LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A Southern California family is talking about how their beloved pet was diagnosed with a mysterious disease affecting dogs across the country — and the “last resort antibiotic” that “saved him.”
The Oliver family says their golden retriever, Ike, contracted a strange illness while competing in dog shows in September.
Veterinarians initially did not know what it was and lost hope.
RELATED: LA County Reports 10 Mysterious Diseases Sickening Dogs
Los Angeles County health officials are investigating several reports of a mysterious respiratory illness affecting dogs across the country.
“They gave up, and (Ike) started to give up,” Becky Oliver said.
They were able to transfer Ike to a hospital near his home in Fallbrook.
“When he got to Murrieta at the vet there, they put him in a quarantine, behind glass,” John Oliver said of Ike. “He couldn’t go into the room with them and he didn’t have any other dogs with him, so that’s how contagious it is.”
After several tests, they say Ike is suffering from a mysterious canine respiratory disease known as canine infectious respiratory disease complex.
Dogs who catch it show symptoms like coughing, runny nose, sneezing and lack of energy.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health says it’s already known about 10 cases in less than a week — and those are just the reported cases.
“At a clinic I was at last week, there were three separate cases of young dogs that got so sick, got progressively worse that they had to be euthanized, unfortunately,” said veterinarian Dr. Rose Bernstein.
But in Ike’s case, they found a solution.
After posting about what happened online, a stranger told them to try chloramphenicol.
Within hours, Ike was breathing well, and a few days later the 5-year-old golden retriever was able to go home.
“It was a very, very strong last antibiotic, but that’s what saved him,” Becky said. Otherwise he wouldn’t be here.
Veterinarians are offering this advice to keep pets safe as disease spreads this holiday season.
“Avoid places where there are a lot of dogs where you don’t know whether they’re vaccinated or not, whether they’re healthy or not,” Bernstein said. “So places like dog parks, boarding facilities, groomers, places where you don’t know the other dogs your dog is going to interact with.”