Blastomycosis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Recognizing and Treating Feline Blastomycosis

Blastomycosis in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

A fungus called blastomycosis may infect both people and animals, including cats. Learn about this disease further in this article.

What is blastomycosis in cats?

Blastomycosis is a fungal infection that can affect both humans and animals, including cats. The fungus - Blastomyces dermatitidis, which is typically present in soil and can infect cats through the inhalation of spores, is the source of this disease. Although blastomycosis is very uncommon in cats, if neglected, it can be a serious and even fatal infection.

In this article, we will run through the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for blastomycosis in cats, as well as how to prevent the infection from occurring in the first place.


The causes of feline blastomycosis are as follows:

  • Fungal Infection: Blastomyces dermatitidis, a fungus that is frequently found in soil, especially in locations close to water sources like lakes and rivers, is the cause of blastomycosis. By breathing the fungus' spores, which can be released into the air when the soil is disturbed, cats can contract the infection.

  • Immune system weakness: Cats with immune systems that are already compromised, such as those with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV), are more vulnerable to fungi that cause diseases like blastomycosis. Moreover, there may be a higher risk for old cats and cats receiving chemotherapy or other immunosuppressive therapies.

  • Environmental aspects: A cat's risk of infection can be increased by specific environmental aspects, such as residing in an area with a high frequency of blastomycosis. Together with some of Canada and Africa, the disease is most frequently found in the central and southeast sections of the United States.

  • Breed: Although cats of any breed can develop blastomycosis, some breeds may be more prone to the condition. For instance, Siamese cats have reportedly been found to have a higher risk of blastomycosis than other breeds.

  • Genetic predisposition: Since certain cats may be genetically predisposed to developing blastomycosis, the disease's occurrence may have a genetic component.

Blastomycosis Symptoms

The signs of Blastomycosis in cats can vary depending on the severity of the infection and how long it has been present. Here are some of the most obvious signs to look out for:

  • Respiratory symptoms: Being largely a respiratory condition, cats with blastomycosis may display symptoms including coughing, wheezing, hard breathing, and nasal discharge.

  • Skin lesions: Blastomycosis can also cause skin lesions in cats, which may be accompanied by hair loss, swelling, and ulceration.

  • Eye issues: Blastomycosis occasionally affects the eyes, resulting in symptoms like squinting, discharge, and redness.

  • Fever and sluggish behavior: Cats with blastomycosis may experience a fever and change in their appetite and level of activity.

  • Lameness: In rare instances, joint inflammation brought on by blastomycosis can make cats lame.

Treatment and Management Options

Blastomycosis treatment options for feline blastomycosis include:

  • Antifungal medication: Antifungal drugs are the mainstay of treatment for blastomycosis, and depending on the infection's severity, they may be given orally or intravenously. Drugs like Ketoconazole and Fluconazole may be prescribed. In order to guarantee that the fungus is entirely removed from the cat's system, the course of treatment can vary in length but usually lasts for several months.

  • Supportive care: Cats with blastomycosis may need supportive care in addition to antifungal treatment to treat their symptoms. Treatment might involve pain management, hydration therapy, and oxygen therapy. As such, pain relief medications such as Onsior and Prednisolone may be recommended to provide relief for your cat.

  • Monitoring: A veterinarian must keep a close eye on cats receiving therapy for blastomycosis to make sure the infection is improving and look out for any possible medication side effects.

  • Care after treatment: To make sure that the infection does not come back, your vet will probably want to check on your cat's development with routine checkups and follow-up exams.

Prevention Strategies

Prevention strategies for Blastomycosis in cats include:

  • Keep your cat indoors: Keeping your cat indoors can greatly reduce its risk of coming into contact with contaminated soil and inhaling the spores of the Blastomyces dermatitidis fungus.

  • Avoid stagnant water: The fungus that causes blastomycosis thrives in wet conditions, particularly in regions with standing water. Don't allow your cat to wander in regions where water has accumulated, and there isn't a constant supply of fresh water.

  • Avoid disturbing the soil: When the soil is disturbed, the spores of the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis might become airborne. Avoid causing the soil to be disturbed, especially in locations where the fungus is known to exist.

  • Caution when gardening: Gardeners should use caution when working with soil and should put on gloves and a mask to prevent spore inhalation.

  • Maintain your cat's health: Blastomycosis may be avoided by maintaining a strong immune system, so make sure your cat has all the necessary immunizations and receives regular veterinarian treatment.

  • Promptly treat other health conditions: If your cat has any other health conditions, particularly those that weaken the immune system, it's important to treat them to reduce their risk of contracting blastomycosis promptly.

You can significantly lower your cat's risk of having blastomycosis by implementing these prophylactic measures. Therefore, it's crucial to seek veterinary care right away if you think your cat may have been exposed to the fungus or is showing signs of the condition. The likelihood of successful recovery can be significantly increased by early identification and therapy.

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