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Update from the University of Arizona Valley Fever Center
February 2017

Valley Fever Vaccine
Work on an effective vaccine for the prevention of Valley Fever in Dogs has been ongoing for decades. Currently, we have a vaccine candidate that shows excellent efficacy in mice. We are proceeding through the steps of working with regulatory agencies in order to bring this vaccine to marked for our canine patients, and then ultimately, to humans residing in endemic regions.

Nikkomycin Z
Nikkomycin Z is a chitin synthase inhibitor, meaning that it works by disrupting the fungal cell wall. A study of the effectiveness of Nikkomycin Z was completed using twelve dogs. All the dogs enrolled in the study had been diagnosed with respiratory Valley Fever. Study dogs were treated with Nikkomycin Z for 60 days, and clinical signs, blood results, and X-Rays were compared from the start and end of the study period. Nine of the dogs finished the entire course of the medication. Of those 9, 7 dogs showed improvement in their clinical signs and X-Rays. No dogs exhibited any adverse effects to the medication.

Nikkomycin Z appears to have good potential as a new therapeutic for the treatment of Valley Fever in dogs. It is currently awaiting trials in humans and is unavailable for commercial use a this time.

To know more about human and canine Coccidioidomycosis, commonly
known as Valley Fever go to:
University of Arizona Valley Fever Center for Excellence
Valley Fever in People
Valley Fever in Dogs

Vaccine developed at the University of Arizona
could prevent Valley Fever
March 2015

University of Arizona fungal geneticist Mark Orbach examines a culture plate for single bacterial colonies as student researcher Jesse Lewis watches in Orbach’s lab at the University of Arizona. Orbach is the University of Arizona plant sciences professor who invented the delta-CPS1 vaccine that could prevent Valley Fever.


The Search for the Cure for Valley Fever
The technical term for Valley Fever is
Coccidioidomycosis, "Cocci" for short

Nikkomycin Z Development at the University of Arizona
February 2010

Nikkomycin Z: A possible Valley Fever cure

Nikkomycin Z (NikZ) was discovered by a major pharmaceutical company in the 1970s. This drug is made by a bacteria and acts by blocking the enzyme that makes “chitin,” an important building block in fungal cell walls. People and animals do not make chitin and the enzyme target of NikZ is absent. Therefore, NikZ might have little or no toxicity for the patient. In the 1980s, experiments in mice demonstrated that NikZ was a very effective treatment for Valley Fever and might cure it. An actual cure would be a major breakthrough. A small pharmaceutical company started clinical development of NikZ but this activity stopped in 2000 when the company failed. For the next five years, a small foundation in California tried to find a pharmaceutical company to continue development of NikZ but was unsuccessful. The consensus was that the problem of Valley Fever – and therefore the market for drugs to treat it – was “too small” and profits not sufficiently large. At that point, the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona assumed sponsorship of the project and restarted Nik Z’s development.

Canine Nikkomycin Z Study Results
February 2012


Because of their susceptibility and popularity as human companions, dogs comprise the majority of animal cases of Valley Fever. Owners spend hundreds to thousands of dollars each year, especially in Arizona, diagnosing, treating, and following up care for their dogs with Valley Fever.

Education, research, and improved clinical treatment are the missions of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence Lisa Shubitz, DVM, frequently engages in talks and seminars for both veterinary care groups and dog owners. Dog clubs, rescue organizations, and the Tucson Public Library are among the groups to whom she has given seminars.

Research is the backbone of medical advances that improve clinical treatment. Vaccines, drugs, better diagnostic tests, and understanding host responses are topics under current study at the Valley Fever Center. There is an active study underway testing the efficacy of a new Valley Fever drug, Nikkomycin Z, in dogs with Valley Fever pneumonia.

Nikkomycin Z Study in Dogs

The NikZ dog study is no longer recruiting candidates.
We are eagerly awaiting the study results
November 2011

Valley Fever is considered an “orphan disease” because at any one time fewer than 200,000 people in the United States are sick from this infection. However, about two-thirds of the infections are in Arizona and most of those in Maricopa County. The Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona is the only academic research institution in the world focused on this disease. Taking the lead in developing a possible Valley Fever cure is very much within its mission. Center efforts have capitalized on the University of Arizona’s academic strength in biochemistry, proteomics, genetics, pharmacology and medicine. As a result, a drug that otherwise has been ignored by pharmaceutical companies now is in active development. University of Arizona researchers hope that this, along with other research into improved diagnostics and ultimately a preventative vaccine, ultimately will be a boon to public health across the Southwest and most especially in Arizona.

Gold Canyon D.O.G. - Dog Owners Group, through the Kramer's Valley Fever Fund, has been one of the organizations involved in Valley Fever Awareness, Education and Fundraising.

Seventy percent of dogs recover from Valley Fever, if treated.
It is important to be aware
of the symptoms and treat the disease as soon as possible

- Phoenix /Tucson -


Paradise Valley Area
4015 East Cactus Rd
Phoenix, AZ  85032
Phone 602-765-3700.
Fax: 602-765-3661

West Valley Area
5220 North Dysart Road
Litchfield Park, AZ 85340
Phone 623-536-1600
Fax 623-414-4175

86 West Juniper Avenue
Gilbert, AZ 85233
Phone: 480-635-1110
Fax: 480-892-0540
14202 N. Scottsdale Rd, Suite 163
Scottsdale, AZ  85254
480-367-6604 Fax

4909 N. La Canada Drive
Tucson, AZ 85704-1507
(520) 795-9955
(520) 795-9960 Fax

These information is provided merely as a resource, and
is NOT considered an endorsement by
Gold Canyon D.O.G. - Dog Owners Group -

November 7th, 2010

Many of these dogs are survivors of Valley Fever 70% of dogs recoverfrom the disease
Ciara Petronzio, 13 years old has been working on Canine Valley Fever awareness for 7 years
Veterinarian Dr. Lisa Schubitz and Dr. John Galgiani, from the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the
University of Arizona

The Valley Fever Walk for the Cure was held in downtown Phoenix, near the Medical Center of the University of Arizona

Because of the success of the clinical trials held for 3 years, new
clinical trials will start in 2011 for humans.
At present two dogs are being tested with the promising drug Nikkomycin Z

November 1st, 2009 Phoenix
mount raised for research: $60,000 Dollars

ith the Valley Fever Center forExcellence at the University of Arizona

We participated in the first annual Valley Fever Walk for the Cure in downtown Phoenix.  More than 200 people and about 80 dogs attended the event.  Present were Dr. John N. Galgiani, Director and founder of the Valley Fever Center for Excellence at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and Dr. Lisa F. Shubitz, Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology University of Arizona. 

"Gentle Giant"

ZEUS is a 3-year old Pit Bull Terrier who was diagnosed with a severe case of Valley Fever on March 7, 2007. On March 14 ZEUS had successful open heart surgery. The 3 1/2 hour procedure removed the pericardial sac from around the heart. If it had not been done, the sac could have fused to the heart and ZEUS could have developed fatal restrictive heart failure. The surgery was ZEUS' only hope of overcoming Valley Fever. Dr. Lisa Shubitz and Dr. Sharon Dial, from the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology at the University of Arizona were consulted as well. The surgery was preformed at the Sonoran Veterinary Specialist Clinic in Phoenix. Phone 602-765-3700. Open 24 Hours.

ZEUS is doing remarkable well! He went for a recheck on Thursday, March 22 (just 8 days after his surgery), Dr. Soderstrom said everything was great; heart rate, tempeature, no infections, etc. So he has definitely turned a corner. In fact, he has gained the 18 pounds he lost in the previous 2 weeks before his surgery.
A story was featured in the Scottsdale and East Valley Tribune on March 15 reporter John Leptich wrote a moving story about ZEUS, the "gentle giant", with a great picture by Paul O’Neill of the Tribune Fundraising drives were started by friends to help with the more than $5,000 of surgery costs. Then an “Angel” from Fountain Hills who read the story, called Don to tell him that he would pay for ZEUS’ surgery, in full! Furthermore, his daughter, a senior in High School decided that she would like to go to the University of Arizona and become a Veterinarian. Wonderful people, and a story that touched the hearts of so many.

Finally, we had a chance to meet ZEUS and his "Dad" Don. As you can see from the pictures he looks wonderful, and has fully recovered. ZEUS wants to say THANKS to everyone for the prayers and loving emails he has received from his 4-legged friends.

Marta Saint-James
May 11, 2007

Updates on ZEUS by "Dad" Don Jackson:

August 28, 2008
"I am happy to report that ZEUS is 100% cured. He doesn't even take his medication any more. He went off meds in January because they could find no more trace of Valley Fever. So sometimes miracles happen. I am grateful that God spared my boy and that I was referred to Sonoran Vets before it was too late."

October 2009
"ZEUS will be 6 in November.  He is completely cured of Valley Fever. He is the picture of health; very active and alive.  He loves to go to the dog park to play with his friends and he brings me a lot of joy."

"In case your are wondering, the photo of Zeus is one where he came through the doggy door at my brothers house, and the frame of the door stuck on him.  It was so funny.  He looked at us as if to say, "Hey they don't make these doors big enough. In fact the door was for a mini schnauzer."

August 2011
ZEUS crossed the Rainbow Bridge in August of 2011- he died of heart failure. Dad Don said: "ZEUS lived a wonderful and healthy life after his surgery back in 2007"
This is the last picture taken of ZEUS -


Tucson, Arizona

Re-printed from the Valley Fever Center for Excellence
University of Arizona website

The technical term for Valley Fever is Coccidioidomycosis,
"Cocci" for short

Valley Fever is primarily a disease of the lungs that is common in the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. It is caused by the fungus Coccidioides sp., which grows in soils in areas of low rainfall, high summer temperatures, and moderate winter temperatures. These fungal spores become airborne when the soil is disturbed by winds, construction, farming and other activities. In susceptible people and animals, infection occurs when a spore is inhaled. Within the lung, the spore changes into a larger, multicellular structure called a spherule. The spherule grows and bursts, releasing endospores which develop into spherules. Valley Fever symptoms generally occur within three weeks of exposure. Valley Fever is NOT a "contagious" disease, meaning it is not passed from person to person. Second infections are rare.

Valley Fever can be a serious illness. It is estimated that there are about 100,000 cases in the southwestern U.S. each year, most of which resolve on their own. In patients with serious complications from the disease and those with immunosuppression (including AIDS and organ transplants), diagnosis and treatment is often complicated and expensive, and current therapy is sometimes inadequate to cure patients. Additionally, many visitors from regions where Valley Fever is not endemic develop Valley Fever after returning home from the Southwest, and their physicians may not be familiar with the disease.

The Valley Fever Center for Excellence (VFCE) was established in 1995 and is located at the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System's facility (Tucson VA Medical Center) and is jointly sponsored by the University of Arizona and the Southern Arizona VA Healthcare System.

The VFCE operates an informational HOTLINE 520-629-4777 for information about the disease, its diagnosis and treatment, as well as referrals to the Valley Fever Clinics and physicians. The VFCE maintains a website (English and Spanish) and answers questions by electronic mail The Valley Fever Center for Excellence (VFCE)
- Project Canine Valley Fever message board. This message board has been created to offer support, encouragement and a shoulder to cry on to those with canines' battling Valley Fever de Valle - Valley Fever information in Spanish - Valley Fever Vaccine Project of the Americas - The article "Coccidioidomycosis- A Fungal Disease of the Americas" was written by Valley Fever Project Director Richard Hector with Rafael Laniado-Laborin of Mexico. It was published in January of 2005 by PLoS Medicine. PLoS Medicine is an open-access journal published by the nonprofit organization Public Library of Science - A very informational website that includes: Frequently Asked Questions, Glossary, Action Letters and so much more


November 18, 2006
Cosmo Dog Park, Gilbert, Arizona

Article published in The Arizona Republic by reporter
Mike Walbert on November 17, 2006

Officer Todd Johnson and K-9 SEIKO from the Gilbert Police Department.
SEIKO is a three-year-old, eighty-pound, Belgian Malinois imported from Holland. During his youth, SEIKO distinguished himself in a Dutch dog sport called KNPV, which is roughly translated as Royal Dutch Police Dog Association. In these competitions the dogs are run through a series of police dog related tests, which include obedience, agility and suspect apprehension. SEIKO underwent six weeks of training at the Gilbert Police Department where he was trained in narcotics detection and brushed up on his patrol dog skills. SEIKO and Officer Todd Johnson certified on September 15th and have already hit the streets.
Picture and text taken from the Gilbert Police Department website

Officer Ben Lavis and K-9 BARCA from the Gilbert Police Department.
Officer Lavis was selected to the K-9 program in August, 2004. K-9 BARCA is his partner and is dual certified as a Patrol/Explosive canine. They received their training and certifications from the Gilbert Canine Unit and the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office.
K-9 Officer BARCA is a four-year old, Seventy pound Belgian Malinois from Holland. Prior to his acquisition by the Gilbert Police Department, he received a certification from the Royal Dutch Police Dog Association. BARCA recently received a stainless steel tooth, giving him a bit of a shiny smile!
BARCA and Officer Lavis have been on streets working patrol and have been used in several different calls for service. Recently, BARCA located a vehicle burglary suspect who had fled from patrol officers by hiding in a lake up to his chin! He was taken into custody.
Picture and text taken from the Gilbert Police Department website

Officer Lavis and Officer Johnson from the Gilbert Police Department getting ready for a demonstration with BARCA.




BARCA waiting for the command from his handler Officer Lavis.





Another successful mission for K-9 BARCA.








SEIKO ready to defend his handler.





SEIKO follows the commands from his handler Officer Johnson.






Pinal County Sheriff Deputy Danny Richerson and his faithful companion K-9 FAZO, a 4-year old Belgian Malinois who has survived Valley Fever. FAZO is currently on medication for the disease, he is responding to treatment very well and working hard to apprehend the "bad guys"






Sergeant "Ty" Morgan from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office with FAZO.







Pinal County Sheriff's K-9 Officer FAZO and his handler Deputy Danny Richerson.





FAZO, Pinal County Sheriff's Office K-9 running to apprehend a suspect.





Which he did! The "bad guy" is Ernie Lindley, a volunteer Posse member for the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.







The Arizona Department of Public Safefy Officer Louis "Doug" Torres and his K-9 ALEX . ALEX is a seven-year-old Belgian Malinois who is currently on medication for Valley Fever. He is an all purpose dog.



Sandy Bellmore with her dogs SKIPPER & TOBY -TOBY is a survivor of Valley Fever-; Andrew Means with SPARKY -another survivor of Valley Fever- and RICKY; Kay Rutledge with her GRACIE, she is on medication for Valley Fever- from Gold Canyon, and Dr. Sharon Dial from the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of the University of Arizona


From left to right:
Shannon Lorenz, Dr. Sharon Dial, Marta Saint-James. and Curt Fonger. Shannon Lorenz and Teri Rogo (not in the picture) both had rescue Greyhounds with Valley Fever. When Shannon lost her beloved Jeffrey to the disease, they formed Project Canine Valley Fever and Jeffrey’s Fund, which raised over $2000 for veterinary research.


Deputy Richerson from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office and FAZO relaxing after a great demonstration.








Cosmo Dog Park beautiful grounds. Dogs are welcome to swim in the lake. Humans are not!

We are very grateful to the Town of Gilbert for
allowing us the use of Cosmo Dog Park.
The park is located on Ray Rd., between Higley and Greenfield Rds.



A German Shepherd born in Holland, Cosmo van Blitsaerd began working for the Gilbert Police Department in 1993. While on duty in 1996, Cosmo ripped her tendon while apprehending a suspect, an injury she never fully recovered from. Despite walking with a limp, Cosmo courageously continued her service to the people of Gilbert. Ultimately, a degenerative eye disease
forced Cosmo into retirement in May, 1999.
Loyal to the end, Cosmo passed away on May 29, 2002.
in the Town of Gilbert was named in her memory.

Picture and text taken from the Gilbert Police Department website


KRAMER was our beloved Golden Retriever who died from complications of Valley Fever on January 15, 2005. We donated his body for research to the Valley Fever Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Arizona. We established the Kramer's Valley Fever Fund in his memory. ALL proceeds from fundraising events will go to the University of Arizona Veterinary Laboratory for further research of the illness.

Marta Saint-James and Curt Fonger, Kramer's parents






The quilt was raffled at the Canyon Arts Festival in Gold Canyon on January 28, 2006. The lucky person who won Kramer's Valley Fever Memorial Quilt is Regina Barnhill, a resident of Gold Canyon and a proud "Mom" of a rescued Cocker Spaniel named Durango.
We raised $1,830 for canine Valley Fever research. Dr. Sharon Dial from the Valley Fever Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Arizona was given the check at the event.
If you would like more information about canine Valley Fever, please visit

Curt Fonger, Dr. Sharon M. Dial and
Marta Saint-James
Francine Schut and Marta Saint-James from
Gold Canyon D.O.G.- Dog Owners Group


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