Canine Valley Fever is a disease that can affect dogs that live in the Southwestern parts of the United States. This disease is usually noticed in the desert regions of states that include Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California’s central deserts. Even though the dogs that catch canine valley fever do not generally lose their life, they can end up needing an extensive amount of specialized care and treatment.
Causes of Canine Valley Fever
A specific type of fungus that can be found within the soil of the desert floor is the culprit that is responsible for causing canine valley fever. When a dog noses around in the soil the spores can then be inhaled. Although the immune system of a majority of dogs are resistant to the infection these spores can cause, there are some situations where the animal’s immune system does not work nearly fast enough. In this case, the spores then begin to spread into the dog’s lungs, as well as the rest of the body. The result is the dog will probably start showing the signs and symptoms that are associated with canine valley fever.
Canine Valley Fever Symptoms
It is true that a dog’s lungs are the most common area of the body that will be affected, but it is a disease that can attack any area of the body’s tissue. Once the spores that have been breathed in begin to attack the lungs, the dog will begin to cough, loss of energy usually occurs, they can run a fever, and weight loss will also be noticed. When an infection of this nature is not caught in time, it can quickly turn into pneumonia. The further the disease is allowed to travel throughout the dog’s body, the sicker they will become. Canine valley fever that has progressed this much will generally lead to seizures, limbs that start to swell, lymph nodes that are swollen, and back or neck pain. Other signs that may also appear include such things as inflammation of the eyes and ulcerations on the dog’s skin.
Treating Canine Valley Fever
The most common form of treatment when a dog acquires canine valley fever is the use of anti-fungal drugs that will generally need to be taken for as long as 6 to 12 full months. Of course it can take quite a bit longer to treat this type of disease if it has already traveled to any of the dog’s internal organs, bones, or skin. In some cases it will be necessary to continue taking anti-fungal medications from then on. This is the most effective way to ensure that the infection does not return. Pain relievers and cough suppressants are other medications that your dog’s veterinarian may prescribe. This is simply to ensure that your pet remains as comfortable as possible when the symptoms flare up.
Once treatment has been started, most dogs begin feeling much better as early as one week after beginning medication. It may only happen in rare cases, but death does occur in some cases. Before treatment is discontinued, antibody tests will likely be done to make sure treatment is not stopped too soon, and is the best way to make sure your pet has the most successful outcome.
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