On Monday, May 13, 2013, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition aired a very informative segment entitled, “Cases Of Mysterious Valley Fever Rise In American Southwest”. Valley Fever (aka San Joaquin Valley Fever and coccidioidomycosis) is spread by tiny spores that live in the soil and when they are disturbed, they can be inhaled into the lungs. It is definitely a tragic and sometimes fatal fungal disease we live with regularly here in the Southwest.
What the report did not mention was that companion animals – especially dogs – can also contract Valley Fever. In fact, Hemopet’s rescued greyhound blood donors are all screened for it routinely – even if negative when they arrive from Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma – because it can recrudesce from lying dormant in tissues and bones and return to the blood stream and be detected once more.
Another excellent article was also recently published by San Luis Obispo’s newspaper, The Tribune, titled, “Changing climate raises valley fever risk” on this infectious disease.
Resources for Pet Owners
The University of Arizona’s Valley Fever Center for Excellence Dr. Cindy Holland, veterinarian and Valley Fever expert is at Protatek Labs in Arizona. Dr. Patricia Conrad at University of California Davis is also a veterinary Valley Fever expert.