Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis) in Dogs


What is Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis)?

Coccidioidomycosis is a typical fungal infection in the southwestern United States, such as southern California, Arizona, and southwestern Texas. The sandy and alkaline soil in these locations make these locations the best breeding premises for Coccidioidomycosis to endure and replicate. In reality, Coccidioidomycosis is likewise called Valley Fever since of the quantity of those contaminated originating from the valleys of southwestern California. It just takes about a lots small spores of Coccidioides immitis to contaminate your canine simply by breathing in the dust in these locations. This fungal infection can be moderate to serious, with the serious kind being harmful. Dogs who are really young, old, or have a weakened body immune system are more prone to the serious signs.

Fungal infection (Coccidioidomycosis), which is likewise known as Valley Fever, is generally brought on by a dimorphic fungi (Coccidioides immitis) in the canine’s environment, such as the soil. This fungal infection can trigger severe breathing problems, breathing infections, swelling of the lymph nodes, and uncomfortable sores or ulcers. The locations of southwestern United States, Central America, Mexico, and South America all have actually been known to harbor this fungi in the soil.

Signs of Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis) in Dogs

The indication of Coccidioidomycosis can differ depending upon whether your canine has a moderate or serious infection. The more Coccidioides immitis spores that your canine has actually breathed in, the more serious the infection and the even worse the signs will be. The age and health of your canine are likewise elements in how severe the infection will be. There are dogs that do not get any indications of infection at all besides drowsiness and anorexia nervosa, some that have simply a moderate infection comparable to the influenza, and after that some dogs might get pneumonia. If your canine is going to have any signs at all, you will see them roughly 7 to 21 days after he is exposed to Coccidioides immitis spores. While the most typical indication of Coccidioidomycosis fungal infection is a dry cough, there are a lot more signs if the infection spreads (disseminates) into the rest of your canine’s body and bones. The indications that the fungal infection has actually spread out are:

  • High body temperature level
  • Hacking or gagging when consuming
  • Loss of weight
  • Hunger loss
  • Severe exhaustion
  • Weak Point
  • Limping
  • Lymph node swelling under the mouth, shoulder, or knees
  • Pneumonia
  • Sores with seepage
  • Abscesses over contaminated locations of bones
  • Swelling of legs
  • Apparent discomfort in back or neck
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Swelling of the eyes
  • Inflamed testes


  • Moderate infection consists of a minor cough and possibly some fever
  • Serious infection (Shared) can consist of lots of problems such as high fever, swelling of the legs, eyes, and testes, pneumonia, paralysis, seizures, and even cardiac arrest

Reasons For Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis) in Dogs

The reason for Coccidioidomycosis is direct exposure to Coccidioides immitis spores. Given that the spores are a fungi that lives outdoors in southwestern locations of the United States, Mexico, South, and Central America it is essential that you do not let your canine invest a great deal of time outside around these locations, specifically where there is dust. The very best way to avoid this is to supply ground cover (i.e. mulch, turf, gravel) in the locations where your canine might go to avoid dust. Here are some other pointers:

  • Discover if there are any break outs of Coccidioidomycosis in the location
  • Keep your canine inside most of the time
  • Dissuade your canine from digging and smelling the ground
  • Avoid taking your canine outside if it is hot right after it rains

Medical Diagnosis of Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis) in Dogs

Your vet will require to provide your canine a comprehensive physical exam consisting of heart rate, high blood pressure, and body temperature level. The vet will likewise require to understand when the signs began, your canine’s case history, and any modifications in cravings, activity, or habits. A variety of tests will require to be finished to identify if your canine has Coccidioidomycosis.

  • Total blood count (CBC)
  • Blood chemistry panel
  • Urinalysis
  • Stool sample
  • Digital radiographs (x-rays) of the chest, bones, and joints
  • Cocci test  (likewise called cocci serology, cocci titers, or Valley Fever test)

If tests are unfavorable, however your vet still believes Coccidioidomycosis, these tests will require to be duplicated in one month. The vet might likewise choose to run some more tests to aid with medical diagnosis such as fungal swab from tissue samples, biopsy of cells, fluids, or tissues to try to find fungi and CT scan or MRI.

Treatment of Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis) in Dogs

If you capture the health problem early and get your canine dealt with right now, there is a great chance of healing with among the 3 most typical oral antifungal medications:

  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)
  • Fluconazole (Diflucan)

Some dogs have the ability to recuperate within a couple of weeks of treatment, however the medication must be continued for the total of time your vet directs, which is generally about 6 to 12 months. If your canine has a serious case of shared Coccidioidomycosis, the treatment will likely be a lot longer. In reality, some dogs will require a life time treatment of the medication.

There are some adverse effects of each of these medications, which are:

  • Fluconazole (Diflucan) is the most typical medication utilized for Coccidioidomycosis since it is simpler on the liver and it has the ability to deal with the brain and eye tissues that are in some cases contaminated. The adverse effects of this drug are dry coat, loss of hair, dandruff, extreme drinking, extreme urination, and an unfavorable result on the kidneys. If your canine has actually had any kidney issues, your vet will likely keep the dosage as low as possible to avoid damage to the kidneys.
  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral) was the very first substance abuse on Coccidioidomycosis and is still utilized, although it needs to be utilized in combination with vitamin C to be taken in. It likewise has actually been known to trigger high liver enzymes, absence of cravings, queasiness, throwing up, diarrhea, lightening of the coat, and infertility.
  • Itraconazole (Sporanox) is the greatest drug for Coccidioidomycosis and might be utilized in serious cases. This drug has the greatest danger of indigestion, increased liver enzymes, skin responses (i.e. ulcers, abscesses, dermatitis, loss of hair), and it needs to be administered with food, which is challenging if your canine has no cravings. Your canine might require to be hospitalized so the vet can expect bad responses for the very first 24 to 48 hours. 

Your vet might likewise recommend cough medication to ease your canine’s coughing, discomfort medication, anti-inflammatories, and an unique diet plan.

Healing of Fungal Infection (Coccidioidomycosis) in Dogs

Most dogs (over 90%) that get treatment early will recuperate within a couple of weeks, and will continue to improve with continued long-lasting medication. If your canine has actually serious shared Coccidioidomycosis, the opportunities of healing are secured due to the damage to the lungs or brain. If that holds true, your canine might require surgical treatment to get rid of the harmed tissue and be on medication for life. Around 80% of dogs with shared Coccidioidomycosis recuperate if dealt with early with among the oral antifungal medications.

The very best possibility of healing for any kind of Coccidioidomycosis is to be sure to follow the guidelines provided to you and continue to follow up with your vet.

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