Cost of Valley Fever treatment for pets likely to surge

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Cost of Valley Fever treatment for pets likely to surge

By Cory Marshall. CREATED Nov 7, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tucson resident Martha Gutner relies on her service dog, Meisha, for socialization. As an Arizonan, she worries about her Australian Sheppard contracting Valley Fever, the airborne fungus found in desert soil.

"I would be just crushed if something were to happen to her," Gutner told 9OYS.

"If it ever happened to my dog, I would want to take care of her," she continued.

Recently, several Fluconazole manufacturers, the anti-fungal drug most commonly prescribed to treat Valley Fever in pets, decided to no longer make the drug.

Area veterinary hospitals, including staff at Ina Road Animal Hospital, have taken to notifying patients. In some cases, the hospital writes in a letter, the cost, because of basic supply and demand, has increased ten-fold. Vets say a one-month supply could now cost pet owners hundreds of dollars. 

"We diagnose it so commonly here that if we go two or three days without diagnosing a case of Valley Fever then it means, I didn't ask the right questions. It's just that common," Speedway Veterinary Hospital's Dr. Kayla Boyer said.

"With that drug going off the market [and] becoming unavailable, then veterinarians are going to be faced with some tough decisions," Boyer added.

Going forward, vets say they are looking to alternative treatments.