An owners guide to valley fever in dogs
Valley fever in dogs is a fungal infection that although not usually life-threatening, does require extensive treatment. This condition is prevalent in the Southwestern states. They include California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas.
The fungus that causes this disease dwells in the desert soil. When dogs disturb the soil when digging, they can inhale some of the fungus spores. In most cases, the immune system will kill the infection. However, if the immune system doesn’t act fast enough, the infection will spread to the lungs and the rest of the body and rest in valley fever.
The lungs are most often affected by this fungus. This causes your dog to show symptoms such as fever, weight loss, lethargy, and coughing. As the condition advances, he may also develop severe pneumonia.
The lungs aren’t the only organs affected, as this disease can affect any tissue in your dog’s body. Common symptoms include neck and back pain, swollen limbs, swollen lymph nodes, and seizures. Some dogs also develop skin ulcerations.
The treatment for valley fever in dogs is very extensive. Your dog will have to take antifungal medication anywhere from six months up to a year. If the condition has already spread to any organs or bones, treatment may take even longer. Some dogs have to take this medication for the rest of their lives or the symptoms will return. In addition to antifungal medication, the veterinarian may also prescribe pain relievers and cough suppressants.
When this disease is properly treated, your dog will most likely recover. Most dogs start back acting normally a week after treatment has begun. However, this disease is sometimes fatal. Older dogs, puppies, and canines with a weak immune system have the most risk of dying from this disease.