Surviving a Mysterious Illness: SoCal Couple Shares Their Dog’s Recovery Journey from the Spreading US Epidemic

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A family in Southern California is sharing their story about their cherished pet, which was diagnosed with a baffling illness affecting dogs nationwide. They credit a “last-resort antibiotic” with saving their beloved golden retriever’s life.

The Oliver family discovered that their dog Ike, had fallen ill while they were traveling in September for dog shows.

Initially, vets were at a loss as to what was afflicting Ike and came close to giving up hope.

RELATED: LA County reports 10 cases of mysterious illness making dogs sick

Los Angeles County health officials are investigating multiple reports of a mysterious respiratory disease that’s affecting dogs across the country.

Becky Oliver shares, “They had given up, and (Ike) was starting to give up.”

They transferred Ike to a closer hospital in Fallbrook, and John Oliver recounts, “When he got to Murrieta at the vet there, they isolated him in a quarantine, behind glass. He couldn’t go in the room with them, no other dogs were in there with him, so that’s how contagious this is.”

After multiple tests, they discovered that Ike was infected with the mysterious dog respiratory illness, known as canine infectious respiratory disease complex.

Dogs infected with it show symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sneezing, and lack of energy.

Los Angeles County Public Health Department has received reports of 10 cases in less than a week, and these are just the cases that have been reported.

Veterinary Dr. Ross Bernstein stated, “Just in one clinic that I was at last week, we had three separate cases of young dogs getting very sick, progressively worse and they ended up having to be euthanized, unfortunately.”

However, in Ike’s case, they found a solution. After posting what happened online, a stranger suggested trying chloramphenicol. Within hours, Ike’s condition significantly improved, and he was able to return home just a few days later.

Becky said, “It’s a very, very strong last-resort antibiotic, but it’s what saved him. Otherwise, he would not be here.”

As the illness spreads this holiday season, vets advise pet owners to take precautions. Dr. Bernstein suggests staying away from places where there are many dogs that are not vaccinated or in poor health: dog parks, boarding facilities, groomers, and other locations where the health of other dogs is unknown.


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