The most common early symptoms of primary pulmonary Valley Fever
in dogs are:
Valley Fever in lungs and chest cavity of a dog
- weight loss
- lack of appetite
- lack of energy
Some or all of these symptoms may be present as a result of infection in the lungs.
As the infection progresses, dogs can develop pneumonia that is visible on x-rays.
Sometimes the coughing is caused by pressure of swollen lymph nodes near the heart
pressing on the dog's windpipe and irritating it. These dogs often have a dry, hacking
or honking kind of cough and the swollen lymph nodes can be seen on x-rays.
When the infection spreads outside the lungs, it causes disseminated
disease. The most common symptom of disseminated disease in dogs is lameness; the
fungus has a predilection for infecting bones of the legs in dogs. However, Valley
Fever can occur in almost any organ of dogs. Signs of disseminated Valley Fever
Valley Fever in bone
below knee of dog
- lameness or swelling of limbs
- back or neck pain, with or without weakness/paralysis
- seizures and other manifestations of brain swelling
- soft abscess-like swelling under the skin
- swollen lymph nodes under the chin, in front of the shoulder blades, or behind the
- non-healing skin ulcerations or draining tracts that ooze fluid
- eye inflammation with pain or cloudiness
- unexpected heart failure in a young dog
- swollen testicles
Sometimes a dog will not have any signs of a primary infection in the lungs, such
as coughing, but will only develop symptoms of disseminated disease, e.g., lameness,
seizures. Very few of the signs of Valley Fever are specific to this disease alone
and your veterinarian will do tests to determine that your dog's illness is Valley
Fever and to rule out other causes.
FAQ – Is Valley Fever contagious
from animal to animal or animal to human?
Valley Fever is considered a noncontagious disease. Even if multiple animals or
humans are affected in a household, each infection was acquired by inhaling spores
from the soil.
Coughing cannot spread it between animals or people. In the case of draining lesions,
the form of the organism in the fluid is not considered to be infectious to people
or animals. Nevertheless, such lesions are best handled by bandaging. Bandages should
be changed daily or every other day and discarded in outside waste containers to
minimize risk of contaminating the environment.
For immunocompromised persons living in a household with a pet that has a draining
lesion, it is best to consult your physician regarding this issue.