Over the past few years, the number of reported human cases of the fungal infection coccidioidomycosis, or Valley Fever, has increased in Los Angeles County and throughout the southwestern United States.
Several animal species are susceptible to this infection, but serious infections are generally only seen in dogs, cats and primates. Animals and people may become infected when they breathe in dust from dry soil that is carrying the fungus.
The most common symptom in dogs is coughing, but may also include low appetite, limping, enlarged joints, fever and possibly diarrhea. Cats get infected less often, but may have skin problems (abscesses, draining lesions), fever, low appetite, and weight loss from the infection.
This past year, Veterinary Public Health partnered with the Acute Communicable Disease Control program, which monitors human health in LA County, to determine if animals were contracting this fungal infection in the same areas as people were.
In early 2007 Veterinary Public Health requested that LA County veterinarians begin to report confirmed and suspected cases of Valley Fever in animals, primarily in dogs. Between March 2007, and June 2007 the office has received 12 reports of infection in local pets (11 dogs, 1 cat), with the cases occurring between September 2005 and May 2007. Although most of the reported animal infections were from the Antelope Valley, a few reports were also received from the San Fernando Valley.
Veterinarians are requested to report any confirmed or suspect cases of Valley Fever by faxing a completed
Coccidioidomycosis Reporting Form to Veterinary Public Health. Contact our office at 877-747-2243 if you have any questions.
Coccidioidomycosis in humans
Valley Fever in Animals in Los Angeles County
Animal Coccidioidomycosis (Valley Fever) Reporting Form
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