Definition of Valley Fever in Dogs
“Valley Fever” is the common name for coccidioidomycosis, which is an uncommon but extremely severe and potentially fatal disease caused by Coccidioides immitis. This fungus thrives in the hot, dry, dusty areas of the deep southwestern United States and in parts of Central and South America. It normally lives in a dormant state several inches down in dry soil. After a good rainfall, the fungi come back to life and spread by wind and dust storms. Earthquakes, building demolition, land construction projects and other things that cause substantial soil disruption can also trigger release of the fungi. Dogs can get Valley Fever by inhaling just a few of the highly infectious fungal spores. Many infected dogs never actually get sick. However, those that do can become seriously ill, developing breathing problems, cough, weakness, lameness, weight loss, severe pain and seizures. This disease can be fatal.