Oshkosh dog owner warns of blastomycosis infection found in pets

Lisa Kavanaugh knew the symptoms because one dog died. Now she has two dogs fighting the fungal infection.
Published: Apr. 18, 2023 at 4:25 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - An Oshkosh woman says her two dogs have been battling a blastomycosis infection for over a year. She’s sharing her story so that other dog owners know what to look for.

With recent cases involving people like the one we recently reported on at the paper mill in Escanaba, Michigan where nearly one hundred workers got sick, and one died. Dog owners like Lisa Kavanaugh want you to know blastomycosis can also infect your pet.

Kavanaugh’s two dogs, Zena and Conan, both have been fighting the fungal disease since December 2021.

Lisa says she noticed it in Zena first: she was lethargic, did not want to eat, and had swollen lymph nodes as well as other symptoms that kind of resembled pneumonia.

It just so happens, Kavanaugh lost a dog in the 90′s to blastomycosis so she asked her vet to test Zena. She was positive and it turned out that Conan had it too.

They are still positive and require constant, expensive tests and treatment. She and her vet Dr. Jamie Zarda say knowing what to look for can save your animal’s life.

“Knowledge is your best defense against everything, the sooner you catch it the sooner you can save them and the less money you have to spend,” said Lisa Kavanaugh.

“Symptoms are usually are draining track like a wound that won’t heal they can present with it in their bone, show signs of limping coughing is the most common because they inhale in their nose so lung symptoms it would look like pneumonia,” explained Dr. Zarda.

Zarda says they aren’t sure if the dogs keep testing positive because they are picking it up somewhere in the environment over and over or if it is harboring somewhere in their body. Both are possible.

It’s important to note blastomycosis is not passed between animals and people. Wisconsin is one of the most common areas for fungus that causes it due to the moist soil.