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Phone: (602) 686-5081 • Email: [email protected]

Blogs by Dr. Pamela Dragos, DVM

An ongoing series of informational entries

Our First Blog Entry

May 14, 2021

VALLEY FEVER CAUSES DEBILITATING ILLNESS IN AZ DOGS


What is Valley Fever?

Valley Fever is a fungal infection caused by the Coccidioides organism. Coccidioides species live in the soil. They multiply during the rainy season. When the ground dries, the fungal spores are released into the air. Soil disruption during storms, construction, excavation or digging, will hasten the release of the spores into the environment. Infection occurs when these fungal spores are inhaled into the lungs.


What are the Symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs?

Symptoms of Valley Fever in dogs can occur 1 week to 3 years after inhaling the spores. Initial signs can range from minor coughing and sneezing to full blown pneumonia. The most common symptoms are fever, lethargy, inappetence, weight loss, cough, swollen glands, and joint pain or limping. More severe symptoms include bone swelling, seizures, skin abscesses and organ failure.


What Veterinarians do for Dogs with Valley Fever?

Veterinarians commonly diagnose Valley Fever with blood tests and x-rays along with consistent physical exam findings and a history of being in an endemic area like Arizona. Occasionally, there are false negative blood tests, making the diagnosis of Valley Fever tricky. Conventional treatment consists of one of the prescription azole drugs such as Fluconazole. Treatment generally takes at least 9-12 months.


What you can do to prevent Valley Fever in your dog?

Prevention consists of making sure your dog has a healthy immune system. Regular exercise, fresh food, clean water, adequate sleep as well as mental stimulation, stress reduction, and avoiding pesticides are some of the keys to good health. Supplements that support the immune system include medicinal mushrooms, astragalus, ginseng, schisandra, and ashwagandha.


What do you do if your dog is diagnosed with Valley Fever?

If your dog is diagnosed with Valley Fever, you should go back and make sure you are providing your dog with the foundations of good health in order to optimize your dog's immune system. Your allopathic vet will likely prescribe prescription antifungals. You can also give your dog a medicinal mushroom blend. It is important to use a product that contains the mushroom fruiting body along with the mycelium. Myco Herb MycoForte is a nice product. Dragon Flower Herbs Canine Valley Fever Support is a custom herbal tincture formulated for dogs that have Valley Fever. It contains a blend of immune modulating, anti-inflammatory and antifungal herbs. It can be used with or without conventional treatment. 


Please consult with your Veterinarian if you think your dog has Valley Fever.

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