Valley Fever Center of Excellence

What is Valley Fever?
Valley Fever (medical name coccidioidomycosis or “cocci” for short) is an infection caused by a fungus (Coccidioides immitis) that grows in the soil in the southwestern United States (California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico).

Who is at Risk for Valley Fever?
Both humans and animals are at risk for this fungal infection. Many species of animals – dogs, cats, small exotic pets, horses, llamas, and zoo animals – are very susceptible to Valley Fever. Because of their popularity as human companions, dogs comprise the majority of cases of animal Valley Fever. Valley Fever is not a “contagious” disease, meaning it is NOT spread from human to human, or animal to animal, or between animals and people.

What is the Valley Fever Center for Excellence?
In 1995, the University of Arizona and the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System established the Valley Fever Center for Excellence (VFCE) to mobilize resources for the eradication of Valley Fever through promoting public awareness and education and research on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Valley Fever in humans and animals.

Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson is the hub of clinical Valley Fever research involving companion animals in the Tucson community. VSCT in collaboration with the VFCE supports the research by providing hospital facilities where pets can be involved in case evaluations and clinical studies of treatments or new diagnostic tests for Valley Fever. Dr. Lisa Shubitz is the veterinarian and Scientific Faculty member of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence who heads up this valuable work at the Veterinary Specialty Center of Tucson. She is on faculty at the University of Arizona as an Associate Research Professor with the Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology, and is extensively involved in the research of this disease in both companion animals and people in the Southwestern United States. For more information on infection, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of Valley Fever in dogs, please visit the Valley Fever Center for Excellence.