At East Valley Animal Hospital, your friendly local vet serving Gilbert, Mesa & Chandler, we believe that the best way to keep your furry friends happy and healthy is to stay informed and bring your pet in regularly for preventative care. If you’re a dog owner in Arizona, you’ve likely heard of Valley Fever. Since this disease affects both humans and dogs, it’s important to understand its symptoms and be able to identify the signs of infection.

What is Valley Fever?

Valley Fever is caused by a fungus found in soil primarily in the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico. When soil containing this fungus is stirred up by wind, digging, walking, or farming, fungal spores can easily become airborne and inhaled into the lungs where the disease begins to grow.

What Are the Symptoms of Valley Fever?

If you suspect your dog may have contracted Valley Fever, look for these symptoms to help determine whether to schedule an appointment for your dog at East Valley Animal Hospital:

  • A harsh cough
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low energy

These symptoms will usually present themselves about three weeks after the fungal spores have become established in the lungs. The primary disease is limited to the lungs, but if Valley Fever spreads outside of the lungs, it can then progress into a disseminated version of the disease. Older and weaker dogs are more vulnerable to this exacerbation.

What is the Treatment for Valley Fever?

When caught in a timely manner, Valley Fever can be treated with an antifungal medication. The treatment generally requires some time, potentially as long as 6-12 months to entirely eradicate the disease from the body. While this is a lengthy healing process, your dog will typically begin to feel better within one or two weeks. The good news is that Valley Fever is not contagious, and therefore cannot be spread between a human and a dog, or from one dog to another dog.  

The peak seasons for Valley Fever in dogs are between June and July, and October to November. In the event that your dog becomes infected, knowing the symptoms of this disease will help you identify infection in your dog and begin treatment as soon as possible. Early treatment is the best remedy to help your pup return to good health. East Valley Animal Hospital is your friendly local vet, and we’re here for you when it comes to any health concerns you have regarding your pets. Call us today to make an appointment!

Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst (7/21/2018)