6571 E. Tanque Verde Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85715

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Valley Fever: What It Means for My Pet

Many of our clients have been asking us, “What is Valley Fever?” It’s been all over the news and affecting pets in the west and south. Tanque Verde Pet Hospital is committed to keeping our clients informed and educated about the hot-button issues in veterinary medicine. Here are the facts that you need to know about Valley Fever.

What is Valley Fever?

Valley Fever is a fungal disease. Because it is caused by the fungus Coccidiodes immitis, its proper name is coccidioidomycosis. You may also hear Valley Fever referenced by some of its other names which include California disease, desert rheumatism, or San Joaquin Valley Fever.

Which Geographic Areas are Most Affected by Valley Fever?

The desert areas of the country are most affected by Valley Fever. Unfortunately for us, Arizona has cases reaching epidemic levels, while other areas that are also affected include:

The most dangerous times of year are June and July, as well as October and November.

Species Affected by Valley Fever

Valley Fever can be spread to humans as well as the following animals:

Concern for your domestic animals is very important as dogs are extremely susceptible to this disease. It is thought that their tendency to sniff the ground and dig in the dirt potentially exposes them to more spores at a time.

How is Valley Fever Spread to Others?

Contact with the spores themselves is what causes the spread of the disease. Usually when a human or animal breathes in the fungal spores, they will be infected. Thankfully the disease is not spread by contact with an infected animal or human.

Signs and Symptoms of Valley Fever

At first, the disease is contained in the lungs and signs and symptoms will be a dry harsh cough, a fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and depression. Symptoms appear approximately 3 weeks after infection.

Later, if the disease has spread to other parts of the body, symptoms will include sore and swollen joints, lameness, pain, and weight loss, in addition to the earlier symptoms.

What Treatments are Available for Valley Fever?

Valley Fever must be treated with anti-fungal medications. Treatment will often last from 6 to 12 months, though the symptoms will begin to improve after a couple of weeks. Because these medications can be damaging to the liver, your veterinarian will often recommend periodic blood tests and will keep tabs on your pet’s health throughout treatment.

More Questions About Valley Fever?

We’re sure you may have more questions about Valley Fever, whether you’re wondering how it’s contracted or how it’s treated, and the veterinary team at Tanque Verde Pet Hospital is here to assist you with all your pet care concerns. Please contact our team and we’ll be happy to assist you.

6571 E. Tanque Verde Rd. | Tucson, AZ 85715

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