Blastomycosis is a potentially deadly fungal infection which is fairly common in our area. This organism likes to grow in the woodlands and soil where it's moist. Since dogs like to dig and sniff the ground, if they inhale the spores of this organism, then they can contract the infection.
Exposure starts as a respiratory condition, moving to the lymph nodes where it will spread throughout the body. Eventually, an infected animal can display an open sore which doesn't heal.
By testing the wound, or doing a bronchoscopy (if the symptoms are respiratory only) and obtaining material to test, it can be determined if an animal has Blastomycosis. In some cases, the urine can be tested and a particular protein can be discovered which is produced by the organism which indicates the infection. Thankfully, the infection is not contagious, so it can't be passed to other animals from an infected pet.
Blastomycosis is treatable, but treatment can be long, from 3-6 months, up to a year. Like most medical issues, early diagnosis helps to be able to provide better treatment, so if you notice symptoms similar to the above description, please bring your pet to the vet right away!