Our Charlie dog got very sick!
After ruling out trachyitis and a sprained ankle the Vet decide to test him for Valley Fever. Sure enough Charlie has it! he started with a cough, then started limping about a month later. During that time his appetite decreased and he was grumpy! We could tell he was hurting and unable to bare weight on his left back leg. We didn't realize that he was running a temp the whole time and that a fungal infection was growing in his lungs and had already spread to his joints. If left untreated or not caught soon enough, the infection would spread to his spine and brain. In that case the disease is fatal.
We hope that we caught Charlie's illness in time, but only time will tell. The Vet said he could easily be on meds for a full year to his whole life. Currently, he takes an anti fungal, anitpyretic and anti inflammatory. We are hoping that he continue to show signs of improvement. And, in the mean time wanted to share this information with our friends and family.
The following article is taken from: http://www.vfce.arizona.edu/VFID-home.htm
Yes, dogs get Valley Fever! Like people, dogs are very susceptible to Valley Fever. Dogs primarily contract Valley Fever in the low desert regions of Arizona, New Mexico and southwestern Texas and the central deserts of California. Dogs accompanying people traveling through these areas or wintering in these warm climates have about the same chance as their owners of being infected.
Dogs comprise the majority of Valley Fever cases in animals.
Valley Fever is caused by a fungus that lives in the desert soil in the areas described above (Del Rio). As part of its life cycle, the fungus grows in the soil (saprophytic cycle) and matures, drying into fragile strands of cells. The strands are very delicate, and when the soil is disturbed - by digging, walking, construction, high winds - the strands break apart into tiny individual spores called arthroconidia or arthrospores. Dogs and people acquire Valley Fever by inhaling these fungal spores in the dust raised by the disturbance. The dog may inhale only a few spores or many hundreds.
Once inhaled, the spores grow into spherules (parasitic cycle) which continue to enlarge until they burst, releasing hundreds of endospores. Each endospore can grow into a new spherule, spreading the infection in the lungs until the dog’s immune system surrounds and destroys it. The sickness Valley Fever occurs when the immune system does not kill the spherules and endospores quickly and they continue to spread in the lungs and sometimes throughout the animal’s body.
About 70% of dogs who inhale Valley Fever spores control the infection and do not become sick. These dogs are asymptomatic. The remainder develop disease, which can range from very mild to severe and occasionally fatal.
After talking with friends I have found three people who's dogs have had Valley Fever. They all have live on base. Another guys wife got Valley Fever and nearly died from it.
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