travel Archives - Hot Diggity! Pet Sitting

In the Pacific Northwest there are many natural diseases hiding under rocks, in fields, or in puddles, waiting to get past our pets’ immune systems. However there’s one disease that we’re very fortunate to rarely ever encounter: Valley Fever. This special disease, caused by a fungus known as Coccidiodes immitis, is found in desert regions such as the American Southwest region including California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and more. While dogs and other pets living in the Pacific Northwest might not encounter the fungi here, many dogs are moved from high kill shelters in the Southwest to loving homes in the PNW, and sometimes those dogs have Valley Fever.

One such dog is a young Mr. Johnny Cash. Cash is a very sweet little white shadow of an Aussie who loves to be next to his person and is available for adoption from Deaf Dogs of Oregon at the time of writing this blog post. Cash was rescued from a high-kill shelter in the Southwest and discovered to have Valley Fever. To understand what that means for dogs like Cash, read on!

What is Valley Fever?

As mentioned before, this disease is caused by the fungus known as Coccidiodes immitis. This pathogenic fungus can and does most commonly infect humans, but it also can infect a wide range of other animals including cats and dogs. Dogs are especially susceptible because they like to sniff and dig in the soil which is where C. immitis grows. During the dry season, C. immitis exits in a dormant mode in the soil and is not infectious, but after a wet-spell the fungus grows long filaments of mold with infectious spores on the ends. When these spores are inhaled into living organisms they create yeast-like infections in the lungs.

Is Valley Fever contagious?

No. Valley Fever cannot spread from organism to organism. While in yeast-like form (when it has infected a living organism) it does not create the spores which are the only infectious part of C. immitis.

What does Valley Fever look like?

In healthy dogs and cats, their immune system usually isolates the fungus and prevents them from causing symptoms of the disease. Many infected animals don’t show any signs at all. However in dogs with weakened immune systems, including very young puppies and older dogs, these infections will grow too large for the immune systems to handle and can cause visible symptoms of the disease and infect other organs.

Valley Fever is classified into two diseases, the Primary Disease and the Disseminated Disease:

  • In the Primary Disease, the infection is limited to the lungs. About three weeks after infection symptoms such as a dry cough, fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy become apparent.
  • In the Disseminated Disease, the infection spreads beyond the lungs and infects other organs including the brain, bones, heart, and eyes. Often it affects the bones and the symptoms will then progress to looking something like arthritis. Dogs suffering will show signs of lameness or limb swelling. Other symptoms of the Disseminated version of Valley Fever may include wounds that don’t heal*, swollen lymph nodes, back or neck pain, seizures, inflamed and/or cloudy eyes, abscesses under the skin, and even unexpected heart-failure. Sometimes a dog may show no symptoms of the Primary Disease before showing symptoms of the Disseminated Disease.

Cash’s Valley Fever has infected his bones, but as he’s on regular antifungal medication the disease is not progressing further and is healing up. This does cause him to act like he has arthritis and be limited in movement, but this will go away when his infection does.

*Special note that if the dog does have open wounds that are oozing liquid, while the number of organisms shed in the liquid should be low (when receiving antifungal medication), this liquid may still contain fungus that could spore again and become infectious to humans and other creatures in the household. Therefore bandages should be changed daily and thrown away directly into outside waste containers to prevent sporing from happening in the house. Non-permeable surfaces can be cleaned with a diluted (10%) bleach solution. For most people and animals with healthy immune systems, there should be little to no risk even if a dog has an infected open wound, and the liquid oozing itself is not infectious since it does not contain spores. However households that have immuno-compromised members should consult with a doctor or a vet and follow their instructions on how to maintain a spore free home. (And once again, Cash does not have this problem and is NOT contagious.)

How is Valley Fever diagnosed?

In the Pacific Northwest, where Valley Fever is not native, you’ll need to let your veterinarian know the travel history of your new dog. If they then suspect that their symptoms come from Valley Fever, there are a few different blood tests that can be used to diagnose Valley Fever, along with x-rays of the chest or bones.

How is Valley Fever treated?

If your dog is sick enough to be seen by a veterinarian for Valley Fever, then the disease will likely need to be treated by extensive antifungal medications with courses usually lasting between 6 and 12 months. If the disease has progressed into the disseminated stage, then the treatment may be longer. The medication is easy to administer, it’s usually just provided orally in the form of pills or capsules twice a day.

For dogs with bone or joint pain or coughing, other medications may be prescribed as well to relieve the suffering from these symptoms.

If you have a dog with Valley Fever, you can still go on vacation no problem! Hot Diggity! Sitters know how to administer pet medications and will stick to your medication schedule to ensure your pet’s health while you’re away.

And to help out the new furever family of Cash, Deaf Dogs of Oregon is paying for a full year’s worth of medication (starting from when he moved up to Oregon, so about another 10 months left now)! So his new family won’t even have to worry about figuring out what medication to put him on or paying for it for several months and hopefully the majority of his treatment.

What is the prognosis for a Valley Fever infection?

With early detection and intervention, most dogs recover from Valley Fever. Even with the Disseminated Disease version of Valley Fever, more than 90% of dogs respond well to treatment and recover. Only a very small portion of dogs either need lifetime treatment or will die from the disease.

In short.

Valley Fever is a highly treatable disease that is common in dogs rescued from Southwest shelters. Left undiagnosed and untreated, it can become severe and dangerous to the dog, but when treated there is a high success rate of clearing up the infection. It is not contagious to humans or other animals, just painful and unpleasant for the infected pet. With love and care, as all pets need anyways, almost all dogs recover from this disease to live the rest of their lives happily and healthily.

So you can expect a lot of happy years with the lovely and sweet Mr. Johnny Cash if you adopt him!

And as an added help, Hot Diggity! will provide any family that adopts Cash 3 Free 30-Minute Walks to help transition him to his new home as well as a lifetime 10% discount on all of our services for all pets in the family.

To learn more about Cash, you can read about him here or just contact Deaf Dogs of Oregon and meet him yourself!

Oh, and are you worried about adopting a deaf dog? Don’t! Does your hearing dog really listen to you anyways? Just kidding. 😉 But really, deaf dogs are just like normal dogs and especially since most of them are Australian Shepherds, extremely intelligent and highly trainable. Plus when you adopt through Deaf Dogs of Oregon they’ll have already undergone some training from being in foster care and you get a free training session with a specialized trainer too.

Additional Reading:

Have you ever walked or driven down the street and noticed a stray dog nearby? We have too, so we put together this guide so you can help reunite a lost pup with their family.

Here are 14 tips to help ensure a happy ending:

  1. Assess the safety of the situation. You don’t know the medical history of the pet or how fearful they are of people or other animals, so be very cautious to watch their behavior to  avoid spooking them or getting nipped yourself. If the situation is an emergency, call 911. If it’s not quite an emergency, but you’re unable to help the dog, call your local county animal control services. For county resources, see below.
  2. If the situation does seem safe enough to proceed, be sure neither of you are in a position where trying to catch them will put either of you at risk of getting hit by a car. If you discovered the lost pet while driving, make sure you’re parked safely and legally.
  3. If they’re not dragging a leash, it’s a good idea to have a spare leash handy so that you can lead them away safely. If you’re with your own dog, don’t remove their leash to use for the strange dog. You don’t want to put your dog at risk of running away or getting hit by a car either.
  4. Dogs will read your body language so try not to act scared or surprised at seeing them. They’re likely already afraid and you acting strange compared to how anyone normally behaves around them will likely make them even more fearful and distrustful of you.
  5. Sometimes if you act excited to see them (as if you’d seen them while they were on leash with their owner) then they’ll respond positively. Smile, use a happy voice, act as if you’re happy to see them. Lots of dogs find car rides really exciting and may even jump in your car easily if you hold the door open like you’re about to take them to the dog park.
  6. If you can catch them, make sure to first check for a collar and any information on it. Oftentimes dogs have just escaped from their backyards nearby. If they still have a collar on, there is likely a phone number or an address.
  7. If there is no identification on them or you found them far away from any residential dwellings, a vet might be able to scan for a microchip and provide contact information.
  8. If the dog is injured or ill, DoveLewis will not turn them away. Once they are well enough to go to a shelter (usually within 24 hours of arriving at DoveLewis) they will be transferred to the local shelter.
  9. But first, stay in the area for a little while (if it’s safe for you and the dog) and keep an ear out for owners in your area who might be yelling for their lost pet. If you’re in a neighborhood you might try walking the dog around a bit to see if they get particularly excited toward any specific homes.
  10. Check the LOST pet sections of Craigslist as well as your local animal services agency and then check again in a few hours or the next day if you still can’t find the owner. Below we’ll include a few local Portland lost dog resources.
  11. Make a post on Craigslist, but be wary and ask for pictures from the owner to confirm that the dog is theirs. Unfortunately there are less than honest and potentially even dangerous people on Craigslist who try to sell lost pets or use them for other purposes.
  12. Make posts on social media and community sites. If you found the dog in a Portland area dog park or hiking area, you might want to check the Hiking with Dogs in Portland Facebook Group where owners who lose dogs will often make posts. Nextdoor, Rooster,  and a public Facebook post might also be helpful in getting the word out, but again be wary of people trying to scam you.
  13. And of course, post FOUND posters around the neighborhood where you found the lost pet: on post boxes, light poles, and community message boards.
  14. Finally, if you can’t keep the dog while waiting to find its owner, find a local non-kill shelter or rescue organization. However, beware that many shelters have a fairly short period of time where if they can’t locate an owner they will claim ownership of the dog and adopt it out to a new family. This has caused several heartbreaking situations when there were extenuating circumstances such as the owner was out of town when their pet was lost and then adopted to a new family. Check with shelters and rescues about their policies if you have concerns about this.

Here are some additional local PDX resources for lost pets:

  • Craigslist Portland has both a Lost and Found section where people often post lost or found pets and a Pets section where those listings are also common.
  • Willamette Week has a Lost and Found Pet section as well.
  • Washington County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification will only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption. For pets with identification, they will only be held for up to 7 business days before being put up for adoption.
  • Multnomah County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification here will also only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption and pets with identification will only be held for up to 5 business days before being put up for adoption.
  • Clackamas County Animal Services: Note that pets without identification here will only be held for 3 business days before being put up for adoption, although they do not say how long pets with identification will be held, it is still not likely to be any longer than Multnomah or Washington counties.
  • All the Animal Services pages have additional resource suggestions, especially for counties outside of these three.
  • You can check our Community Partners page to see more local vets and rescue organizations that might be able to help out too.

And of course, please let this serve as an important reminder to always keep your pets tagged and microchipped with up to date information. If the worst happens, these can be the most helpful tools in reuniting with your pet!

With the summer travel season coming up, one of the peak seasons for travel is also on the horizon. And if you’re getting together with loved ones, these trips can be wonderful occasions to take your most loved ones along with you — your pets! Whether you are headed for the mountains or some fun in the sun, having your best four-legged friend along makes the trip that much more enjoyable. And to make the trip easier too, check out these tips for getting prepared to bring your pet on the road:

  1. Try AAA for pet-friendly planning. When putting together any vacation with animals, check out AAA’s Petbook. Updated annually, the AAA Petbook features more than 14,000 AAA-approved and Diamond-rated hotels, campgrounds, and other attractions that welcome four-footed travelers. The book also provides information about emergency clinics in case you run into medical trouble, and dog parks for those necessary breaks from being cooped up (for humans and pets alike!). The book can be found at participating AAA/CAA club offices, select bookstores, and online booksellers.
  2. Control parasites for your pet’s comfort. No matter where you’re traveling, be wary of fleas, ticks, and other parasites. These pesky pests cause distress in dogs and cats alike — and can be an expensive health hazard to you. Recently, the number of generic, vet-quality flea-and-tick products on the market makes giving your pets protection throughout the year economical and easier to obtain. Always be sure to consult your pet’s vet before using a medication and follow the instructions carefully. Additionally, pet owners who travel with the pooches need to take care that bed bugs that hide in carpets, mattress seams, and headboards aren’t carried home in your dog’s carrier. Check for bedbugs before accepting a hotel room. As a preventative measure there are many bed bug repellents on the market, many rely on plant oils such as rosemary, but the ASPCA says that bed bug pesticides containing pyrethrin are safe for pets so long as they are used correctly.
  3. Send pet food ahead to your destination. To avoid carrying more weight on the road and preventing stomach upset in your pet, order food ahead of time from an online retailer so that your pet’s familiar diet is waiting for you at your destination when you arrive. It’s also a great idea to purchase chew toys from the same online merchant. No matter how confident you are about your pet’s behavior on the road, a strange environment can cause them to behave differently So be prepared by having a few chews sent along with the food.
  4. Limit driver distraction with a pet car restraint. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver distraction is an increasing epidemic on America’s roadways. Pets can be a major cause of distraction, making drivers take their eyes, hands, and minds off of the road. One of the best ways to limit driver distraction is to provide car restraints for pets. Use a well-constructed body harness, made specifically for car travel. And if you and your pet are in an accident, the pet harness spreads the crash forces across the dog’s body, protecting both them and you. Kurgo body harnesses are available in sizes XS-XL with prices starting at $23, and the company’s bench covers also keep your car upholstery protected. You could also put up a barrier in your car between the front seats and the back so that your pet cannot continually come up to the front to distract you. There are also a lot of really nice dog car seats available nowadays that often include straps.

Now that you’re all ready, get out there and enjoy your pet friendly vacation!

And don’t forget that Hot Diggity! offers home security check-ins and drop-in visits if you take your dog, but leave the cat at home!

With the summer travel season coming up, one of the peak seasons for travel is also on the horizon. And if you’re getting together with loved ones, these trips can be wonderful occasions to take your most loved ones along with you — your pets! Whether you are headed for the mountains or some fun in the sun, having your best four-legged friend along makes the trip that much more enjoyable. And to make the trip easier too, check out these tips for getting prepared to bring your pet on the road:

  1. Try AAA for pet-friendly planning. When putting together any vacation with animals, check out AAA’s Petbook. Updated annually, the AAA Petbook features more than 14,000 AAA-approved and Diamond-rated hotels, campgrounds, and other attractions that welcome four-footed travelers. The book also provides information about emergency clinics in case you run into medical trouble, and dog parks for those necessary breaks from being cooped up (for humans and pets alike!). The book can be found at participating AAA/CAA club offices, select bookstores, and online booksellers.
  2. Control parasites for your pet’s comfort. No matter where you’re traveling, be wary of fleas, ticks, and other parasites. These pesky pests cause distress in dogs and cats alike — and can be an expensive health hazard to you. Recently, the number of generic, vet-quality flea-and-tick products on the market makes giving your pets protection throughout the year economical and easier to obtain. Always be sure to consult your pet’s vet before using a medication and follow the instructions carefully. Additionally, pet owners who travel with the pooches need to take care that bed bugs that hide in carpets, mattress seams, and headboards aren’t carried home in your dog’s carrier. Check for bedbugs before accepting a hotel room. As a preventative measure there are many bed bug repellents on the market, many rely on plant oils such as rosemary, but the ASPCA says that bed bug pesticides containing pyrethrin are safe for pets so long as they are used correctly.
  3. Send pet food ahead to your destination. To avoid carrying more weight on the road and preventing stomach upset in your pet, order food ahead of time from an online retailer so that your pet’s familiar diet is waiting for you at your destination when you arrive. It’s also a great idea to purchase chew toys from the same online merchant. No matter how confident you are about your pet’s behavior on the road, a strange environment can cause them to behave differently So be prepared by having a few chews sent along with the food.
  4. Limit driver distraction with a pet car restraint. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver distraction is an increasing epidemic on America’s roadways. Pets can be a major cause of distraction, making drivers take their eyes, hands, and minds off of the road. One of the best ways to limit driver distraction is to provide car restraints for pets. Use a well-constructed body harness, made specifically for car travel. And if you and your pet are in an accident, the pet harness spreads the crash forces across the dog’s body, protecting both them and you. Kurgo body harnesses are available in sizes XS-XL with prices starting at $23, and the company’s bench covers also keep your car upholstery protected. You could also put up a barrier in your car between the front seats and the back so that your pet cannot continually come up to the front to distract you. There are also a lot of really nice dog car seats available nowadays that often include straps.

Now that you’re all ready, get out there and enjoy your pet friendly vacation!

And don’t forget that Hot Diggity! offers home security check-ins and drop-in visits if you take your dog, but leave the cat at home!

With the summer travel season coming up, one of the peak seasons for travel is also on the horizon. And if you’re getting together with loved ones, these trips can be wonderful occasions to take your most loved ones along with you — your pets! Whether you are headed for the mountains or some fun in the sun, having your best four-legged friend along makes the trip that much more enjoyable. And to make the trip easier too, check out these tips for getting prepared to bring your pet on the road:

  1. Try AAA for pet-friendly planning. When putting together any vacation with animals, check out AAA’s Petbook. Updated annually, the AAA Petbook features more than 14,000 AAA-approved and Diamond-rated hotels, campgrounds, and other attractions that welcome four-footed travelers. The book also provides information about emergency clinics in case you run into medical trouble, and dog parks for those necessary breaks from being cooped up (for humans and pets alike!). The book can be found at participating AAA/CAA club offices, select bookstores, and online booksellers.
  2. Control parasites for your pet’s comfort. No matter where you’re traveling, be wary of fleas, ticks, and other parasites. These pesky pests cause distress in dogs and cats alike — and can be an expensive health hazard to you. Recently, the number of generic, vet-quality flea-and-tick products on the market makes giving your pets protection throughout the year economical and easier to obtain. Always be sure to consult your pet’s vet before using a medication and follow the instructions carefully. Additionally, pet owners who travel with the pooches need to take care that bed bugs that hide in carpets, mattress seams, and headboards aren’t carried home in your dog’s carrier. Check for bedbugs before accepting a hotel room. As a preventative measure there are many bed bug repellents on the market, many rely on plant oils such as rosemary, but the ASPCA says that bed bug pesticides containing pyrethrin are safe for pets so long as they are used correctly.
  3. Send pet food ahead to your destination. To avoid carrying more weight on the road and preventing stomach upset in your pet, order food ahead of time from an online retailer so that your pet’s familiar diet is waiting for you at your destination when you arrive. It’s also a great idea to purchase chew toys from the same online merchant. No matter how confident you are about your pet’s behavior on the road, a strange environment can cause them to behave differently So be prepared by having a few chews sent along with the food.
  4. Limit driver distraction with a pet car restraint. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, driver distraction is an increasing epidemic on America’s roadways. Pets can be a major cause of distraction, making drivers take their eyes, hands, and minds off of the road. One of the best ways to limit driver distraction is to provide car restraints for pets. Use a well-constructed body harness, made specifically for car travel. And if you and your pet are in an accident, the pet harness spreads the crash forces across the dog’s body, protecting both them and you. Kurgo body harnesses are available in sizes XS-XL with prices starting at $23, and the company’s bench covers also keep your car upholstery protected. You could also put up a barrier in your car between the front seats and the back so that your pet cannot continually come up to the front to distract you. There are also a lot of really nice dog car seats available nowadays that often include straps.

Now that you’re all ready, get out there and enjoy your pet friendly vacation!

And don’t forget that Hot Diggity! offers home security check-ins and drop-in visits if you take your dog, but leave the cat at home!