Valley fever is a disease that can affect both dogs and humans. Valley fever is a major concern in Southwestern states like Arizona. It’s caused by a soil-dwelling fungus that thrives in desert conditions. The fact that the fungus is found in soil may partially explain why dogs are particularly susceptible to it, as dogs like to sniff at and play in the dirt. If you’re concerned that your dog may have contracted valley fever, contact your veterinarian right away.
Symptoms of Valley Fever
Valley fever can range from mild to severe. Young puppies, senior dogs, and those with compromised immune systems are most likely to develop severe symptoms. The fungal infection begins in the lungs, at which stage it is called primary pulmonary valley fever. The symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Lethargy/low energy
- Loss of appetite
If the fungus isn’t treated in time, it may spread beyond the lungs. This stage of valley fever is known as disseminated disease. It can cause the following problems:
- Swelling of limbs/lameness
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swollen testicles in males
- Eye inflammation with cloudiness and pain
- Oozing skin lesions that refuse to heal
- Soft swelling under the skin, similar to abscesses
- Back or neck pain, possibly accompanied by weakness or paralysis
Diagnostics for Valley Fever
If you notice anything unusual with your dog, take him or her to the veterinarian right away. The prognosis is usually good as long as the disease is diagnosed and treated early. The vet will likely use a titer test to check for the presence of valley fever antibodies in your dog’s blood. In some cases, the vet may take a sample of infected fluid or tissue, and check for the presence of the fungus under a microscope. Chest x-rays may also be called for.
Fully qualified veterinarians and vet technicians comprise the staff here at Horizon Animal Hospital. It’s our mission to give your pet the best possible care so that he or she can live a happy and healthy life. Call our vet clinic in Scottsdale at (480) 800-4559 right away if you think your pet might be ill.