Pharmacy Spotlight: Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Spotlight on Ketoconazole

  • Medication type: Broad-spectrum antifungal antibiotic

  • Active ingredient: Ketoconazole

  • Dosage form: Tablet

  • Manufacturer: Varies

  • Generic form: Ketoconazole

  • Major use: For the treatment of fungal infections, yeast and ringworm infections, as well as for Cushing's disease (hyperadrenocorticism), Blastomycosis, and fungal infections of the heart.

  • How it works: Ketoconazole increases cellular membrane permeability and has activity against most pathogenic fungi including Blastomyces dermatididis, which causes Blastomycosis.

Black LabKetoconazole

Dog's Name: Black
Breed: Labrador Retriever
Age: 2 years

His story: It was in the fall of the year. Black, a two-year-old Black Lab, and his master piled into a Ford pickup truck, and they set out for northern Wisconsin for a week's stay in a relative's cabin situated on a backwater area of the Wisconsin River. The dog, usually confined to his urban home in the southern part of the state, was elated at the roaming space in the country. He did not go far; nor was he ever out of his master's sight, but, with nose to the ground, he chased smells and romped around with eagerness and excitement. All would have been well, except for his encounter with an invisible enemy, the fungal organism Blastomyces dermatitidis.

Unbeknown to Black's owner, there had been several cases of dogs in that area contracting Blastomycosis. He learned of this while sitting in a coffee shop one frosty morning, so he was careful to contain the dog for the rest of their stay at the cabin. When he returned home, he was also diligent in educating himself about the disease and noting its symptoms.

As it turned out, stopping at the coffee shop that frigid morning was likely the thing that saved Black's life. The following spring his owner began to notice some of the symptoms of blastomycosis. He immediately consulted with his veterinarian who, while not overly familiar with the condition, was able to make a positive diagnosis and prescribe early treatment for the dog.

Outcome: The veterinarian prescribed Ketoconazole for a period of 3 months, and then a maintenance program using Amphotericin B, under close veterinarian supervision, followed. Black was a fortunate survivor of this potentially deadly disease. His owner has been actively sharing the details on the dangerous threat of these microscopic spores and the seriousness of the resulting disease with all his dog-loving buddies.

For full details on this medication, download the free patient information sheet.