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Fungal Infection (Aspergillosis) in Dogs: Symptoms Checklist

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What If My Dog's Nose Develops a Fungal Infection?

Are you worried that your dog might have a fungal infection in her nose? This guide will help you learn more about aspergillosis, including warning signs and symptoms to look for.

Aspergillosis is a common fungus that is found in certain parts of the country. When inhaled, it can cause a fungal infection in a dog's nasal cavity and sinuses. It also can develop into a disseminated fungal infection, in which the infection spreads beyond the nasal cavity. This can be a very hard infection to detect, but early detection and treatment are crucial because this can be a potentially damaging disease.

Ways Dogs Are Most Commonly Affected by Fungal Infections

This fungal infection can develop in any breed or age of dog but younger dogs, aged seven years or younger, and those with already-weak immune systems are most at risk. Certain breeds, such as Shepherds and Collies, are more prone to get this type of infection. Because this infection develops as the result of the fungus being inhaled, it most commonly affects dogs with moderate to long snouts.

Signs and Symptoms of Fungal Infections in Dogs

If you think your dog might be suffering from a fungal infection, you may start to notice several telltale signs. Here is a checklist that you may use to monitor your dog so your veterinarian will have the most comprehensive information when treating her.

  • Sneezing
  • Pain in the nasal area
  • Swelling of the nasal area
  • Loss of appetite
  • Long-term nasal discharge that may contain blood, mucus, or pus

If the infection spreads, then you may notice other symptoms, such as:

  • Lameness
  • Spinal pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting

Diagnosing the Fungal Infection in Your Dog

Once you've completed the checklist, print it out and take it to your veterinarian so you can discuss your dog's health with the vet. Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical examination of your pet and review her medical history, including asking you to recount the onset of symptoms.

If the fungal infection is nasal, then your veterinarian also may take nasal swabs for a culture. A rhinoscopy also can be performed to check the mucous linings of the nose. Disseminated aspergillosis is much more difficult to diagnose, so in this case, you may expect the veterinarian to do a series of labs, including a urinalysis, a complete blood panel, and a biochemical profile. An x-ray of the spine also may be ordered.

Treatment of Canine Fungal Infections

Treatment for aspergillosis depends on which type of fungal infection your dog has. If she has nasal aspergillosis, then an antifungal medication can be prescribed and administered directly into her nasal passages while under sedation. Because of the complexities of disseminated aspergillosis, it is rarely cured. But when diagnosed early, antifungal medications are administered to treat the symptoms and, in some cases, even cure the condition.

Be sure to tell your veterinarian about any medications or supplements your dog is taking currently so your vet can make the best treatment decision for your pet's unique case and help reduce the risk of a potential drug interaction.

About the Author

Dr. Evan Ware

Dr. Evan Ware is a veterinary practitioner in Phoenix, Arizona. He received both his undergraduate degree in microbiology and his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Ware is currently the Medical Director of University Animal Hospital (VCA) and is also the owner of two other hospitals, including Laveen Veterinary Center and Phoenix Veterinary Center. His areas of expertise include orthopedic medicine and surgery, veterinary oncology and chemotherapy, and general and advanced soft-tissue surgery.