Treatment of Valley Fever in Dogs
The causal agent of valley fevers is known to thrive in alkaline desert soils. This agent belongs to the coccidioides species of fungi. According to experts, these organisms populate the soil southern Arizona and Nevada. Apart from these, places such as Texas, northern Mexico and Central and South America, are also known to harbor these organisms. Perhaps due to the origin of these organism in these regions, the condition is known as valley fever. Activities like farming, wind, construction and anything that causes the soil to disrupt, propel the fungi and make them airborne. They make their way into the body through the lungs, eventually causing a full blown infection. Symptoms of Valley Fever in Canines
The symptoms do not show until about 3 weeks after the animal has been infected by the fungi. For dogs who have a compromised immune system, the symptoms, however, tend to occur immediately. Common signs and symptoms which might indicate your pet suffering from valley fever include:
- A cough that never seems to stop. The cough may be accompanied by phlegm.
- The animal may have a fever higher than 102 degrees F (38 degrees Celsius).
- The animal might show a feeling of general fatigue and tiredness.
- Appetite may reduce with time
All these symptoms might be mild initially, but with the condition left untreated, these may become more apparent and pronounced. For instance, the dog may develop such a poor petite that he may lose weight severely. Treatment Measures
The condition is diagnosed with the help of blood tests, X-rays of the animal's joints and chest, and by knowing about the symptoms the animal has been exhibiting off late.
An early detection of the infection provides a better prognosis as it gets to the brain, then the animal would have to be on medication for the rest of its life. The treatment involves the use of antifungal medication, which is directed to be mixed in the animal's food, and administered twice a day. It may go on for 6 - 12 months. The medication may come in the form of capsules. Also, the vet may prescribe other medicines to deal with pain, cough, fever and lack of nutrition. The prescribed drugs must be used diligently until tests confirm the blood to be free of the canine valley fever antibodies. For this, regular follow-ups with the vet is recommended.
Most canines respond well to treatment, and have a full recovery within a few weeks. However, some may experience side effects like nausea and poor appetite. One good thing about those canines who survive this fungal infection is, they develop a natural immunity to the infection for the rest of their lives.
Although there is no proven way to prevent valley fever in dogs, owners can reduce the risk by keeping their pets from dusty regions as far as possible, particularly from digging the soil. And more importantly, if they notice any unusual symptoms in them, then they should report the matter to a vet immediately; the sooner the better.
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