May 19, 2010
May 19 - Pythium insidiosum
Oh man - this is a nasty one. I had a really hard time finding a photo that wasn't completely disgusting and opted for just a nice image of the simple fungi themselves. The parasite is Pythium insidiosum, a fungal parasite that causes a disease known as pythiosis in dogs and horses. It's a common parasite in warmer parts of the world including the American South, eastern Australia, and south America and primarily exists in swampy, standing water. Dogs can become infected in their GI tract from drinking tainted water and it can cause thickening of the tissues or granulated lumps. Horses more often have subcutaneous lesions of these fungi, which they get from standing in the swampy water. The damage to their legs, bellies, and chests can be quite gruesome and often the lesions will have bits of dead tissue in them with the somewhat amusing name of "klunkers."
The disease is apparently on the rise in the U.S. and is troublesome because many vets are not familiar with it. I found this website with some rather sad tales of beloved pets who have been lost to the disease.
The image is from this site.