Big Creek

Bullmastiffs

Valley Fever

 

Valley fever in dogs is a fungal infection that is not a life threatening condition. This fungal infection in dogs requires long treatment. This disease is unique to the southwestern United states like California, Arizona, New Mexico and Southwestern Texas. This disease is not just limited to humans, but also affects their canine friends. The following paragraphs will contain some information related to canine valley fever.

Causes of Valley Fever in Dogs
Valley fever in dogs is caused by fungal spores of coccidioidomycosis. These spores are prevalent in the dirt and arid regions of the desert. These spores are inhaled by the animals and gain entry into their body. Here, the spores multiply at the first site they find themselves located within the dog's body. The lungs are mostly the site of location and the infection begins here.

The dogs immune system can generally take care of such an infection. However, in case of coccidiodomycosis, the spores quickly multiply and shed new spores leading to a full fledged infection. This infection is very common in puppies, older dogs and those animals who have immunocompromised systems. The cocci spores reproduce and replicate really very fast and soon valley fever in dogs turns into pneumonia. Thus, a dog gets infected not only with valley fever, but also pneumonia at the same time. This makes it very difficult for the dog to fight off both the dog health problems.

The common sites of dissemination of valley fever in dogs within the body other than lungs is liver, central nervous system. The other sites of dissemination of valley fever in dogs includes eyes and heart muscles in rare cases.


Symptoms of Valley Fever in Dogs

Valley fever in dogs occurs in two forms: primary and disseminated valley fever in dogs. In case of primary valley fever in dogs, the animal develops respiratory disorders. This disease is limited to the lungs and the symptoms of valley fever in dogs include:

 

  • Coughing

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Loss of energy

 

One may observe some or all of the above mentioned symptoms of valley fever in dogs. With the progress of the disease, it may lead to severe pneumonia. The cough of these dogs sounds similar to bronchitis. When the infection is not limited to the lungs, it leads to systemic or disseminated valley fever in dogs. This form of valley fever is more serious than the primary valley fever. The signs of valley fever in dogs in case of systemic condition include:

 

  • Swelling of limbs

  • Back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Seizures

  • Swelling under the skin that is similar to an abscess

  • The lymph nodes under the chin, in front of shoulder blades, behind stifles, are swollen

  • Skin ulcers that take long time to heal

  • Inflammation of eye with pain

  • Cloudiness of the eye

 

Most of the signs of valley fever in dogs are very rare and few are similar to other dog illnesses. In such a case, it is always better to visit a veterinarian for diagnosis of canine valley fever. Many dogs do not exhibit the primary valley fever symptoms and develop symptoms related to disseminated valley fever in dogs.


Valley Fever in Dogs Treatment

The valley fever in dogs treatment is generally taken care by use of anti-fungal medications. The valley fever in dogs treatment requires use of about 6 to 12 months of extensive medications. In case of disseminated valley fever in dogs, the treatment is even longer. If the disease is disseminated in the central nervous system, that is, brain and spinal cord, the dog requires lifelong treatment with medication.

The anti-fungal medications are in form of capsules that include ketoconazole, itraconazole and fluconazole. Other valley fever in dogs treatments includes cough suppressants, pain relief medications, fever medications, nutritious dog food and good dog care.

Dogs generally respond well to the treatment and will show significant improvement in dog health within a few weeks. You cannot do anything to prevent valley fever in dogs, but try and keep him away from dirt and soil as much as possible.

 

Info is from Buzzle.com