Clinical Signs of Pythiosis

Infection most often causes disease of the skin or GI tract. While cats are less likely to be infected as compared with dogs, it is important to consider pythiosis in both species.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Straining to defecate
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased appetite and energy
  • Non-healing wounds

Treatment And Testing

Pythiosis causes inflammation that can be seen on tissue biopsy samples, but this inflammation is similar to that caused by many diseases. Pythium organisms can occasionally be seen in tissue samples, but cannot be differentiated from many other related organisms that appear similar.

What is Pythiosis?

Pythiosis, caused by Pythium, is a fungal-like infection affecting primarily dogs, but cats and other animals can also be infected. Pythiosis is found on multiple continents around the world and can be diagnosed anywhere in the U.S. Pythium likes warm temperatures and is most common in southern states. Pythiosis is not contagious to other animals or humans, but occurs when a dog or cat wades in, or ingests, water where Pythium lives. Pythiosis most commonly infects young animals (<5 years) which could be due to the fact that they are more likely to roam around and wade in water. If other animals are showing signs of illness, or if you have concerns, it is important to talk with your veterinarian. Early diagnosis can help with successful treatment. If you have concerns for yourself, or other people in the household, you should talk with your physician. 

Estimated Areas with Pythiosis

Nguyen et al. JAVMA 2022

Learn More About Pythiosis

Pythiosis is a potentially life-threatening fungal-like infection. Dogs most often have skin or gastrointestinal disease where cats most often have skin disease or disease just below the skin (sub-cutaneous). It is not contagious to other animals or humans but is acquired from the environment.

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