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Dog study shows boxers, golden retrievers hit most by Valley fever

(Public Domain Photo)

PHOENIX — Early results from an Arizona study showed that boxers and golden retrievers tend to get more Valley fever infections than other dog breeds.

“We have observed that boxers, as a specific breed, seem to be more susceptible to severe infection,” Northern Arizona University associate professor Bridget Barker said.

“About 50 percent of those boxers (in the study) have severe Valley fever.”

Barker said her research team was reaching out to boxer owners to have them collect saliva for DNA and genotype tests, “to understand if there’s a genetic basis to susceptibility.”

Barker did not specify the rate at which golden retrievers were infects, saying only they “have a slightly higher percentage.”

Like people, dogs contract Valley fever by breathing in spores released from loose soil. Healthy adults will likely not be affected, but young or old dogs may get sick.

Symptoms in dogs include a dry cough, fever, lack of appetite and lethargy. Joints and nerves can also be affected.

NAU partnered with the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix to conduct the study more than one year ago.

Barker said about 2,000 dog owners were participating in the survey, but thousands more were needed. Interested people can learn more on TGen’s website.

KTAR’s Ashley Flood contributed to this report.

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