What is Aspergillosis?
Aspergillosis is a fungal infection caused by Aspergillus, a common fungus found in both indoor and outdoor settings. People and animals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to developing aspergillosis and additional health complications due to the infection. It is nearly impossible to avoid breathing in some Aspergillus spores in your home, but for those with a healthy immune system, it is often not harmful.
Aspergillus commonly grows on dead leaves, stored grain, compost piles, and other decaying vegetation. It can also be found as a lacy mold growing on foods. Fortunately, respiratory physical defenses (mucosa, branching airways, mucociliary apparatus) and innate immune system often limit invasion of the fungus thereby preventing infection.
Aspergillosis has two primary manifestations in dogs and cats – sinonasal infection and dissemination to multiple organ systems. German shepherd dogs are greatly predisposed for disseminated aspergillosis and dolichocephalic (long-snout) breeds, such as the Dachshund, Greyhound, Collie, or German Shepherd dogs are at increased risk for sinonasal disease.