Treatment of Valley Fever in Dogs

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Once a diagnosis of valley fever has been made, treatment with fluconazole is started. Fluconazole is an anti-fugal medication that targets the membrane of susceptible fungi including Candida, Cryptococcus, Histoplasma, Coccidioides and Blastomyces. It penetrates tissue much better than its predecessor, ketoconazole. Fluconazole is excreted through the kidneys. Adverse reactions include vomiting, diarrhea and nausea. In rare cases, liver toxicity, skin reactions and decreased platelets have been reported. Most dogs with valley fever will need months of treatment with fluconazole. I recommend regular blood tests to monitor liver and kidney function as well as platelet levels.

Other medications that can be used for valley fever include ketoconazole, itraconazole and amphotericin B. I rarely use these medications because fluconazole works well with the fewest unwanted side effects.

Sources:
-Brooks, Wendy. Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis), The Pet Health Library, VIN Published 9/26/07 and reviewed in 12/1/09.
-Plumb, Donald. Veterinary Drug Handbook, 4th Edition, Iowa State Press.

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.

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