Disseminated Dog Fungal Infections

Fungi (molds, yeast) can not only cause invasive fungal infections but can also cause invasive or disseminated fungal infections in animals.  A recent review examined 157 cases of disseminated (presented in two or more organs) mold infections in dogs. 1 Female dogs constituted 72.2% of cases.  Clinical signs and symptoms reported most frequently included weight loss, lethargy, osteomyelitis, urinary tract infections, ophthalmitis, head tilt, gait difficulties, and a fever above 40 oC (104 oF).

The types of fungi infecting dogs were Aspergillus in 59.3% of the total –with Aspergillus terreus comprising 36.3% of the total fungal infections.  (In humans, Aspergillus terreus occasionally causes disseminated infections, however, infections by the Aspergillus species fumigatus, flavus, and niger are much more common.).   Many other types of fungi also caused fungal infection including  Acremonium, Bipolaris, Chrysosporium, Cladosporium, Geomyces, Scedosporium, Paecilomyces, Penicillium, Pseudallescheria, Scopulariopsis, Sporotrichum, and others.

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Diagnosis of fungal infections is often difficult or not done in dogs.  Dog urine can be microscopically examined and cultured for fungi.  The human galactomannan test for bloodstream mold infections has been used successfully in dogs.  MRI and CT scans can determine the extent of some fungal infections such as those involving bone infection.  Early diagnosis of dog fungal infections is critical and often not done in time.  Treatment is made with many types of antifungal drugs including amphotericin B, ketoconazole, itraconazole, fluconazole, voriconazole, posaconazole, caspofungin, anidulafungin, and micafungin. Many fungal infections, especially those from Aspergillus terreus, are resistant to many azole drugs such as fluconazole and ketoconazole.

Fungi can also infect invertebrate animals, with bees experiencing many fungal infections and many fatal fungal infections 2

References / Sources

  1. Elad D. Disseminated canine mold infections. Veterinary journal (London, England: 1997). 2019;243:82-90.
  2. Evison SE, Jensen AB. The biology and prevalence of fungal diseases in managed and wild bees. Current opinion in insect science. 2018;26:105-113.
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