Signs & Symptoms
of Valley Fever

More than 60% of people infected with Valley Fever don't know it. They may experience mild flu-like symptoms or no symptoms at all and recover with no medical diagnosis or treatment.

When symptoms are present, they generally show up between one to three weeks from exposure and inhalation of the fungal spore. Symptoms may by similar to those of other common illnesses.

Pneumonia-like symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Chest Pain
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Coughing Blood

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Profuse Night-Sweating
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Weight Loss
  • Headache
  • Muscle and Joint Aches
    (often in ankles and knees)
  • Painful Red Bumps that Turn Brown (often on shins and forearms)
  • Skin Lesions
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff Neck
  • Central Nervous System Disturbances

If you, a friend, a loved one or a pet experience any of these symptoms, contact your doctor or vet and ask to be tested for Valley Fever. Valley Fever can only be determined by a laboratory test ordered by a doctor.

Treatment of
Valley Fever

In the majority of cases, the immune system is able to control the infection on its own. In those persons, treatment may be unnecessary, and infection produces an immunity that protects them from future infections for the rest of their lives.

For people or pets that do need treatment, there are antifungal drugs that can be given orally or by vein to control the fungus and its symptoms. In cases where Valley Fever has created abscesses in the skin, lungs, bones or joints, surgery may be required to remove or drain infected areas. While the antifungal medications or naturally developed immunity can control an infection, there is presently no cure for Valley Fever.

Valley Fever in Dogs and Other Pets

Valley Fever can affect dogs and cats.

How Does Valley Fever Affect Your Pet?

Animals contract Valley Fever the same way people do-by breathing in dust spores contaminated with fungus. They also experience similar symptoms and require the same treatment as humans to effectively fight off the disease.

Dogs make up the majority of cases but other pets can be affected as well; cats, horses, llamas, cattle, sheep and even zoo and native animals have been diagnosed with Valley Fever. The most susceptible dogs are older in age (at least six years), walked in the desert, spend 80% of their time outdoors, or live on lots greater than an acre.

In most cases, pets can make a complete recovery, sometimes on their own or in other cases with the needed help of antifungal drug therapy. An early diagnosis is important to prevent the disease from progressing within the lungs, or spreading to other parts of the body.


  • Skin Lesions
    (most common symptom in cats)
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Irregular Breathing
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Depression
  • Lameness


Diagnosis and treatment in pets is very similar to humans. If your pet is experiencing symptoms and you and your vet determine it may have been exposed to Valley Fever, general blood tests, X-rays of the chest, bones and joints, and a specific Valley Fever blood test will be completed first. If a diagnosis can't be made, more in-depth testing may be required. Sometimes Valley Fever is missed in its earliest stages but shows up on subsequent tests.


Within a few weeks, most healthy pets recover from Valley Fever without medical treatment and are immune for life. Support treatments such as cough suppressants, pain and fever reducers and other nutritional supplements may be used to relieve symptoms while your pet is recovering. Antifungal drugs are also used when needed.