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Valley Fever, not Epilepsy

January 23rd, 2009 · 20 Comments

The last test results on Apollo came back positive for Valley Fever. In fact she said the test came back strongly positive, so it’s fairly serious.

Dogs in the Southwest get Valley Fever just like humans do, and as in humans usually just infects the lungs. But in some cases it will break out and infect other parts of their bodies. When it infects the brain it can cause seizures.

With treatment the prognosis is good, but he will be on expensive anti-fungal medication for at least a year and a half, and possibly the rest of his life.

I’m not sure if this is better than epilepsy, but at least there is a treatment.

Tags: Family Updates

20 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Heather // Jan 23, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Wow! Sorry about that.

  • 2 Richard // Jan 23, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    I’m not sure if this is good news or bad…. Is there any chance the disease can pass from him to humans? Are there any precautions your family needs to take?

  • 3 Donna // Jan 23, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    Shelbie (my first Sheltie) had Valley Fever. It caused a horrible fungus infection in her bowel and rectum that ultimately made her so sick I had to put her down. It seems you have found Apollo’s early, so I’m betting his prognosis it much better. How did Derek take the news?

  • 4 Donna // Jan 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    P.S. PetMeds…

  • 5 Jocelyn // Jan 23, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    poor baby… I hope he fells much better very soon.

  • 6 Daryl // Jan 24, 2009 at 8:32 am

    The vet said we don’t have to do anything to quarantine him.

    Valley Fever is not transmitted from host to host. It has to go through a phase where it is in the soil and produces spores. Only the spores from the soil can infect.

    Donna — what is PetMeds? If I Google it I get; is this what you were recommending?

  • 7 Donna // Jan 24, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Yes, they advertise as the cheapest way to buy pet medication. It’ll depend if it comes in a generic form, of course. My vet recommends a prescription renal failure dog food for Hollie and Hope, but petmeds does not discount it, so I buy it at the vet’s.

  • 8 Mom // Jan 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    How can he run so fast, and apparently feel so well? When I was working in TB, we had to differentiate between TB and cocci, as the symptoms are similar. This is not the best news we could have; I’m not sure that it is even better than epilepsy, although neither is one of the favorites.

  • 9 Daryl // Jan 25, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    As I understand it, the infection moved out of the lungs before they were seriously infected, into other parts of the body. Who knows what other organs are infected, but apparently the brain is.

    They measure the intensity of an infection by diluting the blood until the test is negative. 1:2 (half blood) is a marginal infection, while 1:4 is definitely infected. Apollo was 1:32, so that’s pretty significant. Untreated he will surely die of the disease, but with treatment the prognosis is good. We started him on his pills yesterday; two a day for at least a year, possibly the rest of his life.

    Donna, PetMeds doesn’t carry this particular drug. There are a couple of other pharmacies in town that I am going to check with before I resign myself to $50/month.

  • 10 Donna // Jan 25, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    I switched to Oasis Animal Clinic a few years ago as they were much cheaper than my last vet. Shop around, as they do differ.

  • 11 Don // Jan 25, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    What’s the drug Daryl?

  • 12 Mom // Jan 25, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Any problem getting the pills down him? Or does he take them like candy?

  • 13 Mom // Jan 25, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    Is there any suggestion that you should put something all over the back yard which might lessen the possibility of reinfecting him?

  • 14 Daryl // Jan 26, 2009 at 9:30 am

    The medicine is Fluconazole, in a capsule. We give it to him whole in a teaspoon of peanut butter. He eats it so fast he has no idea what’s inside.

    There are other, cheaper Valley Fever drugs, but this is the only one that will pass through to the brain. Fortunately it also has the fewest side effects (none, as far as I know).

    Mom, I don’t know about treating the yard. I’ll mention it to the vet next time I see her.

  • 15 Don // Jan 26, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Well, it does say he may become anorexic. 😉

    I haven’t heard of that drug but I sure do hope it fixes him. He’s such a beautiful dog.

  • 16 Jocelyn // Jan 30, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Is there any treatment you can put on the ground?

  • 17 Mom // Jan 31, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    We need an update! Has Apollo had any more symptoms? I know that he takes his pills with no problem, but now there is the salmonella problem with peanut butter, so be careful what brand you get.

    Does he cough. eat well, act tired sometimes when he hasn’t done anything out of the normal? Any more seizures? Are you exercising him the same as you were before you knew what he had? I’d kinda like an update on his condition. I know that it’s silly, but I think of him every day, and hope that the early diagnosis and treatment will do what it’s supposed to.

    I’d like to hold him in my arms and love him, but that isn’t a very practical idea!

  • 18 Daryl // Feb 1, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Apollo seems fine. He still takes his pill twice a day in peanut butter (a brand not on the recall list, of course).

    He hasn’t had any more seizures, or at least we haven’t witnessed them. He is alone all night and much of the day, so we can’t be sure.

    He doesn’t have any other symptoms, though it seems he doesn’t run quite as far as before. That could be my imagination, too. We still take him out 3-4 times a week for a long bike ride, and he is always enthusiastic. The vet said that as long as he doesn’t show other symptoms, such as fever or coughing, we should continue to exercise him.

    I looked around for cheaper pills but so far this is the best I can find. One pharmacy had them a little cheaper, but they were a long way away (Youngtown) and not worth the drive or shipping costs.

  • 19 Don // Feb 8, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Update on Apollo por favor.

  • 20 Daryl // Feb 10, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Apollo seems about the same. No more seizures, and he seems frisky enough. He takes his pill eagerly embedded in spoonful of peanut butter.

    The vet said we should check his Valley Fever level again in about 3 – 4 months, probably April sometime.