Mastiff Rescue of Florida would like to make you aware of a disease that at times goes over looked. With the heavy rains and standing water that we all have or have had our goal is to make you aware of PYTHIOSIS. One of our volunteers has had a horrible time with Pythiosis. The Following is her story and she has also sent us a brochure.
"In 2013 I lost my bull mastiff, Duke, to a horrible disease that I had never heard of in all my years of owning pets. It started in about May when he developed diarrhea. I have 5 large dogs so it took some time to figure out which one was sick.
I took Duke to the vet and he received the standard treatment for diarrhea, Metronidazole. We went through a few rounds of it and tried some other antibiotics as well. He started losing weight and developed bloody diarrhea. In late July we took Duke to the University of Florida Vet Hospital. He spent several days there and they finally diagnosed him with Pythiosis, a fungal spore that is difficult to treat. The vet told me there were no known survivors of the disease and that I should just “put him down”.
My daughter, Katy, found a Facebook page for pythiosis. She contacted people on the page and got as much information as she could, including the name Pan American Vet Labs and Bob Glass. I called Mr. Glass, who was ever so helpful. He sent us the first round of injections in an attempt to treat the disease.
We were also giving him the traditional treatment of antifungals which my vet had compounded since the cost for a one month supply from the vet school was well over $300. We even tried a second round of injections, however, Duke had been sick too long and on September 10, 2013, my beloved Duke had to be put to sleep.
Pythiosis is not a traditional fungus. It is a fungal spore that thrives in wet areas. Many vets treat it with very expensive antifungals which have not been proven to work. Pythiosis actually causes an allergic reaction in some dogs and not others. It can also affect our animals in the cutaneous form. Pythiosis does not affect just dogs, but cats, horses, pretty much any animal.
I still have 5 dogs. My bull mastiff, whom I got after Duke died and my female mastiff whom I fostered and then adopted both were tested for pythiosis. Both dogs had diarrhea. Zeus, my bull mastiff tested borderline and my mastiff, Zoe, tested positive. Both have had 2 rounds of the injections and both are doing very well. Both have gained weight and now have normal stools. My other 3 dogs, whom I had when Duke was sick as well, have never had a problem and they all eat, run and play in the same areas.
What I learned when Duke was sick was that many vets do not know about pythiosis. My vet had never heard of it. Those that do know about it say it is rare. Really, NOT. I follow the FB page for pythiosis and there are so many fur babies out there that have it. Some are survivors, some survive this horrible disease multiple times. Others are not so fortunate.
My goal for telling Duke’s story is twofold. First is to make people aware of this disease and have a low threshold for having your dog tested when traditional treatment does not work. Second it to say there are survivors. There is a lot more to this disease then what is in Duke’s story, so please read the attached brochure.
Mastiff Rescue Staff