When it comes to fungal infections, there are many ways that they can affect us. Some of the impacts of these can be quite serious, but many don’t realize the impact it can also have on the family pets. In particular, histoplasmosis can harm pets almost in the same way it can harm humans.
What Is Histoplasmosis?
It’s a fungal infection caused by the fungus Histoplasma, which comes from the soil. Soil that contains bird droppings is particularly well known to be a breeding ground for Histoplasma. The fungus becomes airborne when the soil is disturbed. Once it makes its way into the lungs, that’s when the infection occurs.
There are certain types of people who are more susceptible to the infection. People who have a decreased immune system from diseases like HIV are more likely to become infected. The same can be said for newborns and the elderly.
How Does It Affect Pets?
Just as it can harm humans, histoplasmosis can harm pets. It’s most likely to infect cats and dogs. There is a common misconception that birds carry it, as their droppings are related to the growth of Histoplasma in the soil. This, however, has been proven to be incorrect.
The infection can harm pets in the same way it can harm humans. It grows in the lungs and can cause chest pain due to inflammation around the heart. The inflammation can also spread through the spinal cord. This would lead to headaches and stiff neck muscles.
You can prevent pets from becoming infected by cleaning areas known to breed the histoplasmosis bacteria. These include chicken coops and wood containers.
The idea that histoplasmosis can harm pets is fact, but it’s important to understand that is not common. The same way many adults come into contact with Histoplasma and are not infected, most pets are naturally immune.