Arizona Dogs: Valley Fever Cases Riseby Karyn Zoldan on Aug. 05, 2011, under Animal News, Dogs, Canines, Fun with Fido, Barking Encouraged, Pet Health & Safety
From the Humane Society of So AZ press release
In light of recent dust storms sweeping through Phoenix and surrounding areas, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona urges pet owners to be extra aware of the risks of canine Valley Fever.
A common fungal infection of the lungs, Valley Fever is contracted by inhaling microscopic spores that thrive in the arid soils of the southwestern United States. “We have very favorable conditions for Valley fever here in Tucson, given our climate,” explains Dr. Karter Neal, Medical Director at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. “In fact, Valley Fever is the most common chronic infectious disease we deal with here at the shelter.”
It is estimated that 1 in 25 dogs in the southern Arizona region will be sick with Valley Fever each year.
Although non-communicable and relatively easy to diagnose and treat, Valley Fever can be quite serious and, as of yet, there is no vaccine to protect you or your pet from contracting the disease.
Early symptoms seen in the initial stages of Valley Fever in dogs include dry, harsh coughing, a fever of over 102 degrees Fahrenheit, a lack of appetite and lethargy. If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms it is recommended that you visit your veterinarian immediately. If left untreated, symptoms can become more severe, resulting in lameness, weight loss and even seizures.
Although there is no preventive vaccine for Valley Fever, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona recommends taking some precautions to reduce the risk of your dog contracting Valley Fever. If possible, make your dog an indoor pet. Provide ground cover, such as gravel or grass, in your back yard to suppress dust. And provide a nutritious diet to bolster your dog’s immune system.
Valley Fever infections are more likely to occur during certain seasons. In Arizona, the highest prevalence of infection occurs through June and July and from October through November. Awareness of your dog’s overall health and behavior and proactive care can make recovery much faster and more successful.
For more information regarding Valley Fever in dogs, consult your veterinarian or contact the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at (520) 626-6517 or visit the website.
(Photo is courtesy of the HSSAZ. Ethel was previously featured in the Adoptables column and has since found her forever home.)