Valley Fever in Dogs

Valley Fever in Dogs

The HBO drama “The Last of Us” has raised awareness of the expanding danger posed by fungi. While there isn’t a known fungus that transforms people into spore-eating zombies, medical professionals believe one pathogen may become more common as a result of climate change.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, coccidioides, a fungus that often thrives in soil in the southwestern United States and likes warm, arid regions, is the infection that causes valley fever.

About 20,000 Valley fever cases were recorded by the CDC in 2019. The majority of instances are benign, but in a small number of people, the fungus spreads, leading to serious illness and even death.

According to studies, climate change’s unpredictable weather could spread the fungus to other regions of the nation.

What is Valley Fever in dogs?

When dogs are exposed to fungi or are found to have a fungal infection, they can get very sick. Valley Fever is a special sickness brought on by a particular kind of fungus. Valley Fever, commonly known as coccidioidomycosis, is caused by the fungus Coccidioides immitis.

The fungus thrives in hot, arid areas and lives in soil. The states of Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Texas, and California are where this fungus is most prevalent. Along with South and Central America, it is also common in Mexico. The late fall and summer months are when the sickness is most common.

Valley Fever only affects the lungs of dogs; it cannot spread to people or other dogs. The illness cannot spread due to a persistent cough; only the fungal spores that are inhaled can produce valley fever.

A fungal illness that can harm the lungs, valley fever in dogs. This is frequently observed in some desert-like settings in particular regions of North America.

What are the signs of Valley Fever in Dogs?

  • Lameness
  • Swollen joints
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Moderate to severe cough
  • Malaise
  • Possible ulcers on the skin (rare)

Early signs of valley fever, when the spherules are contained to the lungs, can include fatigue, fever, a dry cough, and decreased appetite.

As the fungi spread to other regions of your dog’s body, a wider range of symptoms, including painful, swollen joints, persistent fever, weight loss, eye inflammation, and blindness, may start to manifest. Valley fever can occasionally, and in extremely rare circumstances, cause seizures if the fungus gets to the brain.

In order to prevent significant health issues, it is imperative to seek veterinarian assistance as soon as your dog exhibits symptoms of valley fever.

Causes of Valley Fever in Dogs

Make an appointment with your veterinarian before the symptoms worsen if you and your dog reside in an area where this ailment is common. Among the causes of valley fever are:

  • spores of fungal inhaled (windborne)
  • In some places, fungi thrive in the soil.
  • living in an environment with a high prevalence
  • Inhalation of dust particles

Diagnosis of Valley Fever in dogs

Make an appointment with your veterinarian if your dog is exhibiting symptoms of valley fever and lives in a state or region where the disease is prevalent. Thankfully, a test particularly for Valley Fever exists, allowing your veterinarian to make a conclusive diagnosis.

When you take your dog to the doctor, he will run certain tests in the lab. To rule out any more conditions, he will conduct blood testing, urine, biochemistry profiles, and any other tests that he deems necessary. He will then examine his symptoms more closely. You will be questioned by him regarding his coughing, weight loss, and fever as well as how long the symptoms have been present.

The veterinarian may also use x-rays, a serum test, a white blood cell test, and other procedures to help him make a more accurate diagnosis.

Then, your veterinarian might do a Cocci test—also known as a Valley Fever test—to check for the disease. This test will precisely examine your dog’s blood to see if it contains antibodies that are combating the fungus. Your veterinarian will request a titer from the lab if the test is positive. This test will efficiently gauge how many antibodies are being generated to combat the fungus.

If your dog’s titer level is low, more testing will be required. Imaging, cell analysis, blood cell counts, and biopsies are all possible

How is Valley Fever in Dogs treated?

Dogs with valley fever are typically treated with antifungal drugs. The severity of your dog’s disease will determine how long they need to take these treatments.

Antifungal drugs often need to be used for 6 to 12 months, with symptoms typically improving in just a few weeks. Your dog might need to take antifungal treatments for the rest of their lives if valley fever has spread to other body parts.

Itraconazole (Itrafungol® and Sporanox®), fluconazole (Diflucan®), and ketoconazole (Nizoral®) are some of the most popular antifungal drugs used to treat valley fever in canines.

Can a Dog recover from Valley Fever?

Dogs who are diagnosed and treated with Valley Fever at an early stage can make a full recovery. The antifungal therapy for your dog must be continued for up to a year, and your vet will need to schedule follow-up appointments to check on his progress.

It’s crucial to adhere to your veterinarian’s advice regarding how to take care of your dog at home. Don’t forget to administer him medication at the same time each day, as directed.

Unfortunately, if Valley Fever is discovered in its late stages, it can be fatal. Your veterinarian will be open and honest with you on the prognosis of your dog and will offer you guidance regarding any decision you may need to make regarding his quality of life.

about the author

Rakhi S

I am Rakhi Sharma. I have done Master’s in English literature and language from IGNOU. I love to read about different cultures, places, and things from around the world. Writing about different topics is what I love the most.

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