Cryptococcus is a yeast that can cause disease in many species of animals including dogs, cats, livestock, wildlife and and people. The disease can be hidden in a pet or become long term (chronic).

Cases seen at Little Mountain Veterinary Clinic: 2 dogs and 2 cats.

Clinical findings:

Dogs: The tissues affected are the brain , the spinal cord and it’s surrounding tissues causing incoordination, lameness, pain; the sinuses causing stringy discharge; and skin causing lumps of ears, feet and face.

Cat: Tissues affected are the nasal passages and the throat area. From the nasal cavity the infection can go further into the cranial cavity or around the nerve to the eye causing blindness. In old cats with nose or eye discharge, blindness, stumbling, coughing and a high temperature can be seen. A chronic pneumonia or lumps (may look like a tumour) under the skin can also occur. Eventually the central nervous system CNS, may be affected.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is needed before treatment can be done. This is a blood test. Sometimes a stained slide of the discharge or cells will have the organism and help diagnosis.

Treatment: Treatment is very long. it may take months to cure this disease. Treatment is not always successful and can be expensive. The cost really depends on the case and varies depending on the drug used and the organism and patient.

Caution: This organism is in the soil and has been found in eucalyptus trees. Remember the outbreak on Vancouver Island in 1999 of Cryptococcus gattii? It has been found on Vancouver Island. If yu see any of the above signs in your pet make an appointment and lets check out what is going on. If your pet has this organism it is in your environment. You will not ‘catch’ it form your pet but from the environment.

For further information check:

  1. Granulomatous Meningoencephalitis (GME)
  2. Pneumonia Management