Cryptococcosis in Dogs and CatsCryptococcosis is one of the most common fungal diseases in the world. It primarily affects cats but can also be seen in other animals and humans. Keep reading to learn more about cryptococcosis, symptoms in pets, and how it’s treated. Are you concerned about your pet?Book a video consultation with an experienced veterinarian within minutes.Professional vet advice onlineLow-cost video vet consultationsOpen 24 hours a day, 365 days a year Book Video Consultation What is Cryptococcosis?Cryptococcosis is a disease caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. The fungi are found worldwide in soil and bird droppings, especially those of pigeons. It feeds on the products of decay and organic breakdown and prefers to grow moist soil. For that reason, Cryptococcus is more common in areas with higher rainfall, such as the Northwestern United States.Is my pet at risk?Although cryptococcosis most commonly affects cats, it is also seen in dogs, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, birds, and wild animals.How can my pet get cryptococcosis?Tiny fungal particles (spores) in the air are inhaled through the nose or mouth. The organisms colonize the nasal cavity and sinuses. Invasion of nearby tissues, such as the skin (face and neck), eyes, brain, and lymph nodes is also a possibility.Pets who spend the majority of their time indoors are still at risk for the disease.Signs Your Pet May Have CryptococcosisEarly StagesNasal discharge - thick, bloody, green, or yellowSneezingPawing at faceFacial swelling - bridge of the nose (cats)Later StagesEye involvementSkin ulcerationEnlarged lymph nodesVomiting and diarrheaLack of appetiteNervous system signs - seizures, wobbly, uncoordinated movement or weakness, blindnessEventually becomes systemic - spreading through blood and lymph to lungs and abdominal organsDeathDiagnosis of Cryptococcosis in Dogs and CatsEvaluation of cells from the nasal cavity - nasal flushing with saline may be necessaryBiopsy of skin lesionsCell samples from affected lymph nodesBlood and urine culturesSpecific blood tests to detect CryptococcusFor pets showing neurologic signs, a spinal tap may be necessaryPotentially, more advanced tests, such as radiographs (x-rays), ultrasound, or CT scanTreatment of Cryptococcosis in Dogs and CatsTypically, a long course of oral antifungal medication is required, until the fungus is cleared. More serious cases may require hospitalization for intravenous antifungal medication and supportive care, such as intravenous fluids and nutritional support.Follow-up veterinary monitoring is necessary, as antifungal medication can have side effects for internal organs, such as the liver. Treatment and monitoring can last anywhere from 3-12 months.Can I get cryptococcosis from my pet?People are susceptible to the disease as well. Transmission is by inhalation of fungal spores from the soil, not exposure to an infected dog or cat. Cryptococcosis primarily affects immunocompromised individuals.Prognosis for Pets with CryptococcosisOutcomes are generally good if the disease is detected early, treated, and monitored appropriately. About 30% of affected pets relapse once treatment is finished.Read more:Aspergillosis in Dogs and CatsHistoplasmosis in Dogs and CatsNeed to speak with a veterinarian regarding your pet’s cryptococcosis or another condition?Click here to schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets. You can also download the FirstVet app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores.