Blastomycosis Takes Life of Wausau Family Pet

By: Brian Dummer Email
By: Brian Dummer Email

A Wausau family is warning other dog owners after their dog died from Blastomycosis. The Sarazens tried desperately to save Addy, but by the time vets zeroed in on the right treatment, it was too late.

"It started oddly enough about three weeks ago where our dog came down with some symptoms where she had a little bleeding externally. We found that she actually had a little puncture wound in her chest," says Jeff Sarazen, Addy's owner.

Addy was placed on antibiotics but she did not get better. After weeks of blood tests and different medications the family took her to Wisconsin Valley Veterinary Service where doctors ordered an X-ray.

They suspected blastomycosis, but before Addy could be given further treatment, it was too late.

"We're still waiting for test results to officially confirm, but blastomycosis is definitely something that we have in the area," says Rebecca Myszka, a doctor of veterinary medicine at the clinic.

Doctors say fungal spores found in wet and acidic soils become airborne, causing both humans and animals to be infected if spores enter the body.

The Marathon County Health Department says that while humans can be infected, the numbers this year are relatively low with the department only seeing five cases since January. Still, vets warn both humans and animals can be exposed to the spores.

"Say if you were out running with your dog out along the river if the dog is potentially exposed, because you are in that area , the potential environment, you could potentially be exposed as well. Once it is in the animal and no longer in that spore stage, it is not directly contagious," says Myszka.

Myszka says that Eagle River is actually the national hotspot for cases of blastomycosis, and that case numbers in Merrill are also higher than most other places in the county. She also says North Central Wisconsin is especially prone to the spores because of the abundance of waterways, and that the best way to keep your pets safe is to watch for symptoms.

"Usually the common form of blasto is the lung so they are coughing, they go off feed because they tend to have a fever. Just not acting right in that direction," says Myszka, symptoms the family wished they were more aware of.

"The process we went through was horrible, you know we lost a family pet. We just don't want this to happen to anybody else," Sarazen says.

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