How to Identify & Treat Fungal Infections
Apart from the love and affection we receive from our dogs, we also have to contend with the curse of bacteria and infection they may get. Fungal infections, though not as common as other bacterial and viral infections, can be just as serious.
• Causes for Fungal Infections in Dogs •
The fungi naturally present on dog’s bodies can cause fungal infection. Another reason is that they may contract the fungal infection from other animals, and from the surrounding environment.
Therefore, technically speaking, every pet has a potential risk of contracting such an infection. The fungal spores may enter the dog’s body through the respiratory tract or the skin. This then leads to the fungal infection.
Fungal infections in dogs that affect only the internal organs are called systemic, while those affecting a specific area of the dog’s skin and mucous membranes are called localized.
• Systemic Fungal Infections in Dogs •
- Blastomycosis is found commonly in dogs that have been to Mississippi, Tennessee, Ohio, Missouri, the St. Lawrence River Valley, the mid-Atlantic, and the Great Lakes. Primarily because the soil found there supports the growth of fungus. The fungus thrives on rotting wood, wet soil, and bird droppings. It is typically found on dogs that are used for hunting as they are more likely to smell these.
- Symptoms include loss of weight, breathing problems, eye problems, fever, skin lesions, limping, and coughing.
- Treatment is possible if the infection is detected early enough. Oral anti-fungal drugs that are prescribed by a vet work as a cure.
- Cryptococcosis is carried by birds and is spread by bird droppings. Dogs inhale the droppings and are infected with the fungus. It can lead to lung infection, and can later spread to any part of the body.
- Symptoms include coughing, a decrease in appetite, loss of weight, lethargy, eye problems, nasal discharge, skin lesions, and other neurologic abnormalities.
- Treatment is done via oral anti-fungal drugs.
- Nasal Aspergillosis is present in grass clippings, straw, dust, and hay. It enters the dog’s body via the nasal passage, but only affects those dogs who are suffering from old age and illness.
- Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, bleeding of the nose, swollen nose, and reduced appetite.
- Treatment involves administering an anti-fungal drug directly into the dog’s nose.
• Localized Fungal Infections in Dogs •
The localized fungal infection is evidently visible on the dog’s skin and external body. You can look out for excessive itching. Though it’s hard for us to figure out the actual cause for the itching, it can be troublesome for the dog too. Your pet’s excessive scratching might damage his skin, and can create bald spots on his own body. You can also look out for the presence of flea dirt or actual fleas on your dog’s skin.
- Ringworm is most commonly found in humans, but pests can contract this infection as well. It affects the skin of the dog, its fur, and nails.
- Symptoms of ringworm include flaky or crusty skin, misshapen or brittle nails, and red circular lesions causing itchiness and hair loss.
- Treatment is done by a combination of topical therapy and oral medication. Dogs are given medicated baths and dips with special shampoos and salves.
To prevent ringworm from spreading to humans in the house, you must clean and disinfect the house as ringworm is contagious.
- Yeast Infection is caused by the overgrowth of yeast which is normally present on a dog’s body. The infection causes discomfort to the dog and affects the skin, ears, and the paws.
- Symptoms include a musty odor, chronic or recurrent ear infections, itching and redness, thickening of the skin, and developing a scaly and crusty, flaky skin.
- Treatment is usually done with anti-fungal baths using medicated shampoos. Sometimes it is done by the application of an antiseptic or anti-fungal drug. Medication can also be given orally in serious cases.
• Prevention of Fungal Infections in Dogs •
Though these fungal infections are common, they are sometimes incurable. There are certain steps that need to be taken to prevent the fungal infection from spreading. It includes bathing your dog after any outdoor activity, feeding your pet a high-quality diet, and visiting the vet for regular check-ups to ensure your dog remains healthy.
Related Article: ‘Parvovirus in Dogs’