CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Bentley is a happy-go-lucky dog with three legs. But the reason why he's missing a leg is alarming. And it's not a story you hear every day.
“It’s unfortunate, but I’m also very lucky that it went to his bone instead of his lungs,” said his owner Brooks Kenyan.
Kenyan took on the challenge of adopting Bentley after a severe case of valley fever caused him to have his leg amputated.
Now valley fever in pets is on the rise.
“Is there any way to really avoid this?“ asked reporter Briana Whitney.
“Unfortunately not,” said Dr. Lisa Patrick, a Chandler veterinarian at Family VetCare.
Patrick said they're diagnosing many dogs with valley fever at this time of the year.
“It can mean seizure activity; it can mean really painful bone lesions,” said Patrick.
So why now?
The answer lies with Mother Nature. About two months ago, the monsoon brought several raging dust storms through the Valley. And with dogs outside inhaling that dust, the fungus has now had time to grow.
But it can be hard to diagnose. Dr. Patrick usually sees similar symptoms first.
“Coughing with a decrease in energy level,” she said.
If they catch it quickly, the best-case scenario is putting your dog on a medication for six months. But if it gets to other parts of their body, they can end up on medication for the rest of their life, or with amputated limbs.
And the cost of meds and treatment can add up.
“We’re seeing some higher pricing, so we’ve actually taken to compounding to give the owners a break,” said Patrick,
“We’re about to get his blood drawn again and that’s the expensive part because it costs about 200 bucks to get his blood drawn,” said Kenyan.
Kenyan actually drives from San Tan Valley all the way to Scottsdale just to get Bentley's medication for a better price.
But while doctors work to find a vaccine for valley fever in dogs, Kenyan says he’ll pay the price for a best friend whose love is…priceless.
“Absolutely worth it. Yeah,” said Kenyan.