The sweet dog that has fainted in this video is my neighbor Rudy. He is a 7lb. toy poodle who celebrated his fifth birthday last week. Two weeks ago little Rudy started showing signs of a dry cough that sounded like he was clearing his throat. After a few days the cough escalated to a honking goose like hack that Rudy couldn’t stop. His family took him to the veterinarian where he received antibiotics and cough medicine. Three hours later Rudy began to lose his balance and then fainted.
Can you guess Rudy’s diagnosis?
Rudy and I live in the Southwest desert where pets don’t have to worry about many of the common problems seen in other parts of the country. We don’t have fleas or ticks because they can’t survive in our hot climate and we aren’t concerned about heartworm because there are no mosquitos.
However, from time-to-time we have a type of fungus that loves to grow in our dry and dusty soil. The spores from this fungus known as coccidioidomycosis can be inhaled by pets and humans and cause Valley Fever.
The spores enter the lungs and cause a severe infection. Rudy was unfortunate enough to get Valley Fever and it is attacking his central nervous system.
Symptoms of Canine Valley Fever:
Loss of appetite
Loss of weight
Pain in the neck and back
Swelling of limbs and lymph nodes
Ulceration of the skin
Inflammation of the eyes
Valley Fever is diagnosed through a blood test. Rudy spent three days in intensive care with the specialist who diagnosed his condition. Now he is back home and on anti-fungal and steroid medications.
The prognosis for dogs with Valley Fever is good, but treatment may take from 6 to 12 months to fully work. Some dogs may need treatment for the rest of their lives. The disease is most severe and life-threatening to puppies, senior dogs and those with other health problems.
Rudy’s pet parents, Curt and Alison, say they haven’t seen any “noticeable changes” at this point. So for now, they are making Rudy as comfortable as possible. They are minimizing his fainting spells, which are worse when Rudy lowers his head, by placing his water bowl at eye level and they are feeding Rudy while he sits in their laps to keep his head reaching upward.
Rudy is a tough little guy who happened to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time when the desert winds blew a spore into his lungs. We wish him a complete and speedy recovery.
Read more about Canine Valley Fever here.