A few months ago, she started limping on her left rear leg. Additionally, she was not eating, seemed depressed, and often times appeared confused. Her veterinarian determined her leg was not broken or sprained, but maybe had a pulled muscle. He prescribed anti-inflammatory and pain relief medication for 2 weeks. About 3 weeks later, she was not improving, so back to the vet. The options were x-rays or blood tests. Blood was drawn and the test turned out positive for Valley Fever.
After a couple of weeks taking Fluconazole, an anti-fungal medication, the leg is much better. Maggie started eating normally and seemed herself.
The point is that the symptoms can be misleading and there needs to be better awareness of this disease that can infect some pets and humans.
Valley Fever is prevalent in desert climates, particularly in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Northwestern Mexico, and parts of Central and South America. The infection occurs by breathing-in the spores. Susceptibility and severity of the symptoms depends on the genetic make-up of the pet or person.
The majority of pets and humans that contract Valley Fever recover without treatment. In fact, many cases are never diagnosed because the symptoms are not always severe.
Some of the symptoms are harsh dry cough, lack of appetite, weight loss, lethargy, a fever, or depression. In some cases, it can spread to other parts of the body. The joints and bones may become swollen, enlarged and painful.
Treatment will be required for 6-12 months. If the fungus invades the nervous system, the dog may require anti-fungal medication for life.
Often time’s veterinarians do not think about Valley Fever as a possibility for a dog’s mysterious ailment. Keep this in mind if puzzled by some aspect of your dog’s health.