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NeighborHound Alerts

Blastomycosis Incident

When: 2012-04-27 09:04:00 -0700
Where: Hollywood Park, Peterson Woods, Chicago, IL, 60659


ALERT Blastomycosis Incident in Hollywood Park, Legion Park, North side, 60659. Please be aware this is a very dangerous fungal infection and takes anywhere from 1 wk to 120 days to show signs. Please google.. Has already taken one dog's sight from the park here.  Earlier in the yr, Jan 2012, a previous alert was given for Waukegan by a vet. Wooded area, areas of wet leaves, wet logs, is also air borne and no vaccination for this treatement is expensive and disease is fatal if not treated. Can be mistaken for kennel cough, outher chest issues. Please Google and Be safe.

DO NOT BE FOOLED THIS IS NOT RARE. Humans can also be infected with the same fungus. This was once called the "Chicago's Disease" An area in Des Plaines had a human outbreak a few yrs ago.

Read more about Blastomycosis in the DogHeirs article: Blastomycosis in Dogs: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention.


Thank you! didnt know there was such a thing or what it might have been called. posted all over FB wall stating despite my reports, no one has looked into the area. Maybe our Mayor will pay attention (not)
Ky, maybe you could contact the Veterinarian's Association in your city or State and report it to them. Perhaps they could then send out word to all their members? Sounds like a scary thing.
NO:NOTHING HAS BEEN ROPED OFF OR POSTED OR EVEN MENTIONED BY ANYONE BUT O'CONNOR. I suppose i could contact all vets in area but im dealing wiht my sons disabiliteis and CPS heavily now or i would be running with this. I trim Bingos undercoat and add either/mixture of vinegar/triple antibiotics. We use Zyrtec for allergies as it doesnt wipe him out and does the trick quite well. I am convinced everything come down to the immune system_including my arthritus I dont understand why all the other agencies i contacted have not responded or investigated. Will post Audrys links. I dont know what i would do if Bingo got it. He is my service dog and to lose him would nearly wipe me out mentally
Ky, My 1st post to you for May 12th did not get posted.Hope I'm not repeating my post again if it pops up later. Briefly, I will talk to my specialist on Monday 14th. Audrey has full 3 month checkup, x-rays, blood work, urinalysis, to see if meds are working. I'll ask if there's a way to email vets about Blasto. RE: your dog's allergies... Audrey gets skin allergies. Vet puts her on Benedryl May thru Oct. I hate giving it to her, but it works. If it ever gets bad with skin lesions, vet adds Cephalexin with Benedryl until lesions are gone. Also, I do have links to share on info I've collected about Blasto. It is not as rare as I once thought. I will continue on this when fundraiser is over. Busy week ahead. Last 10 days of fundraiser for Audrey. If you can share her link with anyone, anywhere, I appreciate it. With 2 hospitalizations, specialist meds and tests, we have 18,000 to raise & only have 2900 so far. Thanks!! http://www.indiegogo.com/audreysproject
KY, I don't live in 60659, I'm farther south in 60618. Did they put up signs in this park to warn people Blasto? Rope off any areas? Somehow scientists need to test for it,others to figure out how to eliminate it. In Delaware they've tried bleach when commercial mulch had blasto. Truckloads were brought in for neighbors to share, dogs & people got it. Only common denominator was the mulch. Neighbors were at a loss what to do. They were afraid to scrape it up. Sunlight? Bleach? Dry heat? What kills It? We need help understanding how to eliminate it, or avoid these areas? They recommended rubber and cedar mulch after that. But what to do with it when it's there? A national map of yearly hotspots as a safeguard to warn people? This could effect property values. It can come and go in a day, and last thru the winter.This is very complicated and scary. Education is needed about this!!! People and clinicians in Chicago & the suburbs need to be aware of Blasto as a possibility with symptoms of flu, weight loss, sneezing, loss of appetite, coughing, skin lesions, etc. Maybe for now, just keep spreading the word! It's funny, some dogs and people breath it in and never get it. Maybe it's immune systems that are stressed and compromised. Maybe the strain is stronger just in that one devastating spot!
UP DATE: no one but O'Connor has looked into this Whitey is now totally blind IS there a way to mass email vets? Karen, any info on Hot Spots relating to Blasto? I occationally bathe my dog with vinegar and always his paws. I know in wet weather, where ever he scratches always gets infected_or sore. He does have allergies. Hot spots but no "pustules"
Thank you so much for adding this alert!! If there are others areas that have been confirmed to have Blastomyces dermatitidis causing Blastomycosis, please feel free to add new NeighborHound Alerts for each area. All dogs and humans should avoid these spots if possible!
Thanks Alderman O'Connor for responding and posting this quickly in the Daily Gazet, 40th Ward, for all dog owners in this area. Informative article with blastomycosis symptoms included.
Great work Ky, I see the Alderman posted an alert!!! Hopefully dog owners will stay out of the area and prevent what Audrey is going through with blasto!!! Thanks for acting fast, and continued good thoughts for your friend's dog Whitey. Please keep my email if they or you have any questions. I'd be happy to answer any questions if I can help. I'll be checking posts here for a while, but email me if I don't respond here. It was good helping here out in this one!!! I feel like we helped out some dogs here! Take care Ky! For more info, and to read about Audrey's Project - Blastomycosis, or to help donate, please visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/audreysproject
oh yes, its wet, cold rainey here and we are certianly within 400 ft of water. i wonder if the coyotes ever get it. i posted in two spots on CL, inotified alderman, Chicago board of health and Chicago park district Asked them to look into it stat as it is a human health hazard and can be reported to CDC if next contracted by a person. that may raise a few hairs_i hope so spinning the human factor as a concern may spur them a bit more. Also noted that vet asked if Whitey had been around a construction area and pointed out the construction area that was done on both bridges on either side of the park. Gave Whiteys mom info on meds_:) thanks and so glad Audrey hopefully making her way back
Ky. Thanks for link to see Canadian pictures of blastomycosis. Extensive work!!! The fact that Whitey never left Chicago is alarming! My older dog Sara is fine, she's 13 1/2 yrs. old. She was often right next to Audrey when Audrey was exposed in Wisconsin. This fungus could be cyclical every few years,depending on weather, moisture, and environmental conditions. More likely in the spring and fall. Often found within 400 feet of water, in acidic soil, rotting logs etc. Everything takes a long time to heal with this illness. It's very serious, lots of ups and downs. The specialist told us it takes about 6 to 8 months just to get it under control. It's been 3 months, and she's slowly getting better. Audrey is on fluconazole. I found out just by chance there is a discount for pet meds at the Osco. The difference in cost is very substantial. Try to sign up and get the pet card. Your friend is lucky Whitey is eating well with a fever. We need all the help we can get to raise awareness about this in the Chicago area. People need to know where hotspots are. Thank you for helping. Hopefully, we can save some lives. Thanks Ky.
Karen, turns out you have a frnd who is frnd of whiteys owner..:) I am well aware that the pics are NOT from Hollywood Park. I only thought you would like to take a look at them in case it can be identified anywhere or a ref to. I again confirmed that Whitey hasn’t been to Wisconsin. The only place he has been is Chicago_by the river along our houses. His appetite was off around mid April. He was brought to the vet and his lung x-rays showed large mass. Began antibiotic_worsened. Then is actual color of his eye appeared rusty…that was the pressure of the fungus growing behind it. It has now come out on his skin as sores that don’t want to heal. The big problem is finding a place that sells the meds for a lower cost. He is eating up a storm today. I will notify our Alderman, post signs in park and hit CL with it. If the local departments hear can test the area that would be grt. If I can say that it is a human health hazard_as it is_then maybe we can get some action on it. The vet asked if dog had been around any construction sites_they have been doing construction on both bridges on either side of the park but Whitey was not under the tarps hanging down. I will make certain to bring that up and possibly contact local news with email. The more the merrier. Des Plaines was hit with a human infection awhile back when a new construction/housing area went up.
Ky. The first thing we noticed was slight sneezing, coughing and a hoarseness to her bark. She had had kennel cough a couple of years ago, and it seemed similar. She seemed slightly tired and had slowly lost weight over a period of months, but the vet thought she was a good weight as a preventative since she was a shepherd, regarding possible hip dysplasia in her later years. Only in retrospect do we believe her appetite was slightly affected. If dogs have blasto, once they reach coughing, sneezing etc., stage, the disease moves quickly, and suddenly they are gasping for breath. Any antibiotic administered seems to quicken the progression of the disease. So it's important if they do not improve quickly, contact your vet immediately. You may have to bring up possible blastomycosis diagnosis. Tests include chest xray and blood tests; however, vets may not have time to wait for results and our specialist began administering the anti-fungal immediately as any delay would have resulted in her death. Thankfully, our vet and specialist had previous experience with this illness, saw the signs and acted quickly! We and Audrey were extremely lucky.
Ky. I've read the article at http://mushingmum.blogspot.com/search/label/Blastomyces%20dermatitidis, that you referred to. The woman lives up in Canada; blasto tested positive in Canada, but not in Hollywood park. So all we have is circumstantial evidence, not yet scientific evidence that Hollywood park is infected. However, this is enough for me to believe there is a risk. There are no vaccines. So whatever you can do to warn your neighbors, it looks like it has to be a grass roots effort for now. Signs in the park are a great idea; also contact your Alderman and see if he can help raise awareness. Direct him to these articles. This is a deathly disease.
Yes Chris. Mom works as an atty. Other than that the dog is out romping in their shaded yard on and off in when the house keeper is there few times per wk. So no, in case you were wondering, W is well exercised and loved. They probley also walk when she gets home but i am not out then. When he romps with my dog there is no stopping them :) They run like the wind. Thank you Karen. I read Audrey’s story while i was up all night obsessed about this when i heard and now i am fearful of Bingo and I doing our daily romps... i do not like to stick to streets we are often out between 1 and 3 am walking, bunny chasing, coyote spotting, and singing and dancing...but i am fearful now to go into the park. Bing is my service dog and there is no way i can afford to watch him go that route. I would be lost w/out him. I gave W's mom a call and let her know i connected w/you and lft mssge about all you stated_the above_concerning food, fever, anti inflammatory, the time it took for you to see improvement, etc. I asked her to call me back if she wanted to get in touch with you via em or here. (also asked her if W was with her when she was with her horses which is not near here but still in IL)I am keeping a CLOSE watch on my dog_his exercise tolerance, speed, etc....so far so good. IF there was ANYTHING you noticed FIRST, please feel free to share. Prayers and candles lit here
Ky. Thank you so much for your update. I am so sorry about Whitey. I know how horrible it is when your dog can't eat from meds and the illness. Please try scrambled eggs in the a.m., Chicken in between kibble. If they can't smell that well, they won't eat. When Audrey's fever was high, she wouldn't eat at all. You have to find some kind of food, anything he will eat to be able to keep giving him meds. If fever spikes above 102.5, talk to vet about anti-inflammatory for fever, appetite & pain. This helped save Audrey along with anti-biotic and anti-inflammatory. Sustained high fever above 105 for 2 to 3 days can cause brain damage. Talk to vet! Hang in there! Long road, it can take up to 6 weeks to start noticing more improvement. Persevere, as we have had more ups and downs than we can count. Finally now, more ups than downs and glimpses of the old Audrey back.
Thanks for the info KY, but Whitey only gets a walk at 6 am and 10 pm?
PS: park not tested_who should i call?
NOTE: this was not diagonosed until the dog was brought to an eye specialist as his normal vet did not catch it...sent him home with antibiotics and things progressed. Eye doc states he had probley been blind in that eye before she even noticed as dogs can adapt to one eye quicky
Whitey HAS NOT left the area or traveled to Wisconsin. He runs and plays only Hooolywood Park in the early morning walks around 6 am and later at night around 10 pm. Believe me, i know the dog, owner etc and they havent done any traveling. Thier yard is small and does nto have much sunlight..so all walks are the stretch between between bryn mawer and peterson.... here is a link from a woman who didnt want to get hit with it again who has pictures of the actual spore clusters and the residue it leaves on treees. It was the only one i could find and i am amzed that there arent any more pics This woman was a musher who lives off grid and did her own investigating. may be helpful but worth a look http://mushingmum.blogspot.com/2009/10/test-results-positive-for-blastomyces.html Also, there was an incident in Winthrop Harbor/ Zion/ Waukegan area. Alert by Vet http://harboranimal.vetstreet.com/blog/alert-blastomycosis-outbreak copy and past folks. the dog ate yesterday and but is on the down tunr again today with fever back up If this needs to be alerted to Alderman Oconner i wlll, I believe i will post some signs in the area this wk. Never can be to careful. At present i am avoiding the park until things dry up and hope that helps Am keeping an eye on my dog for any signs as we travel the same route.
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