Pet owners in Arizona need to be aware of some unique health risks for their four-legged friends, such as rattlesnake bites, heat illness, and contact with unfriendly desert plants. In addition, desert-dwellers should be aware of the higher chance that their dogs have of contracting valley fever. This illness attacks the respiratory system, causing a cough, fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Untreated, valley fever can affect the neurological system and cause seizures, eventually becoming fatal. To mitigate the risk for your dog, you should visit the vet’s office regularly and understand why this infection is so common in your home state.
Valley fever is caused by a fungus in the soil.
There are many misconceptions about how valley fever spreads. Both people and pets can get valley fever, but they cannot spread the disease to each other. Valley fever is contracted through contact with a fungus that naturally lives in the soil. When dogs dig in the dirt, they might inhale fungal spores that then begin to attack the immune system. Symptoms will generally appear about 2 weeks after contact with the fungus.
Valley fever thrives in the heat.
The majority of valley fever cases in the United States are diagnosed in Arizona and California, because the fungus that causes the disease thrives in the dry heat. It is most active during the months of June and July, so you should be extra vigilant about monitoring your pet’s health during the summer.
Increased city growth has valley fever rates spiking.
Though valley fever is not spread from dog to dog, there is a growing population of pups in the Phoenix valley that have valley fever cases rising.
At Horizon Animal Hospital, we can help you stay alert to all the health concerns your pet may face in Scottsdale. We are open 7 days per week, so call us to schedule an appointment today at (480) 800-4559.