Conditions are ripe for Valley Fever with the monsoon, especially for dogs.
A study happening right now in Arizona is already uncovering interesting trends that could ultimately lead to a cure for humans and their pets.
Now, researchers are looking for more test subjects.
TGEN is a Phoenix-based research center that focuses on genetics and infectious diseases and it's launched the "P.A.W.S." study hoping to unlock some answers about the disease.
Valley Fever is an infection caused by a fungus in desert soils. It's hard to diagnose, can cause debilitating symptoms and require lifelong treatments. Dogs are really vulnerable and it can turn fatal for them.
"Dogs have their nose down in the ground, they're digging around so they're potentially just inhaling more of those spores," said the project’s lead researcher, Dr. Bridget Barker.
TGEN has teamed up with the Arizona Humane Society for the study as they have a ready-made test group. Veterinarians have been taking basic mouth swabs from dogs and sending them to TGEN for the study.
The study has already revealed a trend; the disease is more prevalent in boxers and golden retrievers. More tests could unlock more answers and the president and CEO of AZHS is excited to help reach that outcome that would also apply to humans.
"The more information we can collect the more likelihood that TGEN researchers are going to be able to save more dogs' lives as well as people's lives eventually," said Dr. Steve Hansen.
Researchers have already collected 2,000 samples they're hoping for 8,000 more. If you're willing to let your dog be tested TGEN will send you a swab kit and a questionnaire that might help identify environmental trends too.
If you are interested in the study, click here
for more information.