Canine Valley Fever Symptoms

Canine valley fever symptoms are often very similar to symptoms which are attributed to other dog health conditions. The difference is that canine valley fever is often more dangerous than a typical cold or simply feeling under the weather. Although it's not usually fatal, the condition can progress to more serious health concerns, like pneumonia, and the symptoms will become more detrimental and more pronounced.

Canine Valley Fever

Canine valley fever originates in a dog as he inhales the coccidioidomycosis fungal spores. These spores are usually found in dirt and in arid areas of the desert. Once inhaled, they grow and multiply very rapidly at the first available point in a dog's body. The first site encountered by the spores will be the lungs, and infection most commonly starts there.

It is possible for the immune system to defeat this type of fungal infection on its own, but it is highly unlikely. The cocci spores spread quickly and once they hatch their offspring, they shed new spores which are then dispersed throughout the lungs. This allows more of the infection to produce.

Dogs that are most commonly infected with canine valley fever are puppies, older dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems. The immune system does have the capability to fight off this infection before symptoms can even be realized, but it requires an exceptionally strong immune system to do so.

With the rate at which the cocci spores reproduce and replicate, there is the very real possibility that canine valley fever can turn into pneumonia. A dog that contracts pneumonia as a result of canine valley fever will have a very hard time fighting off both infections, and treatment will need to be very extensive in order to be effective.

Canine Valley Fever Symptoms

The symptoms of canine valley fever in dogs do not usually start to surface until about three weeks post-infection. The exception to this rule would be dogs with extremely compromised immune systems, as well as puppies. In these situations, the symptoms will probably develop rapidly and can lead to a questionable health situation.

Under normal conditions, the symptoms will only be related to some mild respiratory annoyance. Some of the more mild symptoms of canine valley fever include:

  • Continuous hacking cough, sometimes producing phlegm
  • A temperature higher than 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • General fatigue and tiredness
  • Decreased appetite

As canine valley fever begins to progress and if treatment is not given, these symptoms will start to become more apparent and more pronounced. For instance, if a dog loses his appetite, chances are he is going to lose a severe amount of weight over time. Likewise, if a dog's fever spikes too high, he could fall into a coma or become unresponsive.

Canine valley fever will begin to affect the joints if the condition continues to progress. When this happens, a dog is likely to come up lame and may not be able to move his arms or legs, rendering him helpless. If this symptom is seen in a dog, it should be a very forthright warning sign that he requires immediate medical attention.