Illnesses In The Area

Blastomyces Dematitidis

    • What is it?
      • Blastomyces is a fungus that causes an infection through the respiratory tract and spreads via the bloodstream.
    • How it’s caused...
      • When this fungus is inhaled the spores of the fungus enter the lungs and are transformed into yeast by body temperature. The yeast can stay in the lungs or enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. It can affect several parts of the body including organs, skin, bones and joints, and central nervous system.


  • Where it’s found…
    • Blastomyces lives as a mold in the environment. This mold is found most commonly in soil and decomposing organic matter. In the United States it is located particularly in the midwestern, south-central, and southeastern states. Other affected countries are Canada and Africa.

  • Symptoms/Detection
    • Both people and pets can be infected by Blasto. With pets, it most commonly occurs in dogs. Infected dogs can experience a variety of symptoms with the most common being coughing, loss of appetite, and lethargy. These symptoms may not show for up to many months after infection depending on immunity of the pet. Once a veterinarian suspects Blasto infection, typically an x-ray of the chest is necessary to examine the lungs and the next step is a blood test that can be done to determine the presence of the fungus in the body. 
  • Treatments
    • The recovery process for Blasto is long and grueling. Many pets do not survive from the infection, but with early detection, the likelihood becomes much higher. Newer antifungal medications such as itraconazole and fluconazole also increase these odds. Although the treatment can take up to six months to be successful, it is well-tolerated by most dogs.
  • Preventions
    • Unfortunately, there is no reliable way for detecting or removing the blasto fungus in an environment at this time but being aware of the fungus and its symptoms can greatly increase you or your pet's chance of recovery. (

@VCA Animal Hospitals (

Canine Parvovirus

  • What is it?
    • A highly contagious virus, canine parvovirus, can affect all dogs. Unvaccinated and puppies younger than four months old are most at risk. Most known as “Parvo”, the virus attacks the gastrointestinal tract, and can be very deadly to pets.
  • Where it's found…
    • The virus is easily spread through dog-to-dog contact or contact with stool or environment. As a very durable virus, it can resist temperature and humidity changes, and can survive in the environment for long periods of time. It contaminates kennel and bowl surfaces, collars, leashes, stool, and hands and clothing of people. 
  • Symptoms/Detection
    • Symptoms can range from mild to severe with lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, abnormal body temperature, vomiting and diarrhea. Persistent vomiting and diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration and septic shock. *Most Parvo deaths from parvovirus occur within 48 to 72 hours following onset of symptoms. If your pet shows any signs, contact a veterinarian immediately*
    • Diagnosing Parvo often consists of a physical examination, a review of the dog's history and age, and a fecal swab.
  • Treatments
    • When treating a dog with parvo it’s important to sanitize everything the dog comes in contact with, including clothes and blankets. Do not bring the dog into public spaces or around other pets.
    • There is no specific medication that can kill the virus in infected dogs, so treatment is intended to support the dog’s body system until their immune system can fight off the viral infection. Like lots of other infections, early detection is important and can increase the likelihood of a successful recovery.
  • Preventions
    • VACCINATE! Until your young puppy is fully vaccinated, use caution when bringing them to public areas where other puppies may congregate. It is also a good idea to keep your dog vaccinated as it ages and grows to lower the risk of contracting and spreading the virus. Although a vaccine doesn’t ensure that a dog will never contract Parvo, it greatly decreases the likelihood. (


Lyme Disease

  • What is it?
    • Scientifically known as Lyme borreliosis, Lyme disease is an illness that affects both humans and animals. It is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States according to the CDC. 
  • How it’s caused…
    • Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. Carried and transmitted by the deer tick, this bacterium is worm-like and spiral-shaped.
  • Where it’s found…
    • The deer tick is primarily found in wooded, grassy, or marshy areas, but it can be located anywhere across the United States. When a pet runs through these areas, the deer tick can jump onto its victim and bite. This can happen in your own backyard or even on a walk with your pet.
  • Symptoms/Detection
    • Pet’s infected with Lyme disease may not show symptoms for 2-5 months. These symptoms include fever, loss of appetite, lameness, joint swelling, decreased activity. Symptoms vary with type of animal. When a veterinarian suspects Lyme disease, a quick blood test can be done to detect exposure to bacterium.
  • Treatments
    • After a positive test, a veterinarian will determine the best course of treatment, which typically involves a course of antibiotics
  • Preventions
    • The first step to prevention is the Lyme vaccine. This is especially recommended for dogs who regularly spend time outside in these areas. It’s best to consult with a veterinarian about this option for your pet.
    • Use Flea and Tick prevention on your pet. This isn’t just a good idea for preventing Lyme disease, but other tick-borne diseases such as anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis.

CDC Lyme Disease Interactive Map

@AVMA - Lyme Disease (

Rainy River Veterinary Hospital, Inc.


900 3rd Ave
International Falls, MN 56649



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