The fungal disease coccidioidomycosis, or valley fever, has been documented in dogs, cats, cattle, llamas and sea otters, as well as humans, and at one point, up to 6% of dogs in Arizona were infected, according to estimates. About 150,000 people contract valley fever annually in the U.S., and 3,000 people died from it between 1990 and 2008. Researchers said money for vaccine research is scarce but essential for people and animals. "The veterinary side of things is absolutely vital for development of knowledge," said physician Demosthenes Pappagianis, a valley fever expert.

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