If you currently live in the southwestern United States, you may be familiar with Valley Fever. According to local NBC affiliate Channel 12 News, the Arizona Department of Health Services stated, “Arizona accounted for 65 percent of Valley Fever cases reported nationally in 2014.”
When the spores are in a dog’s lungs, they will transform into larger structures called spheroids, the center said. Now, if your adult dog has a healthy immune system, he may be able to fight off the disease. The immune system will create a wall to ward off the organism in the spheroids. The dog will still be infected but only with mild symptoms that may not show signs like illness.
Apparently, valley fever has two forms: primary disease (affects only the lungs) or metastatic disease (the fungus spreads to other organs). With the initial illness, an affected dog can present with a “harsh dry cough, fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy or depression,” said the VCA. Meanwhile, the bones and joints become infected with the metastatic disease, causing them to become swollen and painful.
The brain may also become infected, but this condition is rare.
However, treatment is available for dogs with valley fever. Owners can treat the disease by asking for cement for prescription medications such as ketoconazole, itraconazole, and fluconazole. Depending on how bad the infection is, treatments can last for 6 to 12 months. Or even for life if the fungus has invaded the nervous system, according to the VCA. Once an affected dog begins treatment, he can show signs of recovery within one to two weeks.
TGen’s website said all dogs — affected or unaffected — were welcome to participate in the study.
H/t to NBC 12 News
Featured image via age_of_the_sage / Instagram
Sources: NBC 12 News, The Bark, EurekaAlert!, VCA Animal Hospitals, tgen