Objective—To evaluate potential risk factors for Coccidioides infection among dogs living in a region in which the organism is endemic (Pima and Maricopa counties, Arizona).
Design—Community-based longitudinal and crosssectional studies.
Animals—104 healthy 4- to 6-month-old puppies (longitudinal study) and 381 4- to 18-month-old dogs with unknown serostatus (cross-sectional study).
Procedure—Dogs in the longitudinal study were tested 3 times at 6-month intervals for anticoccidioidal antibodies; dogs in the cross-sectional study were tested only once. Owners of all dogs completed a questionnaire on potential environmental exposures.
Results—In the longitudinal study, the relative risk of infection for dogs that were outdoors during the day was 4.9 times the risk for dogs that were kept indoors. Seropositive dogs in the cross-sectional study were 6.2 times as likely to have access to > 1 acre to roam as were seronegative dogs. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of infection increased with age (odds ratio [OR], 1.1), amount of roaming space (OR, 2.4), and walking in the desert (OR, 2.2). Walking on sidewalks had a protective effect (OR, 0.4).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that in regions in which the organism is endemic, dogs that spend more time outdoors or have more land in which to roam are at greater risk of infection with Coccidioides spp. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005; 226:1851–1854)