Hazel has recently become rather ill.
CAUTION: The following is offered by way of information reaching out to other loving dog owners. Please do not assume I have any specialist veterinarian knowledge and please do not take the following as a replacement for seeing your own vet.
The story of how this wonderful dog came into our lives was published over two years ago.
About three or four weeks ago we noticed that Hazel’s bark was changing, almost as though she had a sore throat. In every other way she continued being the happy, lively dog that she is.
Then very suddenly last Thursday she started sicking up white, foamy bile and went off her food. Hazel rapidly became lethargic and lacking any vigour. Last Friday we took Hazel to our local Lincoln Road Vet Clinic and she was seen by Dr. Russ Codd, DVM. He took xrays that showed that Hazel’s lungs were far from being as clear as they should be. Potentially, Dr. Codd said that we could be looking at one of three things:
- Some form of bronchial pnemonia,
- A fungal infection of the lungs,
In view of the fact that Hazel hadn’t been coughing that ruled out 1.
Dr. Codd forwarded the xray pictures to a specialist. Later came the information that the spherules in her lungs, as seen on the xray pictures, were not as would be expected with a cancer diagnosis. Dr. Codd concluded that Hazel was indicating a fungal lung infection. Especially as this is commonly found in hot, drier parts of the USA and Mexico. Hazel was an ex-rescue from Mexico and for a couple of years we lived in Payson, Arizona.
The medical term for the disease is Coccidioidomycosis and I republish a little of what may be read over on the Pet MD website:
Coccidioidomycosis in Dogs
Mycosis is the medical term for any disorder caused by a fungus. Coccidioidomycosis comes from inhalation of a soil-borne fungus which normally affects the dog’s respiratory system. However, it is known (even likely) to spread out into other body systems.
The fungus spores begin in the lungs as round spherules, and live in a parasitic stage in the lungs until they grow large enough to rupture, releasing hundreds of endospores, which then begin a parasitic stage in the tissues, growing and rupturing, spreading out (disseminating) into the body perpetually. Endospores can also take a faster route through the body by way of the lymphatic and blood vessel systems, resulting in systemic infection — meaning the entire body will be affected. Coccidioidomycosis sets in from 7 to 20 days after exposure, though some dogs can develop immunity and never show any symptoms, especially younger dogs.
Dogs that are susceptible to the infection can become ill from only a small amount of the Coccidioides fungus, and fewer than 10 fungus spores are needed to cause the disorder. And though uncommon, Coccidioidomycosis is a deadly disease that originates mainly in the arid, hot regions of the western and southwestern regions of the U.S., and in several Central and South American countries. Coccidioidomycosis affects many different types of mammals, but tends to occur more commonly in dogs than cats. This infection is also known as valley fever, California fever, Cocci, and desert fever.
The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this disease affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.
Dr. Codd recommended getting Hazel on a course of antibiotics with Fluconazole being his first choice. That commenced on Friday afternoon.
Early today (Monday) Dr. Codd will be seeking to narrow down the diagnosis with further analysis of Hazel’s blood being undertaken because while he was confident that it is a fungal infection he wanted to confirm precisely the nature of the infection.
I will publish more information as it comes to hand and close with these photographs taken yesterday afternoon.
We are holding Hazel very close to our hearts just now.