Heartbroken dog owner warns about potentially fatal fungus in Sudbury soil

Mathieu Gooyer of Sudbury, Ont., has a warning for dog owners, after losing his two year old black lab, Kane, to an infection called blastomycosis. The Walden Animal Hospital says that is a fungal organism that lives in soil.

Mathieu Gooyer is mourning the death of his black lab, Kane after the animal contracted blastomycosis

Mathieu Gooyer of Sudbury, Ont., says his two-year old black lab Kane died after contracting blastomycosis, a fungus that lives in soil. (Mathieu Gooyer)

Mathieu Gooyer has a warning for other dog owners.

The Sudbury, Ont. resident lost his two year old black Labrador Retriever, Kane, to blastomycosis.

That is a fungal organism that lives in soil, according to the Walden Animal Hospital. The veterinary facility in Lively has seen an increase in infection cases recently.

Gooyer is not sure where his dog contracted the fungus. He thinks it may have come from a decaying stick. 

"Anything that would have a mould or whatever that you wouldn't want your dog getting into in the first place, but dogs will be dogs. They don't really care unless you throw the stick."

In a Facebook post, the Walden Animal Hospital says blastomycosis is most often inhaled by dogs who have their noses in the dirt.
Two year old black Labrador Retriever, Kane, contracted blastomycosis and died very quickly says the Walden Animal Hospital. They say the dog likely got the fungal organism from soil. (Mathieu Gooyer)

It says symptoms include:

  • cough and fever if the lungs are infected
  • open wounds that don't heal if in the skin
  • red irritated eyes and vision loss if ocular

Gooyer says Kane got sick very quickly and died.

The hospital posted radiograph images of the dog's lungs, which show patchy white blotches, all areas where the fungal organism attacked.

The animal hospital says antibiotics don't help. In fact they describe blastomycosis as similar to an aggressive cancer.

Now, Gooyer has advice for other dog owners. He is encouraging them to avoid swampy areas, as water can cause blastomycosis to grow.

"The only thing I can suggest right now is because [of] our rain - we're getting dry and then lots of rain - the water is coming up and down. Stay out of swamps. Stay out of ravines, right now. Anything where you would see a big difference in water rising and coming down."

The Sudbury and District Health Unit says the fungus can affect humans.

With files from Martha Dillman