrichosis: Fungal Infection in Dogs

Canine sporotrichosis is a type of fungal infection that may be very serious. Because it is quite rare, it's often overlooked as a potential cause of the symptoms that it produces. However, this condition is serious and can easily spread throughout your pet's body. It is also potentially transmissable to humans, cats and other dogs, making it a very dangerous disease. Read on for a brief overview of canine sporotrichosis in your pet.

Causes of Canine Sporotrichosis

Canine sporotrichosis is caused by a fungus called sporothrix shcenckii. This fungus occurs naturally throughout the United States and many other parts of the world. It is found in soils and on trees as well. Although the fungus itself is not typically very dangerous, it may cause a number of different potential problems for your pet. In canine cases of sporotrichosis, the fungus typically enters into the body through an open wound, a sore or some other orifice. In cats, it may enter through other means, and in humans, it's not uncommon for this fungal infection to occur after contact with an infected animal.

Symptoms of Canine Sporotrichosis

The single major symptom of canine sporotrichosis is the development of small nodules throughout the body. These most commonly occur in dogs on the head and the ears. They may also be found elsewhere throughout the body. In more advanced cases, the nodules may open and begin to drain a pus-like substance that is clear or pale white. Typically, the nodules do not bother your pet and will not cause him pain or other discomfort. They are usually not itchy. In most other ways, your pet will appear to be happy and healthy.

Diagnosing and Treating Canine Sporotrichosis

A prompt diagnosis and treatment of this fungal infection is important. Although the outward symptoms of the condition are not typically very serious and may not bother your pet at all, there is the risk of infecting the dog's internal organs. If this happens, the infection may become very serious and might threaten your pet's overall health.

It might be hard to detect the fungus in samples of fluid from a dog. In this case, a special test called a fluorescent antibody test will show the presence of canine antibodies that are produced to help fight the fungus. This confirms the presence of the fungus in your pet's body without actually showing the fungus spores themselves. In other cases, your vet may be able to take a small sampling of the fluid from the nodules and test it successfully for a diagnosis.

Potassium iodide is an oral medication that is very effective at eliminating the fungal spores that cause sporotrichosis. There are a number of other antifungal medicines that can also help, but potassium iodide is the most commonly prescribed for this particular condition. Ask your vet for any more information that you require about canine sporotrichosis.