German Shepherd in Ocean View Suspected to Have Rare Tropical Disease
Posted: Aug 14, 2018 8:15 PM
By Mallory Metzner
(OCEAN VIEW, Del.) - 3 years ago Kat Malone and her German Shepherd, Samson moved to Ocean View from Baltimore. Sam took a liking to swimming in nearby ponds but that just may have lead him to contract a rare disease called pythiosis.
About a year ago, Kat discovered two small spots on his side that looked like puncture wounds. This area continued to get bigger no matter how many vets he saw or treatments they tried.
"Fast-forward to now we had a blood test and everything came back normal. No tick-born illness. All of his internal organs were functioning properly because he had x-rays as well. The only other step would be bi-opsy so they biopsied it. That came back negative for any cancer or auto-immune disease. The diagnosis of suspected pythiosis was what we eventually came to," Kat says. If pythiosis is confirmed in Sam, he'll be the second case in Delaware since 2015.
Pythium is a tropical disease so it is rarely seen as far north as Delaware; 65% of cases occur in Florida. It typically harbors in warm swamplands attacking plants, but it can also attack animals if they come into contact with it. In fact, German Shepheds and even Labs are the breeds most at risk.
Pan American Veterinary Laboratories in Texas is one of 2 labs in the country that conducts blood tests for this disease. They test more than 1200 samples each year and they're about to test Sam's blood to come to a conclusion.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed he can be treated with an Immuno therapeutic product; similar to a vaccine but effective against active infection. This product induces an immune response that destroys the Pythium organism in greater than 60% of infected dogs. Conventional treatment with anti fungal drugs is effective in 20% of cases or less. If untreated, this disease is fatal in greater than 90% of cases. Pythium is not transmissible from an infected animal to another animal. The infectious stage of the lifecycle arises from infected plants only. "
So far Kat has spent around $3,000 treating Sam. This vaccine costs $200 plus shipping but money isn't the issue. It can only be delivered to a vetinarian so she is looking for one that is willing to help.
Kat is hoping to get that immunotherapy vaccine delivered to a nearby vet so that Sam can be treated as soon as possible. This would give him a better chance at getting rid of the infection.
Kat is hoping to get the vaccine delivered to a nearby vet so that Sam can be treated as soon as possible. A vet doesn't have to be the administrator. This would give him a better chance at getting rid of the infection.
Kat is calling on any vet willing to help to step up. She wants her dog to get better and wants people to be more aware of diseases like this no matter how rare it is to catch. She advises that if any pet owner ever suspects their animal to have Pythiosis, they should ask for a blood test immediately to get right to the root of the problem.
Donations can be made towards Sam's medical expenses at: https://www.gofundme.com/sams-pythiosis-treatment-fund