Dog owners should be aware of a rare fungus, Blastomycosis, that could hurt, or even kill, your furry friend.
Harlin Tipton has faced the disease many times, with all three of his dogs. But with the proper treatment and attention, they're finally happy and healthy again.
His dog Abigail is blind. It's an unfortunate result of Blastomycosis, a fungus that dogs inhale, often after they've been hunting or spending lots of time outdoors.
"They inhale it through their nose, it goes through its development in their lungs, and then spreads to other tissues in the body," explains Dr. David Tanaglia of the Greater Rockford Veterinary Medical Association.
Abigail's owner Harlin Tipton says nothing out of the ordinary happened. She just started having problems with her eyes. Tests were done, and doctors were concerned.
"It was progressing rapidly, so we went to the University of Wisconsin, and they started treatment, and had to remove one eye," Tipton says. "And it was going so rapidly that if affected the other eye and that had to be removed."
Commonly found in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valley, including Illinois and even Rockford, Dr. Tanaglia says it's hard to track what the symptoms are, because it varies for each animal. Common ones though include a strange cough, lesions on the skin, and eye problems.
"There are a lot of dogs that die from this disease," says Dr. Tanaglia. "A lot of them die early, in the first couple weeks, because they have the disease so bad. But 50 to 70%, sometimes more, can be pulled through."
And Abigail has done just that.
"We're the only one that thinks she has a handicap," says Tipton. "She goes out and walks herself in the evening. We're on a farm that we have protection from the road, so they go out by themselves."
Dr. Tanaglia says people can get the disease as well. but it's very rare. But you can't get it from your dog.
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