We are all familiar with the several symptoms of valley fever in dogs. We usually administer a titer for valley fever to every patient, a typically easy treatment. As with everything concerning cats, valley fever treatment can be challenging. The clinical symptoms of lymphoma might range from weight loss and mass lesions to numerous enlarged lymph nodes. Other possible symptoms include respiratory difficulties, abdominal distension, vomiting, and diarrhea. Cats are believed to be more unsusceptible to illness than dogs, but they are often more resistant to therapy.
Survival and reproduction of the soil-dwelling fungus Coccidioides immitis are contingent on a specific set of environmental conditions. It flourishes in locations with sandy, alkaline soils, hot temperatures, little precipitation, and low altitude. This is a widespread occurrence in various global areas. This fungus is found mostly in the Sonoran living zone of North America, which encompasses the southwestern United States, Mexico, and portions of Central America. In the United States, Coccidioidomycosis is most prevalent in southwestern Texas, southern California, and Arizona.
Animals and people are susceptible to illness after inhaling soil fungus. Initial respiratory disease results from the inhalation of C. immitis spores. Eventually, the disease spreads to other bodily areas, notably the eyes and skin. Infections may less frequently impact the bone or nervous system.
Dogs are less resistant than cats to this infection. Consequently, feline infections are typically less severe. Most infections develop after 1 to 3 weeks of inhaling the fungus; however, the fungus can remain dormant for three or more years before manifesting infection signs. The severe form of the disease is more common in cats with compromised immune systems. Click here to learn more about this disease.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
The most common symptom of coccidioidomycosis in cats is the presence of draining skin sores. In contrast to dogs, draining skin lesions are not necessarily followed by bone involvement. Cats frequently experience fever, weight loss, and loss of appetite. In contrast to dogs, cats rarely exhibit respiratory problems.
The diagnosis is based on the patient’s medical history, symptoms, chest x-rays, organism identification, and blood tests. Typically, veterinary radiology can indicate a specific pattern in the lungs. A small sample can be collected and examined under a microscope to identify the fungus if a skin lesion is draining.
If a biopsy or a sample from a draining lesion cannot be used to make a diagnosis, blood testing to detect circulating antibodies to Coccidioides is commonly conducted as a heuristic. Complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry evaluations of red and white blood cells and organ function are advantageous in the majority of cases.
Coccidioidomycosis is often treated with an antifungal medication taken orally at home. Signs of disease progression or improvement and adverse drug reactions should be recorded during this period. Vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss, respiratory problems, and weight loss must be reported to a veterinarian promptly.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
The key component of the preventative method is avoiding known locations with Coccidioides in the soil. To reduce the odds of your pet contracting this disease, you should take extra precautions near animals with immunosuppressive illnesses or taking immunosuppressive drugs.