Pet Parenting

My Dog Has Valley Fever...Now What?

Here are common treatment options and supplements for dogs with Valley Fever.

man sitting on bench making phone call next to dog

If you have seen a veterinarian and your dog has been diagnosed with Valley Fever, treatment options will vary depending on your situation. There are several anti-fungal drugs typically prescribed for Valley Fever cases, as well as some additional treatments you may be able to use. Here’s what you need to know about treatment for Valley Fever in dogs.

How long will my dog need treatment?

If your dog requires intervention from your veterinarian, treatment typically lasts 6-12 months. It’s imperative that you follow your veterinarian's prescriptions strictly and do not stop treatment until advised to do so, even if your dog is feeling better. Titer tests are usually performed every few weeks by veterinarians to monitor your dog’s liver and determine when medication can be stopped. If the disease has reached the nervous system, your dog may require treatment for life. Infection in the bones, blood, and other parts of the body may also warrant longer treatment.

How soon will my dog feel better?

Dogs tend to feel better within the first two weeks of treatment, but you should continue medication until your veterinarian deems it safe to stop. If your dog is not feeling better, even with treatment, you should contact your veterinarian who may modify the dosage. Do not change the dose on your own.

Are there side effects to treatment?

The most common side effects associated with Valley Fever drugs are loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea. The drugs are metabolized by your pet’s liver and often lead to increased enzymatic activity which will need to be monitored by your veterinarian. Oral Valley Fever drugs can also affect fetuses if taken by a pregnant dog. Puppies with a mother treated for Valley Fever may have birth defects so medicine should only be taken by pregnant females when benefits for the mother outweigh the risks for the puppies. Less common side effects include lightening or thinning of coat, dandruff, excessive drinking and urinating, and sores on the skin.

What kind of supplementary treatment is recommended?

Veterinarians often recommend supplementary treatment to help dogs feel better while the fungal treatment targets the infection. Cough suppressants may be used to relieve persistent coughing often associated with Valley Fever. Since many dogs lose their appetite with anti-fungal drugs, nutritional supplements may also be used. Dogs who are very resistant to eating may need cooked meat or other special modifications. Severe cases may even require a feeding tube or additional medicine to help with nausea. Check with your veterinarian before feeding your dog supplements or changing their diet.

What else can I do to help my dog feel better?

Additional therapies for your dog during treatment may include vitamins such as Vitamin C to help with stomach acidity. You may want to look into options to strengthen your dog’s immune system and consult your veterinarian. Keep in mind that the disease could relapse at a later time, but the best thing you can do is follow your veterinarian’s recommendations. Try to remain calm because your dog reacts to your energy, and find ways to minimize anxiety you both may have.

The anti-fungal drugs your dog needs may cause side effects, which can be addressed with supplements and diet changes. Most dogs improve within two weeks, but the disease can also relapse.

Learn about Anivive's work to end Valley Fever.