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Qestions about VF in Dogs

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Joined: 26 Jun 2009
Posts: 2
Location: Houston, TX

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 4:21 am    Post subject: Qestions about VF in Dogs Reply with quote

Hi all -

My sweet girl Holly has Valley Fever.

We now live in Houston & it is so rare here that it went undiagnosed for several months while we went from vet to vet, including the Texas A&M vet teaching hospital - 8-10 regular vets have seen her case, plus a team of specialists at A&M, and an internal medicine vet in Houston FINALLY figured it out.

At any rate, this went on for so long that the VF is very severe and in multiple organs. They are talking about many thousands of dollars to treat her, with a very low chance of recovery and permanent damage to multiple organs & joints. We have already spent several thousand just trying to keep her alive since December with recurring pneumonia and various other problems.

We have decided not to put her through a prolonged attempt to treat this with such a low chance of recovery.

My problem is- she'll be down for 3-4 days and refuse to get up. I have to force water down with a turkey baster or child's dosing syringe. Just when I think "ok, it's time for her to go in to the vet," she'll decide to get up and walk around, wag her tail for a day. Her temperament still is not her old self - she doesn't want the kids or any other dogs around (she has always loved the kids & been friendly to everyone). She's continuing to lose weight & coughs non-stop. The only people she wants around her now are me & my mother-in-law (the mother she adopted for herself!).

Yesterday she was up & around and even jumped up into the back of our SUV (shock! She wouldn't walk or eat for the 4 days previous to this!). Today she is limping heavily, and not doing well. She moved into the room where I am now & won't get back up.

I don't want to put her to sleep too early, but I don't want her to suffer any more than necessary. We have her on aspirin twice a day to keep her fever down (otherwise it runs extremely high and she shakes nonstop from it) - I first thought the moving around might be related to whether she had aspirin or not, but she's getting the aspirin regularly and the walking is very sporadic.

Is VF on-again, off-again with some of the symptoms, especially the lameness?

What has surprised me about all this is that our family lived in Kern County, CA for 2 years, several years back. I was pregnant during this time & had a 2-year-old & we had two dogs - none of us ever had any problems, and we still have one of the dogs we had then. Holly wasn't with us then. Now we've been out of the 'danger' zone for many years, and then we have a dog get this during a one-day trip through an affected area while we were moving here from Colorado. Basically, one bad choice of a potty stop for the dogs. (The dog we had when we lived in California is extremely elderly now, a 12-year-old Saint Bernard, if you can imagine - and she didn't get it. The healthy, active 5-year-old dog did.)

It's very sad and we've had a very hard time with it all. I know some of you won't understand our decision not to treat, but we've had to weigh finances (we still have two small kids to take care of, too) against her possible future quality of life & chances of survival. We've already almost lost her a couple of times.

I guess I'm wondering about the progression of this, how to know when to draw the line. Part of me thinks I should already - with the constant fever, non-stop coughing, lameness, refusal to eat & drink. If it weren't for her sudden rallying yesterday I wouldn't be so confused.

I appreciate your input -

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claudia c

Joined: 27 Jun 2007
Posts: 478
Location: seattle washington

PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2009 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Wendy, I just want to say how sorry I am your sweet Holly is sick. I don't have any experience with pets having VF...only myself. However, I love all animals and want you to know I will say a prayer for Holly. I hope others on this board might be able to respond. Best wishes, Claudia
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Joined: 26 Apr 2008
Posts: 32
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a heart wrenching situation you are in...Although I have never had a dog with VF, I have had to put down my share of beloved family pets due to illness/old age. It is hard to know when the "right” time is. Is she able to go outside to use the bathroom? In some cases that was the deciding factor for me as I could almost see the look on my dog's face when he no longer could control himself and basically told me, it was time. From what you describe, it does sound like she has many more bad, suffering days than good, and that her situation is terminal. You may have to look inward, and listen to your heart and your head, to decide when the best time is for her. Above all, do not feel guilty with your decision, as your concern is what is best for her and your family. With our pets, I made sure all the kids got to say goodbye before we took them to the hospital.
Sorry I could not give you more specific answers relating to the VF, But I too have a sweet dog named Holly and I felt a bit of a connection with your story.
Best Wishes, Jo
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Joined: 23 Jun 2011
Posts: 32
Location: Mesa, az

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:45 pm    Post subject: IM sorry Reply with quote

Im sorry to hear about your dog. We put our beloved ginger down 2 weeks ago because of Valley Fever. It had progressed to her brain to the point where she could no longer stand and had a bloody nose. Bloody noses seem rare in dogs except for cancer.

My dog had lameness in back legs, difficulty breathing, weight loss, and eventually she would become dizzy and would not get up. Our vet misdiagnosed Valley Fever and gave her a strong steroid and antibiotic which in the end caused the VF to spread alarmingly fast. The steroids made her 1000% worse, to the point where we had to end the suffering in her.

If she is still wagging her tail and was able to jump into the back of your SUV, don't give up hope. Make sure she is still eating and give her some canned dog food. Get her on antifungal meds asap. Fluconazole for our dog was only 25 dollars for a month treatment, and it may be 4$ at walmart pharmacy. If it gets worse, do the right thing. I cried for days after my dog got put down, its the hardest thing in the world to do, but they call VF the canine plague for a reason.
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