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Alpacas living in the southwestern United States are at risk of infection caused by the fungus Coccidioides, endemic in the soil in parts of this region. The disease, called coccidioidomycosis or Valley Fever, is acquired by inhaling spore-laden dust. Primary infection begins as a respiratory infection but often spreads throughout the alpaca’s body, causing severe disease. Affected alpacas are treated with the antifungal medication fluconazole. Although fluconazole is used effectively to treat coccidioidomycosis in many other species, alpacas absorb oral medications less efficiently. Researchers will establish a therapeutic dose of fluconazole for coccidioidomycosis in alpacas to help improve treatment outcomes in affected animals. In addition, their findings could result in treatment recommendations for other systemic fungal diseases in this species. 

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University of Arizona
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United States
Lisa F. Shubitz, DVM
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