Odds are, if you are a dog owner in Arizona, you’ve heard of Valley Fever. Valley Fever can affect dogs as well as humans, so it’s important to understand symptoms and be able to identify the signs of this disease. At Anasazi Animal Clinic, we want you to be well informed and prepared. Please take time to read the information below, for your sake and the sake of your pet.
What is Valley Fever?
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus found in soil primarily in the Southwestern United States and in Northwestern Mexico. When soil containing this fungus is disturbed by wind, digging, walking, or farming, fungal spores can easily become airborne and inhaled into the lungs where the disease begins to grow.
What Are the Symptoms of Valley Fever?
Look for these symptoms to help determine whether to schedule a check-up appointment for your dog at Anasazi Animal Clinic:
- A harsh cough
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Low energy
These symptoms usually present themselves about three weeks after the fungal spores have become established in the lungs. The primary disease is limited to the lungs, but if Valley Fever spreads outside of the lungs, it can then progress into a disseminated version of the disease. Older and weaker dogs are more vulnerable to this exacerbation.
What is the Treatment for Valley Fever?
When caught in a timely manner, Valley Fever can be treated with an antifungal medication. Treatment may require some time, potentially as long as 6-12 months to entirely eradicate the disease. While this is a lengthy healing process, your dog will typically begin to feel better within one or two weeks. Valley Fever is not contagious, and therefore cannot be spread from a human to a dog, or from one dog to another dog.
The peak season for Valley Fever in dogs is between June and July, and October to November. Anasazi Animal Clinic knows how dear your pet is to you. In the event that your dog becomes infected, we want you to know the symptoms of this disease in order to identify them and begin treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment is the best remedy to help your pup return to good health.
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/7/2018) Cedric Ramirez (Flickr)