Many myths exist out there on the cause, diagnosis and treatment of Valley Fever. Read below for some truths about this disease.
A cough is not always present
If a layperson read a veterinary textbook they would see that one of the more common clinical signs listed is a dry, hacking cough. In fact, after seeing several thousand cases, I can tell you this is definitely not true. While a cough may be present in some dogs, many have no cough at all. The clinical signs between dogs very quite a bit. The only consistent sign which the majority of pet owners notice is lethargy, or in veterinary parlance, “doc he’s just not doing right”. Dogs that have an active valley fever infection do not have to have a cough.
Valley Fever is NOT contagious to other dogs or people
When a dog acquires a valley fever infection by inhaling the spores or from a contaminated wound (rare!), the organism can travel within the patient’s body, but DOES NOT pose a danger to other pets or people in the household. Period!
Living indoors does not protect your dog from Valley Fever
If you live in an endemic area (southern Arizona, New Mexico, San Fernando Valley) and spend most of your time indoors you are not safe from getting valley fever. The fungal spores that cause the disease are ubiquitous in the environment. By living in an area with valley fever, your dog is going to be exposed to the spores despite spending the majority of his/her time indoors.
Young dogs can’t get Valley Fever
I have seen dogs as young as a few months of age get diagnosed with Valley Fever, so have many other vets who practice in Arizona. If you’re told young dogs don’t get the disease you’re being lied to. Historically several breeds of dogs have also been cited as being more susceptible, however with the possible exception of the boxer, this doesn’t hold up under scrutiny from a review of the available literature.
Vitamin C helps treat Valley Fever
It doesn’t, no matter what you may be told. No literature or evidence supports the use of vitamin C as part of the treatment for valley fever. Anything to the contrary is false. It might not be harmful, but it doesn’t help.