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LindaH



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Currently traveling in Arizona

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:43 am    Post subject: New Here Reply with quote

I just found out about this site from someone who had read my blog about our having a dog with Valley Fever.

Maxx is a 13 year old Basenji who was born and raised in Arizona (we've had him since he was a puppy). We started fulltime RVing when he was 3 years old, and he's been all over the country with us, including 2 trips to Alaska. We usually spend the winters in Arizona.

In 2006, we were volunteering at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge which is 30 miles south of Burns, OR. He woke up one day with a straight tail (Basenji's have a tail that curl up over their back) and it remained that way all day long. When he couldn't jump up on the couch, we took him to the vet in Burns. We knew he wasn't feeling well because he walked around with a hunched back.

This all started in June and it wasn't until September that we finally got the diagnosis of Valley Fever when a vet in Sutherlin, OR did surgery on him to drain a couple of fluid-filled sacks and sent a tissue sample off to Colorado Veterinary Diagnostic Labratories. I'm sure if we'd been in the Southwest, Maxx would have been diagnosed much sooner, but because vets in the Pacific Northwest aren't familiar with Valley Fever (assuming they've even heard of it), they weren't looking for it.

Maxx has been on Fluconazole ever since...his titers are still high (1:3-something), so he may have to be on VF medication the rest of his life. Fortunately, he's doing well. When first diagnosed, he'd dropped from his usual 25# to just over 20#, but he's now back up to 25#. During all this, his appetite has remained good. We supplement his food with Cholodin and The Missing Link Plus...I found his biggest improvements came when I added this latter supplement. Basenji's can live to 16 or 17, so, hopefully, we'll have him for a few more years.
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Linda & Maxx, the Basenji
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Budster



Joined: 29 Dec 2004
Posts: 346
Location: Simi Valley, CA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum Linda, that was me (Jerry) who read your blog and sent you an email about this site.

You might also read the other sections here in case you or your husband get some symptoms that aren't diagnosed quickly. VF is a terrible disease for us and for our four legged friends. I can really feel sorry for them as they have no way of really telling us that they don't feel good. I hope Maxx continues to survive having VF.

cYa on the road
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Warm Regards,
Jerry

see my VF webpage here:http://www.budster.com/vf-01.htm
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kat



Joined: 30 Dec 2004
Posts: 912
Location: Creswell, Or

PostPosted: Wed Oct 29, 2008 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda,

I don't know if your Maxx would have been diagnosed any sooner if you were in the southwest. My brother, Max, was in Bakersfield area when he was misdiagnosed until I called and talked with his treating physician and told her to test him for Valley Fever. Even then she was wrong about his not having cocci meningitis. We finally found out weeks later that he had cocci meningitis. Doctors who live in endemic areas still don't have a clue what they are looking at. My brother died from this disease because they didn't test him early enough. I hope your Maxx has a better outcome.
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God Bless you and keep you,
Kathy
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LindaH



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Currently traveling in Arizona

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 6:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kat, please accept my condolences on the loss of your brother.

It might be that Maxx wouldn't have been properly diagnosed even if we were in Arizona when all his problems started (although we have a good vet here that we've been seeing for the past 5 years or so). And, to make matters worse, we were moving around from place to place and saw about 4 different vets for different problems that cropped up during the time his first symptoms appeared and the time when he was finally diagnosed with VF.

Strangely enough, Maxx has never exhibited any lung involvement, although we're pretty sure he has bone involvement. At any rate, even though his titers are still high, he's doing well, so we're keeping our fingers crossed.
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Jakelover



Joined: 14 Jun 2006
Posts: 29
Location: Arizona

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Linda,

I saw your post and I have a lab mix that had/has valley fever. He had a titer of 1:32 that actually went up to 1:64 while on treatment but then went down to 1:4. He stayed there for 6 months or so, so we finished treatment about a year after the start of it.

Several months ago he was exibiting some symptoms that aren't really related to VF and could be allergies but he hadn't had these symtpoms for a year so I went and had him retested and though his titers remained 1;4 they agreed to treat him again and oddly those symtpoms are gone.

I used Azmira products along with a lot of healthy food choices because I felt as long as he ate well his body would be strong enough to keep fighting.

My thinking is to be watchful and keep up the healthydiet/supplements/milk thistle to protect the liver and know that you may never acheive a perfect titer.

I wish you and Maxx the very best!
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LindaH



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Currently traveling in Arizona

PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thought I'd give an update to Maxx's condition.

Prior to Thanksgiving, Maxx developed a cough. When we took him to our regular vet in Quartzsite, AZ, he was prescribed Tetracycline and Vetmedin, which we assumed was just another anitbiotic. Maxx's cough cleared up right way, so we resumed our travels.

We were in Tucson, AZ when Maxx's cough returned. We took him to a vet here who prescribed more Tetracycline (and that's also when we found out the Vetmedin is for heart problems). After several days when Maxx's cough was no better, we made an appointment at Veterinary Specialty Center Tucson, a veterinary center that specializes in many different areas of animal care, but also includes the Valley Fever Center for Excellence.

After spending a small fortune having X-Rays, Ultrasound, EKG, and blood drawn for more blood tests (including anther VF titer), we found out that Maxx does have heart problems, most likely caused by the Valley Fever. We were prescribed a whole host of pills: a diuretic to get rid of the fluids around his heart and other organs, an ACE inhibitor, and an anti-arrhythmic because his heart beat isn't regular.

The vet talked to us about doing open heart surgery and some type of infusion that would be done 3 times a week for a total of 15 times...at $400 a pop, or $6,000 for all 15! Since Basenjis' normal life expectancy is 13 (although many live to be 16 or 17), and Maxx is already 13-1/2, we declined those options...we'll keep him as well and pain-free as possible with medications.

The pills, at least, are doing their job...within a day, Maxx's cough disappeared, although because of the diuretic, he's drinking up a storm and peeing copious amounts of urine! Smile Fortunately, he is able to make it through the night, so we haven't had to get up and take him out to relieve himself.

We have a follow-up appointment tomorrow when we'll get the results of his blood tests.
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