Valley fever is caused by a fungus that is found only in North and South America. In the environment the fungi grow in soil, and can be inhaled by mammals, including people and dogs. Other than exceptional circumstances, valley fever is not transmissible. Valley fever symptoms are similar to other illnesses and this complicates diagnosis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the number of reported human cases of valley fever in the US, including Arizona and California, average approximately 10,000 per year.

Awareness of valley fever is low, especially outside southern Arizona and California's Central Valley. This results in lengthy time to diagnosis, and delayed or unnecessary treatment (antibacterial/antiviral) resulting in increased health care cost and patient stress. Disease burden in the US is increasing and the geographic range is expanding, so public and clinical outreach is critical.

It is known that disease manifestations of valley fever are highly variable. Some infections are asymptomatic, whereas other infections result in patient mortality. We hypothesize that there is a host genetic basis to valley fever susceptibility. To answer this question, we will use genetic information from our pet dogs to understand the following question: Is dog breed correlated with the possibility of developing a severe disease?

You can help be part of the solution to solving this mystery!

We need data for both affected and unaffected dogs living in or traveling to areas where they may be exposed to the fungus that causes valley fever. Because we need data for dog breeds that are potentially exposed but don't get sick, please help us by reporting breed specific information on dogs that DO NOT have the disease. Your information will be used to understand breed specific risk for disease. Please provide as much information as you can.

We may contact you if your breed is found to be among the more susceptible breeds for further study.  If you have any question or comments on this survey, please contact us at ValleyFeverPAWS@tgen.org

 

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