Over the last year the Vet Care Team has noted some strange cases involving Arizona’s own disease, Valley Fever. In general, everyone living in Arizona inhales the VF spores because they are stirred up by our sometimes impressive winds. If your immune system fights it off you do not develop the disease. It works the same way in dogs. We had gotten used to the primary source of infection being the lungs because of the fact that the spores enter the body by breathing. In general the symptoms of VF include:
- weight loss
- lack of appetite
- lack of energy
We have run across 6 cases in which VF appears to have bypassed the lungs. Vets who have done chest x-rays report no sign of lesions or other lung damage. One of the girls with a “pristine” chest x-ray and a VF titer of 1:258 ( as high as they can measure it ) was observed jumping over lawn furniture while chasing rabbits! No lack of energy there.
What has been seen in several of those cases is that the dogs are developing bone lesions on their legs. Vets instantly seem to worry about bone cancer first but VF is a lot easier to treat. We can only recommend that when you bring your dog in for its annual checkup that you have the VF test done. It is well worth the cost to catch it early.
A special word to the adopters of our International Dogs: Valley Fever does not exist in Turkey, South Korea or Guadalajara, Mexico. Your dogs have no natural immunity to VF if there even is such a thing. Therefore, it is even more important that you inform your vet of where your pet came from and begin the VF testing regimen at their first annual checkup.