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Keywords:

  • Canine;
  • Monitoring;
  • Systemic fungal infection

Background

Serum and urine Blastomyces antigen concentrations can be used to diagnose blastomycosis in dogs.

Objectives

Blastomyces antigen concentrations correlate with clinical remission in dogs during antifungal treatment, and detect disease relapse after treatment discontinuation.

Animals

21 dogs with newly diagnosed blastomycosis monitored until clinical remission (Treatment Phase), and 27 dogs monitored over 1 year from the time of antifungal discontinuation or until clinical relapse (After Treatment Phase).

Methods

Prospective study. Dogs were monitored monthly during treatment and every 3 months after treatment discontinuation, with a complete history, physical exam, chest radiographs, and ocular exam. Urine and serum Blastomyces antigen concentrations were measured at each visit using a quantitative enzyme immunoassay.

Results

At enrollment in the Treatment Phase, Blastomyces antigen was positive in all 21 urine samples (100% sensitivity; 95% CI 85–100%), and in 18 of 20 serum samples (90% sensitivity; 95% CI 70–97%). At 2–4 months of treatment, urine antigen was more sensitive for clinically detectable disease (82%; CI 60–94%) than serum antigen (18%; CI 6–41%). The sensitivity of the urine test for clinical relapse was 71% (CI 36–92%), with close to 100% specificity (CI 84–100%) during after treatment surveillance in this population.

Conclusions

Urine Blastomyces antigen testing has high sensitivity for active disease at the time of diagnosis and during treatment, and moderate sensitivity but high specificity for clinical relapse. Urine testing should be useful at the time of diagnosis, when treatment discontinuation is being considered, and anytime there is poor clinical response or suspicion of relapse.