If you live in the southwestern United States, you may have heard of valley fever, but do you know how common and serious this disease is in dogs? In recent years, the western United States has become hotter and drier. But those aren’t the problems plaguing the region, there’s also Valley Fever. Valley fever is an infection from a fungus that is known to live in the southwestern United States. If you are considering traveling or moving to this part of the country, you need to know about this disease to protect your dog. And if your dog suffers from valley fever, how to activate with him is the most beneficial way? Here’s your guide to dog valley fever. (Check more for feeding dogs, activities to do with dogs outdoors, limit activity in dogs with valley fever, activities to play with dogs, and best activities to do with dogs in https://loobani.com.)
What is Valley Fever?
Valley fever is a serious medical condition caused by the fungus Coccidioides. The scientific name for Valley Fever is coccidioidomycosis. And it’s also called San Joaquin Valley fever or desert rheumatism. The term “Valley Fever” usually refers to Coccidioides infection in the lungs (this is called primary Valley Fever), but the infection can spread throughout the body and affect a wide range of body systems (this is called disseminated Valley Fever). So, the Valley Fever can be divided into two separate forms: primary Valley Fever and disseminated Valley Fever as above.
Where is Valley Fever Found?
The soil-dwelling fungus is known to live in the soil in the Americas. More specifically, it has adapted to survive in desert climates and is widespread in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, some parts of northwestern Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. It has also been reported in south-central Washington State. Infection rates vary from country to country, and not all factors contributing to infection rates in an area have been identified. Valley fever tends to occur in certain seasons.
What are the Symptoms of Dogs in Valley Fever?
Once the spores are inhaled into the lungs, they develop into larger structures called spheroids. In a healthy adult dog, the dog’s immune system will isolate the organisms in the spheroids and no further problems will occur. In these cases, the signs of disease are usually very mild, and often the dog does not even show obvious signs of disease.
But if your dogs are young puppies or senior dogs, their weak immune system may not be able to defend the fungus and had them spread throughout the lungs or other organs in the body.
If the valley fever is limited to the lungs, that it is a primary disease. Signs of primary valley fever include a harsh, dry cough, fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, etc.
Sings of primary Valley Fever can be summarized as:
- Dry Cough
- Loss of appetite
If the valley fever has disseminated or spread to other parts of the body, that means your dog is having a disseminated disease. Bones and joints are most often infected, and claudication is the most common symptom. Joints may become swollen and painful. Other symptoms may include loss of appetite, depression, persistent fever, and weight loss. Infection may occur in the eye, causing inflammation and sometimes blindness. In rare cases, the fungus invades the brain and causes seizure activity.
Sings of disseminated Valley Fever can be summarized as:
- Swollen, painful joints
- Loss of appetite
- Persistent fever
- Weight loss
Why Dogs Infect Valley Fever?
Two fatal factors may cause Valley Fever. They are seasonal and activity factors. The rain will activate the Coccidioides fungus and the activity like digging from dogs will get the fungus spread into the air and be inhaled by dogs or other species. Once the spores are inhaled into the lungs, they develop into larger structures called spheroids. However, not all dogs will get Valley Fever, for dogs with weakened immune systems due to age or potential illness, severe disease may develop, making both very young puppies and senior dogs more susceptible to Valley Fever. In this case, paying more attention to the activities to do with senior dogs and activities to do with small dogs is especially important.
Even this disease is not contagious, which means it cannot be transmitted from person to person, nor can it be transmitted from people to animals, but still, Valley Fever is hard to prevent. People and dogs that are under the high risk of having Valley Fever should avoid the places that are having too much sand and dust or reduce activities in dangerous areas. Then we back to the theme of this article: should I limit dog activity with valley fever?
As a supplement, you should increase your indoor activities to do with your dog. You can choose to play with loobani interactive dogs toys (https://loobani.com) with your dog or have frisbee or play little balls at home.
If you still need outdoor activities to do with your dog, please be sure go to somewhere with good quality air or have a clean environment.
How Do Dogs Infect with Valley Fever?
This disease is often found in humans and has been isolated in dogs, cattle, horses, deer, mules, elk, apes, American camels, tigers, wallabies, kangaroos, bears, badgers, otters, fish, and marine mammals. People can get a fever by inhaling fungal spores through the air. However, most people who breathe in the spores don’t get sick. Dogs seem to be very vulnerable to valley fever, probably because they are sniffing the ground and digging in the dirt, having the potential to inhale large amounts of spores at a time.
Like many fungi, the fungus Coccidioides has a complex life cycle. It takes two different forms, relying on whether it is on the earth or has already entered the host animal. When it is in the soil, it exists as a mold. During periods of drought, the mold goes dormant in the soil and can remain dormant for long periods. Once the rainy season arrives, the fungus grows and produces long filaments of mold that contain infectious spores. These tiny spores are easily spread in the air when the soil is disturbed by wind or by construction, farming, or digging. If the spores are inhaled, they will transform into a yeast-like organism that infects the lungs. And that is why dogs that sniff the ground and dig in the dirt tend to be at a high risk to suffer from Valley Fever.
How to Treat Your Dogs in Valley Fever?
Owners can choose to have their dog treated clinically or with natural remedies. The course of action will depend greatly on the extent of the infection. In the case of clinical treatments, these are usually prescribed by a veterinarian if the disease has spread widely. Treatments including oral antifungal medications (which need to be given for 6-12 months), cough suppressants, analgesics, and steroids are usually used to treat severe cases of valley fever. The use of medications and high levels of unnatural substances can cause side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. As a result, many dog owners opt for more natural methods to cure their dogs of the disease. The core of natural methods is to boost your dog’s immune system. To boost the immune system, maintaining a moderate amount of exercise and monitoring your dog’s eating habits are the most important. Although you are supposed to limit the outdoor activities in the harsh environment, you still can have lots of fun activities to do with your dog indoors or somewhere with fresh air and a clean environment. (In here https://loobani.com you can find more about outdoor activities with your dog, exercise activities to do with your dog, exercise and activity dogs with chemotherapy, how to keep a dog active with busy work schedule, what to do with an active dog, and things to do with an active dog.)
For owners who cannot afford expensive treatments, there are also alternative natural remedies that you can try to help your dog against Valley Fever. However, if you are trying to treat the infection using only natural alternatives, you need to make sure that you are consistent in your approach. There may not be money involved in the process, but it will cost you the time and effort that you need to be prepared to invest.
All dog owners should value their dog’s life as much as they value the lives of their family members. Once your dog is sick, you should make sure that they are properly cared for. You shouldn’t even think about the idea that your dog becomes useless once they get sick. The truth is that you are the only person your dog will have in their life, so you must make sure that you will be there for them when they need you.