Monday, May 25, 2015

Scary Air

When we first told people that we were going to spend the Winter in Arizona, we got lots of dire warnings about there being something in the soil that could make a person ill and even kill them! We were told there wasn't a cure! Nobody seemed to know what it was, but had a healthy fear of it! We were concerned, but figured it couldn't be all that bad if there weren't reports in the news of large numbers of people in Arizona getting sick and dying from the mystery illness. We just recently learned that the thing to be concerned about in the soil is a fungus and that it gets carried through the air on windy days. It is not only a concern in Arizona, but in all the southwestern states and Utah. In Arizona it is referred to as Valley Fever and in southern California it is referred to as San Joaquin Valley Fever. Because of it's flu like symptoms and the ache it can create, it is sometimes referred to as Desert Rheumatism. It can affect humans, as well as, other animals. Get the facts at this link: Scary Air . Org 
Prior to leaving Texas, our Malamute had itchy welts and large oval rings on her belly. The sores would occasionally break out on other parts of her body. We had been in Texas a year and on prior occasions had been there for two years without a problem. We believe the difference was that on the visit where she caught this fungal rash, she and our shepherd were allowed to lay in the soil. On our prior stays they laid on our vinyl outdoor carpet. We surmised from our Internet research that the large oval sores may have been girth itch rather than the rounder sores produced by ringworm. It didn't appear to be infectious as neither the other dog, two cats, or Roy or I caught it. Our research indicated that it could be treated with Monistat (Miconazole) such as used for women's yeast infections. We started treating her with that.  
We discovered this great spray in the horse department at Tractor Supply. It was less expensive than using Monistat and it provides a broader coverage.  The treatment takes weeks! The spray can be used as a treatment, as well as, a preventative.  It seemed to be healing, but not as soothing as the next product.
We later discovered this wonderful anti-fungal lotion at a vet's office. It is available without a prescription and can be ordered online. It seems to be very soothing, as well as, very healing! Our cat, Odie, goes outside. Although he didn't develop welts on his skin, he did lick his fur on his belly to such excess as to lick the fur off and create lick sores. This lotion seemed to stop the itch and desire to lick. It can be distributed through the wet fur following a bath or put on the dog or cat's dry fur, as needed to reduce the desire to lick. The animals are well now, but have recently developed some mysterious shaking of their ears. I've begun suspecting fungal involvement and again went to the internet for answers.  I found this great resource:  Anti-fungal Ear Treatment. We have learned to stay out of the wind and limit the pets contact with the soil. We hope this helps keep you and your pets healthy!