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Published: Apr 30, 2012

Dogs are susceptible to infections just like most other animals, but a particular fungal infection, called aspergillosis in dogs, is a relatively common issue that can be very debilitating to canines.

This infection is caused by aspergillus, a common species of mold that can be found in dust, grass clippings and hay. Any dog who spends a lot of time outdoors may pick up this fungus. PetMD.com reports that young dogs with medium length or longer noses and head are more susceptible to the nasal form of this infection.

Dogs most often acquire aspergillosis through their nasal passages - when they have direct contact with the fungus to their noses. For instance, your canine might introduce the fungus into his nose from sniffing a pile of grass. The fungus can cause clinical signs like nasal discharge and noisy breathing when the dog inhales.  Many times the dark skin of the nose will become lighter in color from the chronic nasal discharge.  Aspergillus can also cause swellings on the face often between the eyes or around the nose.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, aspergillus is an "opportunistic pathogen," which means it takes any opportunity it can get to spread. In dogs, an opportunity means a suppressed immune system. When your dog's immune system is weak, the infection will take hold, which is why it is important to keep your canine healthy at all times. Aspergillus is capable of starting in the respiratory system and then disseminating or spreading throughout the body.

Depending on whether your dog’s infection is nasal or throughout the body, your veterinarian will need to perform several diagnostic tests in order to get a diagnosis of Aspergillosis in dogs.  Treatment may involve antifungal medications directly into the nose or given orally depending on the form of this disease your dog has.

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