Valley Fever (Coccidiodomycosis)
This is the most severe and life-threatening of the systemic fungal diseases. Coccidiodomycosis is found in dry, dusty parts of the southwestern United States, and in California and neighboring Mexico. This is not the same disease as coccidiosis, a disease caused by intestinal protozoa.
Affected dogs will often have a chronic cough, weight loss, lameness, and fever.
Infection occurs by inhaling spores. Most cases are subclinical or inapparent. A severe form affects the lungs and produces acute pneumonia. If the disease becomes systemic, it may involve the long bones (most common), liver, spleen, lymph nodes, brain, and skin.
The diagnosis can be made by identifying the organism - Coccidioides immitis - in cytology, biopsy, or culture specimens.
Coccidiodomycosis can be treated effectively using one of the imidazole group of antifungal angents. Prolonged treatment for up to one year is required to try to prevent recurrence. However, relapses are common.
Please contact your veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have this condition.
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