Valley Fever symptoms in our dog

Our Arizona Veterinarian informed us that our dog has Valley Fever, coccidioidomycosis.  This article is to share the information and facts we learned about Valley Fever fungus.  Our dog is on Valley Fever antifungal medicine,  and his prognosis looks good.

the same dog as Wishbone
our dog has valley fever

What symptoms made us visit the veterinarian?

  • Our dog was eating well but losing weight.
  • A few times I caught our pet crying as though he were in pain.
  • Something just seemed off with our dog
Coccidioides is a fungus
Valley Fever is a fungus

Canine valley fever originates in a dog as it inhales the coccidioidomycosis fungal spores. These fungus spores are usually found in dirt and in arid areas of the desert. Once inhaled, valley fever spores grow and multiply very rapidly at the first available point in a dog’s body, the lungs.

Symptoms of coccidioidomycosis, valley fever, usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure to the fungus.

Common Symptoms of Valley Fever in Dogs and Cats

  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Lameness
  • Dry or moist cough
  • Bone swelling/joint enlargement
  • Extreme weight loss with muscle wasting
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

Most fungi are harmless, but some types like Valley Fever can make you sick.  The map below shows areas of the United States that have common cases of Valley Fever in humans and animals.

Valley Fever map
locations where Valley Fever fungus is found

The fungus spores of Valley Fever begin in the lungs until they grow large enough to rupture, releasing hundreds of endospores.  These numerous spores begin a parasitic stage in the tissues and disseminate into the animal’s body.  The Valley Fever Fungus can spread to the organs.

The immune system does have the capability to fight off the Valley Fever infection before symptoms can even be realized, but it requires an exceptionally strong immune system to do so.

valley fever in canine lungs
fungus in a dog’s lungs

According to the University of Arizona, about 70% of dogs who inhale Valley Fever spores control the infection and do not become sick.  The Valley Fever infection can range from mild to severe.

Canine Valley Fever will begin to affect the dog’s joints if the condition continues to progress.  It is very sad when the infection of Valley Fever is so severe in the bones that an animal can no longer move its arms or legs.

joint with Valley Fever fungus
dog’s bone below the knee joint with Valley Fever fungus

It is very important to continue medicating your dog as directed until the veterinarian confirms that the blood tests are negative and tells you to stop medication. If you stop treating Valley Fever too soon, symptoms may recur.  Some animals will have to remain on the anti fungal medication for life.

life cycle of valley fever
life cycle of valley fever

Is Valley Fever contagious from animal to animal, human to human, or animal to human?
NO.  Valley Fever is considered a non-contagious disease. Even if multiple animals or humans are affected in the same household, each Valley Fever case was acquired independently.

Recently, I felt swollen glands on our other dog.  This week we took him to the doctor for Valley Fever blood tests and x-rays.  Already our heart is heavy with our little dog being infected and I can’t yet imagine how crushed we will be if our other dog comes up positive.

our dogs at the Veterinarian
Shadow and Trigger for their checkup

A Valley Fever vaccine is under development. Here’s hoping it is developed soon and may be available to prevent Valley Fever or make it very mild.

Labrador Shepherd mix
our black Labrador

The Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona is the only academic research institution in the world focused on the study of Valley Fever.

 

 

 

What insect looks like a green leaf? – true katydids – leaf bugs

Those green bugs that look like leaves are called true katydids.  Katydids enjoy all the leafy plants in our front yard.  We were so close to this wondrous green bug that we observed its mouth and eyes moving.

green leaf bug
Green bug that looks like a leaf

The British often call these leaf insects bush crickets.  Katydids or bush crickets are in the family Tettigoniidae.  They are not grasshoppers, katydids are related to crickets.  Grasshoppers have shorter antennae while family member tettigoniids have very long antennae.

katydid leaf bug
green bug that looks like a leaf

Katydids, True Katydids or Northern Katydids are insects that really do not like to fly!  To avoid danger they may leap out of a tree and parachute to the ground.  Katydids will walk to a vertical surface and start climbing.

The most common color of katydids is leaf green.  As a matter of fact, this bug is a master at camouflage with veins on its wings that look just like leaves.  Katydids eat flowers, stems and leaves of plants.  Some species will even eat other insects.

katydid
katydid green grasshopper like bug

Many species are commonly found throughout the southern part of the United States. These bush crickets, katydids are most active at night.

green katydid
green leaf insect – katydid

True Katydid species come in a variety of sizes from 1 to 4 inches.  Their antennae can be two times the length of their body.

katydid
True Katydid also called Bush Cricket, Northern Katydid

Male and female katydid sounds are made by rubbing their wings together to produce a song that is used as part of the courtship.  It sounds a bit like your fingernails moving across a comb.

green and pink katydid insects
true katydids are bugs that look like leaves

Interesting fact:  The Katydid’s hearing organ, tympana, ears, are on their front legs.

katydid
katydids look like a leaf insect

click on the short youtube video to hear the sounds of the katydid bugs

The life cycle of the katydid goes through three stages of development:

  1. egg
  2. nymph
  3. adult

The katydid egg is laid in the fall and hatches in the spring.  It will hatch as a nymph.

katydid nymph
katydid nymph, baby

The katydid nymph looks like the adult but without wings.  It will shed its skin several times as it becomes an adult.  The lifespan of the katydid is about 1 year.

young katydid baby
young katydid nymph

You may be the lucky few who get to see the rare pink katydid.  The lack of dark pigment, melanin, is the major difference between the pink and the green katydids.

pink katydid
rare pink katydid insect
pink and green leaf bugs
Pink Katydid with a green katydid

Melanin, is the same pigment that makes a panther black.  Like the pink katydid… would the lack of pigment make it similar to a pink panther?  No wonder The Pink Panther was bad at hiding; he had no camouflage!

 

Snowflake is Arizona’s — Little House on the Prairie

The quaint, little town of Snowflake is located in northern Arizona.  Snowflake was founded in 1878 by two families.  The Snows and the Flakes; hence the town name.

1800 architecture in arizona
historic buildings in Snowflake, AZ
Snowflake, Arizona country store
COUNTRY STORE in Snowflake, AZ  has all your necessities
Snowflake, AZ sign
Snowflake Arizona founded 1878

While we explored up and down most streets, we noticed many areas that reminded us of a charming New England neighborhood.

The town of Snowflake was first settled by Mormon pioneers, Mr. William Flake and Erastus Snow.

Horses in Arizona
Snowflake is in Navajo County, AZ

Gently nestled between Arizona’s Painted Desert to the north and the breathtaking White Mountains to the south is where you will find this charming town.

The elevation ranges from 5,580 to 5,790.  Free-range cattle and horses are seen roaming on open land.

town of Mr. Snow and Mr. Flake
Mr. Snow and Mr. Flake established this town in 1878

The town is a quiet getaway with only 5,000 residents.  Travelers can visit over 100 historic buildings and learn much of Snowflake’s history at the Pioneer Museum.

A note: if you plan traveling to this area:  the local police are very strict with the speed limit We learned the hard way.

museums in Arizona
with historical museum in Snowflake, AZ
northern arizona towns to visit
Snowflake, Arizona
live off grid in Arizona
pioneer spirit in Snowflake, Arizona

I asked a long time resident, “What do you like about Snowflake?”  Without hesitation he said, “Snowflake, Arizona is a Community of Communities.”   “Christians, Farmers,  Environmentalists, Mormons, Homesteaders, etc… all have a place in Snowflake.”

small town with farms in arizona
Snowflake in Northern Arizona

Winter temperatures can get as low as -5 at night but always warm up during the day. There is no shortage of sunshine and many homes are powered by solar energy.

snowflake, az pictures
country homes in Snowflake, AZ

Several of our relatives live in the Snowflake area.  Their reasons for homesteading here are simple:

  • the air has very little pollution
  • living Green and off the Grid
  • warmth during the day and cooler temperatures at night
  • love of friends and nature
  • Valley fever fungus & mold are no problem
  • peaceful lifestyle
  • affordable acreage

Off the Grid living is very familiar to Snowflake and Taylor, Arizona.  Solar and wind powered homes are commonplace.

solar power in Snowflake Arizona
less pollution in Snowflake, AZ

Spring can get windy with gusts over 60mph and that can be a challenge.  Being prepared can help.  The average rainfall is approximately 12 inches a year, received mainly during the summer monsoon.

Snowflake has a sister town, Taylor, bordering it on the south, and these two communities have grown together.

land in snowflake arizona
Snowflake, AZ has dry climate

Other than a mild rise along the edges of the valley and a few sudden pointy hills, the surrounding terrain is pretty flat.  The dry climate makes it difficult for large-scale farming but it is not uncommon to see fields of corn and alfalfa.

towns close to show low arizona
small country town of Snowflake, AZ

Heritage Inn Bed and Breakfast offers a taste of Snowflake’s small-town charm. The inn, a renovated Victorian home from 1890, offers 10 room choices.

Snowflake Arizona Bed and Breakfast
Heritage Inn Bed and Breakfast in Snowflake

We stayed at the Heritage Inn and were overwhelmed with the superb customer service.  Not to mention the delicious home cooked breakfasts!

EHS - electrical hypersensitivity
Snowflake rental homes for people with Environment Sensitivities

For people coping with Chemical and Electrical Hypersensitivity there is a MCS / EHS homesteading community in Snowflake, Arizona.  I’ve listed brief information and a link to their website below.

This website’s primary purpose is to give practical information for people with severe multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS/ES).  http://www.eiwellspring.org/arizonalocal.html

electrical hypersensitivity community
MCS / EHS community in Snowflake, Arizona

MCS and EHS are closely related illnesses, which together are referred to as Environmental Illness (EI).

Happy Arizona travels and we hope to hear about your visits to Snowflake!