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seems my post was lost-valley fever and head shakes

July 22nd, 2009, 12:02 PM
I have a 7 year old boxer who has vally fever. I took her in when her original owners were going to have her put to sleep just because they didn't want to take care of a sick animal. Anyway I have had her now for 5 years and all of those years shes been on fluconazole. She just went into the vet and her levels are incressing instead of decressing. I was told that she will never get over this. In the past year she has started having shaking in her head and not in any other parts of her body. Its really strange. I talked to the vet about this and she had never seen this before but her theroy is the valley fever is moving to her brain. Laila also has skin cancer. Im not sure if this could also have something to do with this. Laila also takes rimadyl for the pain in her joints as thats where the valley fever has settled. I also used to foster but as of now I have had to stop because laila is starting to become aggresive to new animals and strange people. She has never displayed this before she was always like the mama. I have inserted a picture of laila and one of our foster cats sleeping together last year on my profile. Is it possible that this is causing her to become aggressive? I would really be interested to hear from anyone that has ever seen this or who knows more about valley fever. In everything that I have read this was never brought up. And like Ive said prevously the vet said its just a theroy. :shrug:

July 22nd, 2009, 12:39 PM
I'm sorry to hear about you girl, I have no advice for you unforunately.

Try sending Dr Lee a private message, he is very good at getting back to people.

Good luck for your girl :grouphug:

Dog Dancer
July 22nd, 2009, 03:38 PM
Chris she may not have pm priviledges yet but if she does it's worth a msg for sure. Mommyof3loy2 I am sorry I have no real advice for you. I have never heard of valley fever. As for the head shaking episodes I have heard of a thing called Idiopathic Head Tremors (bobbing/shaking). If memory serves me it is not uncommon in boxers. So if you are talking to your vet you may want to ask about that. I have a lab X who experiences these periodically - it doesn't affect any part of her body other than her head and she looks like she's shaking her head from side to side saying no no no. They generally are very short in duration and fairly infrequent. For these tremors there is no identifiable cause, but I also don't believe if it is this that it would cause her to be aggressive. So I hope between Dr. Lee and your own vet you can get some resolve to these issues. Bless you for taking her in and saving her when her previous people would not.

July 22nd, 2009, 04:39 PM
OK - I will pm Dr. Lee and direct him to this thread...thanks for pointing that out Dog Dancer, I didn't think about that.

July 22nd, 2009, 04:46 PM
Thank you for all the advice and help. And lailas head tremors are just like that. Shes also alert during the whole thing. They last anywhere from 1 min to 10 min. I have found that if I give her a treat they stop.

July 22nd, 2009, 04:48 PM
I private messaged Dr Lee, hopefully he will have some input for you.

Dr Lee
July 22nd, 2009, 10:12 PM
I have a 7 year old boxer who has vally fever. ...5 years and all of those years shes been on fluconazole. She just went into the vet and her levels are incressing instead of decressing... In the past year she has started having shaking in her head... ...laila is starting to become aggresive to new animals and strange people.

I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are having. Do you have the weight of your pet and the fluconazole dose?

Fluconazole is fungistatic. This means that it stops the growth of valley fever but does not kill it. If the pet's immune system recognizes and is able to fight the valley fever, then the fluconazole can help the body 'cure itself'. Many times, the fungus will not ever be gotten rid of for various reasons (pet's immune system, location of fungus, concurrent disease, level of spread, etc...).

If the pet is on fluconazole, the valley fever can still spread however this is not typical. If this is the case, then I agree that increase of the amount of fluconazole might be a good idea. Also changing to itraconazole might be considered however fluconazole is typically better for intracranial spreads of valley fever.

My recommendation however would be to rule out that we do not have a second disorder unrelated to the valley fever. It sounds like she Laila has been doing well on the current dose for 5 years. As an older boxer, the possibility of another disorder might exist. General blood tests, abdominal and chest radiographs and referral to a neurologist would be my recommendation. Blood tests can look for thyroid issues, infections, etc... Abdominal radiographs can look for other problems such as spleen masses, etc... Chest radiographs can also help get an idea of how the valley fever is doing (blood titers help but are not the only test to look at valley fever. the titer looks only at the amount of antibodies against the fungus).

Referral to a neurologist will likely lead to an MRI. It can look for evidence of valley fever spread, tumors, cysts and signs of inflammation. This can help explain the underlying cause of the head shaking and aggression.

I am sorry I don't have an easy answer for you but I hope this helps.

July 22nd, 2009, 10:47 PM
Laila's weight has been an issue also we get her to about 60lbs but then her appatite decrees and she loses 3 to 5 lbs. So its been a battle of changing foods and decreesing medication she is currently on a lamb and rice and she takes 1 1/4 tab 2x a day of the fluconazole 200mg. Depending on her appatite that could be reduced to 1x a day and her food could change again. This has been a pretty regular routine for the past 3 years. Her vet advised against other meds her reason was, they were harsher on the stomach and we needed to keep weight on laila. Im going to call her vet tomorrow and ask about the referral. I really appreciate the advice. And knowing there are other aves to check makes me feel a lot better.

Dr Lee
July 22nd, 2009, 11:11 PM
At that dose, I would put valley fever spread a little lower on my list and I would want to rule out another problem. As for appetite, is she on Pepcid? Sometimes that helps, maybe ask your vet on it.

Best of luck.