Friday, September 20, 2013

Angel has Valley Fever

Valley Fever is a fungal disease common to Arizona and a few other dry areas.  It is said that you have either had, or will have, Valley Fever if you live in Arizona long enough.

For most people, it presents as a mild bout of the flu and they are subsequently immune to the disease.  But it can be severe or deadly in people with compromised immune systems.

Or animals.

It is a disease I am uncomfortably familiar with.  My Lhasa Apso, Rags, got it when he was 13 and died from complications of the disease.  The disease can attack different systems in the body.  Rags suffered from liver failure.

So when Angel started to cough, I was concerned.  We were at the vet anyway to have a fatty tumor checked out.  Just a fatty tumor, thankfully.  When I mentioned the cough, the vet suggested a Valley Fever test.

In case you wonder, why not just get a VF test every time you're at the vet?  It's not an inexpensive test -$125.  And Angel had been checked 5 months ago when she seemed lethargic.

The results take a couple days.  When it was the vet that called, I knew it was positive.  If the techs call, the test is negative.  It's a mild case - 1:8, where the scale goes all the way up to 1:256.  But it is still necessary to treat her with fungicide twice a day for three months - at minimum.  And she is not good at taking pills.
Valley Fever isn't contagious.

Bogie had to have been exposed at the same time as Angel, probably during a recent wind storm.  So I had him checked as well.  The tech called with his numbers - 1:2, exposure, but no symptoms.  I do recall a couple days when he didn't seem to be himself.  So maybe that was his bout of Valley Fever.

We got Angel's pills on the 11th.  You can't get them at CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart.  They have to come from a compounding pharmacy.  Luckily there is one close to my vet.

I'm worried because Angel is coughing more often than before. Nine days out of a three month regimen isn't a lot, but I expected her to not get worse.

Called the vet with the concern and said yes, she may get worse before she gets better.  But they are preparing a prescription for antihistamines for her.

Valley Fever - the scourge of Arizona.

Wikipedia Link
CDC page

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