Dog Disease - Histoplasmosis

Histoplasmosis is a fungal dog disease caused by the fungus “Histoplasma capsulatum”. This dog disease is also known as “Darling’s disease”, “Cave’s Disease” etc. This dog disease is non-contagious and is easily treated. Even though it is found in dogs worldwide, it is more common in certain areas of US which include Mississippi Valley, Appalachian Mountains, Ohio and Texas etc. Histoplasmosis in dogs primarily affects the lungs. In certain cases other organs are also affected and when this happens then it is called “disseminated histoplasmosis”. The disease may be fatal if untreated.

Causes for Histoplasmosis in Dogs:
This dog disease is caused by the fungus mentioned above which is found in nitrogen rich soil. Dogs catch this disease from inhalation of the spores found in contaminated areas. These particles are very small and can easily reach the lungs.

Symptoms of this dog disease include:
  • Acute weight loss
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Anorexia
  • Anemia
  • Pale gums
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Enlarged liver, spleen and lymph nodes
  • Lameness
  • Skin disease
  • Diarrhea (the most common sign in dogs)
  • Eye disease
Treatment for Histoplasmosis in Dogs:
In simple cases of histoplasmosis, animal may clear the infection on its own and therefore treatment may not be required. However, the infection can spread and become more severe. In order to avoid this from happening treatment is often prescribed as soon as the diagnosis has been made. The treatment for this dog disease includes prescribing anti-fungal medications such as itraconazole, fluconazole or Ketoconazole etc. This treatment may prove to be costly as it takes a lot of time to completely cure a dog of the infection. The dog may require additional feeding or IV fluids in severe cases. If other organs have been damaged, then the dog may require medication to treat the secondary complications. The pet owner must refer to a vet as this is not a disease which may be cured with home remedies as the vet needs to monitor the treatment in order to avoid it from becoming more toxic. Treating histoplasmosis is successful if the correct treatment is used and instituted before the animal becomes too weak.