Aspergillosis

Posted on June 12, 2015

Aspergillosis is a disease from fungus that occurs in two forms; localized and disseminated infections.  It normally resides in the environment and affects immunocompromised pets.  Different species of Aspergillosis are responsible for both types.  Aspergillosis commonly affects young, male dogs that have medium to long noses.

The localized disease usually occurs in nasal passages and sinus mucosa eroding the underlying tissues. The localized fungus colonizes and invades the sinus mucosa, eroding tissue, and if untreated will progress into the central nervous system via the division between the nose and brain.   It is an opportunistic infection, where infected dogs and cats suffer from an immune system defect of the nasal mucosa.  Life-threatening nosebleeds, seizures, facial pain, nasal discharge, nosebleeds, sneezing, crusty sores on nostrils, depigmentation of nostrils and other neurological symptoms can occur.  It is diagnosed by endoscopic examination under anesthesia.  A culture and biopsy is taken of the affected tissue.  A CT scan can also help in identifying how far the disease has progressed.  Blood testing can be falsely positive or falsely negative.  The disease gives pets a fair prognosis for cure with treatment by using topical antifungal drugs, possibly with numerous treatments.  Systemic, oral antifungal drugs are usually not as effective.

The disseminated infection, a more serious disease can be found in the different organs of the body such as the liver, spleen kidneys and lymph nodes.  Animals with can have loss of appetite, loss of weight, coughing, and diarrhea.   A biopsy and culture is usually taken of the affected organ for diagnosis.  Intravenous antifungal drugs, followed by oral antifungal drugs may be prescribed, however the disseminated disease is usually fatal.