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News Report: Undiagnosed Canine Illness, Florida

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I repost this mainly because one of the dogs that died was a greyhound- presumably a retired racer, but there's no telling.


If any of y'all in Florida know of dogs with similar symptoms, you might want to have your vet contact Dr. Koch at the Tuttle Animal Medical Clinic. Similarly, you may wish to print it out and pass it along to your local vet clinic; as the moderator notes, this may be something other vet clinics have seen, but, being isolated cases, didn't know what to do with the information.




A ProMED-mail post


ProMED-mail is a program of the

International Society for Infectious Diseases



Date: 15 Aug 2009

Source: VINNews.com [edited]




Dogs with very severe signs including hemorrhagic diarrhea

- ----------------------------------------------------------

A single clinic on Florida's west coast has seen 6 cases in the past month

of hemorrhagic diarrhea and vomiting accompanied by high fevers in dogs,

predominantly from a poor section of Sarasota County, veterinarians from

the clinic said this week [10-14 Aug 2009].


Dr Steve Koch, owner of Tuttle Animal Medical Clinic, and his associate, Dr

Eva Ojolick-Ryan, told VIN News Service that 5 of the 6 dogs died within 24

hours of being at the hospital. Most had been sick for only one or 2 days

before being seen. The cause of the outbreak is unknown.


Apart from the fact that all but 2 of the dogs had lived in a low-income

area, Koch said they had little in common. "They varied anywhere from

(about) age 8 months to 6 years," he recounted. "Some had had every vaccine

out there, including 4-way lepto; some had had no vaccines at all. One of

the dogs, (the owner) had only owned it for a day, so he had no history."


Of the 6 dogs, 4 were pit bulls, Ojolick-Ryan said. The others were a

greyhound and an American Eskimo. Koch said one animal from outside the

area was a well-cared-for pit bull that was up-to-date on his vaccinations.

It had moved from Daytona Beach and was in Sarasota only 4 days when it

became ill.


Koch said the sick dogs had extremely high temperatures, in the

neighborhood of 107 degrees Fahrenheit [42 degrees Celsius], and very

bloody diarrhea and vomitus: "I mean, it's pure blood," he said.


The dogs had low white blood cell counts, soaring serum creatinine values,

and acute renal failure and destruction, Ojolick-Ryan said. "Urine also

turned from yellow at onset to brown near death," she said. [brown urine

may be an indication of myoglobinuria or hematuria that is not frank blood.

- - Mod.TG] Most of the dogs' owners were of limited means and unable to pay

for diagnostic lab work, the veterinarians said. Koch said his clinic

picked up the bill for tests for parvovirus and leptospirosis on some of

the patients. The results were negative.


"The clinic has picked up the cost of a lot of the blood work and treating,

too, to try and save these dogs," Ojolick-Ryan said. "So diagnostics have

been limited, as well as post studies."


The veterinarians discussed whether rawhide chews might be a factor, but

case notes provided by Ojolick-Ryan show that only 3 of the 6 dogs were

given rawhide treats. "We were grasping at straws," Koch said.


The cases began showing up on 22 Jun 2009 -- 2 of them back-to-back that

day. The most recent patient came to the clinic on 28 Jul 2009.


In trying to solve the mystery, the clinic contacted a variety of experts,

among them Dr Cynda Crawford, an immunology and infectious diseases expert

at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Crawford

agreed to look into the matter, and Ojolick-Ryan sent her some data.


However, Crawford told VIN News Service by e-mail last Wednesday [12 Aug

2009] that she had nothing to report. "There is very little case material

to work with, so am struggling with meaningful diagnostic approaches," she

wrote. "...Everything is basically speculation at this point."


Dr Bill Jeter, a veterinarian and bureau chief of contagious and infectious

diseases in Florida's Division of Animal Industry, said his department is

monitoring the situation. He noted that there was some discussion among his

colleagues that the outbreak could be caused by infections of a virulent

strain of _Escherichia coli_. In humans, exposure to _E. coli_ 0517:H7 can

lead to hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), the onset of which may include

bloody vomiting and diarrhea. HUS occurs when toxins produced by _E. coli_

destroy red blood cells. Among people infected by _E. coli_, HUS is seen

mostly in children, the elderly and adults with weak immune systems. It is

rare in dogs, but not unheard of.


Ojolick-Ryan, continuing to work on the cases while on vacation in Canada,

said by email on Friday [14 Aug 2009] that she's following up on the HUS

angle by sending fecal samples to Dr Alice Agasan, chief of the bureau of

diagnostic laboratories in the state Department of Agriculture. She said

she is also sending tissue samples to Crawford. "I only have samples from

one case so far," Ojolick-Ryan said. "If -- heaven forbid -- we get another

case, more samples will be taken."


Jeter said that if the diagnosis turns out to be HUS, it would be odd to

see an outbreak confined to one clinic. "I haven't heard of anybody else

reporting it," he said. "I'm sure if it was (being found elsewhere), we'd

be hearing about it."


Ojolick-Ryan said she heard of one other case, in south Charlotte County,

involving a Greyhound with similar signs. But she was unable to confirm

whether the case could be considered part of the same outbreak.


- --

communicated by:

Marilyn Knapp Litt



[While this "outbreak" seems rather limited in area as well as cases, it

could be the so-called "tip of the iceberg". There may be other clinics in

the area that have had similar cases and have not reported it, or may not

have connected the dots that there is more than one case, especially if it

is a multiple doctor hospital.


While it fits the description of _E. coli_ HUS in humans, this is rare in

dogs. But the bacterium may have modified in some fashion to affect dogs

more like people. If there are other cases similar to what is described

here, then reporting it to the state authorities may help provide answers.

- - Mod.TG


A map showing the location of the state of Florida is available at

<http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/namerica/usstates/fl.htm> -




Coco (Maze Cocodrillo)

Minerva (Kid's Snipper)

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Wow, for dogs to get that sick in such a short time! I hope at some point they find out what this is before he starts to spread.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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AJ, do you think this could possibly be pythiosis?


Freshy (Droopys Fresh), NoAh the podenco orito, Howie the portuguese podengo maneto
Angels: Rita the podenco maneta, Lila, the podenco, Mr X aka Denali, Lulu the podenco andaluz, Hada the podenco maneta, Georgie Girl (UMR Cordella),  Charlie the iggy,  Mazy (CBR Crazy Girl), Potato, my mystery ibizan girl, Allen (M's Pretty Boy), Percy (Fast But True), Mikey (Doray's Patuti), Pudge le mutt, Tessa the iggy, Possum (Apostle), Gracie (Dusty Lady), Harold (Slatex Harold), "Cousin" Simon our step-iggy, Little Dude the iggy ,Bandit (Bb Blue Jay), Niña the galgo, Wally (Allen Hogg), Thane (Pog Mo Thoine), Oliver (JJ Special Agent), Comet, & Rosie our original mutt.

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Guest greyvettech
I already forwarded this to my former vet/employer, in Central Florida!

Not to get off the subject, but what vet did you work for?


-Sounds like something toxic, maybe, Did anyone hear about the person in Florida who is purposly killing animals, horses, dogs, etc...? Could be related? You never know.... I hate some people:(

Edited by greyvettech
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Guest goodtimekid
I already forwarded this to my former vet/employer, in Central Florida!


What vet did you work for? Just curious since I live in Central Florida. thanks Donna

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