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Valley Fever

Also known as, Coccidioidomycosis, Valley Fever is a systemic fungal disease found primarily in the southwest United States and is very common in Arizona.  The fungus is found in the soil, and pets become infected by inhaling the infective spores.  Valley Fever is not directly contagious between animals or people.

Signs of Valley Fever are numerous and may include coughing, limping, lethargy, decreased appetite, fever, weight loss, and seizures.  It is primarily diagnosed by a blood test.  Many pets, who inhale the spores, are able to fight off the infection without showing any signs of the disease and will not require medication.  Pets that are sick from the fungus will need treatment. 

Treatment of Valley Fever consists primarily of antifungal medication, most commonly Fluconazole. This medication stops the growth of the fungus, allowing the pet’s immune system to eventually remove it from the body. Because the medication does not kill the fungus directly, it often takes months to years to treat Valley Fever. Although the clinical signs may subside after a shorter time, it is very important to treat as directed by your veterinarian or relapses are likely to occur. Other medications such as anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, cough suppressants, and anti-seizure medications may be needed to make infected animals more comfortable while the antifungal is taking effect.

Once the diagnosis is made, tests will need to be repeated to monitor the effectiveness of the medication and to help determine when treatment can be safely discontinued. If treated appropriately, most animals infected with the Valley Fever fungus will be able to resume a normal, happy, and healthy life! If you have concerns about your pet, or questions about this disease, please feel free to contact us anytime to discuss Valley Fever in more detail.

 

Valley Fever Important Facts

valley-fever
It is endemic, or common in our environment.

The symptoms of valley fever are numerous and can mimic other infections or ailments.  

Valley fever cannot spread from pet to pet or pet to person.

Although the clinical signs may subside after a shorter time. It often takes months to years to treat Valley Fever.

If treated appropriately, most animals infected with the Valley Fever fungus will be able to resume a normal, happy, and healthy life!