Aspergillosis in Labrador Retrievers
DOGS, OUR LIFE
As the old saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend. Indeed, our furry friends prove themselves reliable and dependable time and time again. Your dog may be the most supportive creature in your life! His amazing personality and temperament cheers you up and makes you feel happy when you are low. He shares in your joy when you are joyous and in your grief when you feel a loss. He protects you from people who pose any threat and has the best intentions at heart. You can depend on your pet to listen because you know your dog will pay attention to every word you say without judgment and any hesitation.
The same is true in reverse; when there is any threat to your dog, you will do anything to bring them back to health and to see him happy again. You want to take care of your dog with the diligence and treat him as you would any member of the family. You give them all essentials they need to survive, all the love and support they could ever want and utilize every resource you have when something is wrong.
There are cases when things go wrong for your Labrador that is more than concerning. Labradors are prone to several health issues, including Aspergillosis, a type of fungal infection that is very common in dogs (especially in breeds like Labradors). What is this fungus, and why does it cause your dog so much pain? How can your best friend develop this sickness? Most importantly, how can you prevent your amazing Labrador from contracting this infection?
Aspergillosis in Labrador Retrievers is kind of opportunistic infection caused by fungus spores. This opportunistic infection is brought on by organisms that do not usually affect dogs but has adapted. It is more common in dogs that are immunosuppressed, or have a weak immune system.
Aspergillosis begins with a saprophytic mold named Aspergillus, which releases spores that can then be ingested. If immunosuppressed dogs breathe in the spores, they can cause lung infections that have the possibility of spreading to other organs.
Because this fungus is a saprophyte, it lives in decaying organisms and can be found commonly in the hay, rotting vegetables, soil, and grass clippings. It is a lacy mold found growing on food or compost and is dangerous to dogs and humans alike.
WHY ARE LABRADOR RETRIEVERS SUSCEPTIBLE TO THIS INFECTION?
Dolichocephalic breeds, or breeds that have medium length or long noses, get nasal aspergillosis if they are fond of sniffing or swallowing rotting foods. Your dog is also prone this disease if they regularly engage with things that can host the Aspergillus fungi.
Such things include soil, starchy foods, rotting food or compost, leaves, and much more. The aspergillosis species family has over 150 types of mold.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ASPERGILLOSIS IN LABRADOR RETRIEVERS?
Currently, there are two known types of aspergillosis. The first, nasal aspergillosis, attacks the sinuses, the nasal areas, the nose, the nasal passageways. The second, Disseminated aspergillosis, can affect any part of the body.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ASPERGILLOSIS?
Nasal aspergillosis destroys the delicate sinus bones and causes extreme discomfort. It causes your dog to have a very runny, snotty nose. The discharge has a peculiar scent. If you suspect your dog has nasal aspergillosis, watch for symptoms such as bleeding that comes from the nasal area, nasal pain, sneezing, noticeable swelling in the nasal area, loss of appetite, and mucus or pus discharges from the nose.
Signs including painful sensations near the spine, sluggishness, nausea, fever, eating problems, and a noticeable reduction in weight are all indicative of more severe conditions. If your dog has disseminated aspergillosis, the signs will be this serious. You must be diligent, sharply observational, and quick in noticing these signs in your pet because this kind of aspergillosis’ symptoms develop very rapidly and can be devastating very quickly.
HOW IS ASPERGILLOSIS TREATED IN LABRADOR RETRIEVERS?
For a veterinarian to diagnose Aspergillosis, 2 of 4 criteria must be met. Your dog must have a positive CT scan for fungal infection, visible fungal plaques with micro-camera observation, visible Aspergillus organisms from nasal discharge, or a positive blood test for antibodies against the Aspergillus species.
When Aspergillosis is left untreated, your dog can suffer severe nervous system infections. Preferable therapies for aspergillosis are topical ointments combined with a medical procedure. This method allows for the 1% solution of clotrimazole to be thoroughly infused in the nose and sinuses. The medication incubates for an hour and then is sucked out through the nostrils. You dog with be under anesthesia during the entire process. It has an 86% success rate, though many dogs require multiple treatments. If the infection has spread to the rest of the body, oral anti-fungal medication is needed and will be prescribed by your veterinarian. Your dog will also need several therapy sessions.
If the procedure scares you, sometimes antifungals and oral medications are administered. For example, the medicine itraconazole functions by disrupting the fungi from reproducing. However, these treatments can be dangerous as the drug can cause liver failure and vomiting. Another drug commonly used to treat this condition is ketoconazole. Still, going to a veterinarian is your safest bet.
IS ASPERGILLOSIS CONTAGIOUS IN LABRADOR RETRIEVERS?
The short answer to this question would be yes, it is. However, it is not easily spread as long as you practice good hygiene around your dog. Make sure to wash your hands, avoid handling any discharge directly, and notify your physician if any issues arise.
PREVENTION OF ASPERGILLOSIS IN LABRADOR RETRIEVERS
Knowing and understanding what aspergillosis is can help you be prepared for any signs of its onset. While several conditions must be in place for your dog to contract it, it can still happen, and it is best to be prepared. You can knowingly prevent the disease by being cautious with your Labrador and keeping him away from places that could potentially be contaminated with Aspergillus.