A family credits antibiotics with saving their dog’s life amid a mysterious respiratory illness

A family credits antibiotics with saving their dog’s life amid a mysterious respiratory illness

As cases of the serious respiratory disease affecting dogs continue to rise across the country, one family shares how an antibiotic helped their dog survive.

Becky Oliver of California told “Good Morning America” ​​that her family’s 5-year-old golden retriever, Ike, developed an alarmingly high fever in September while traveling to compete in dog shows.

“He didn’t have any symptoms at first, maybe a cough here or there,” she told GMA. “When they took his temperature at the Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Arizona, they said his fever was 105.3. And his color wasn’t good.”

Until now, the little-known disease affecting dogs like Ike has been reported in multiple states, including Oregon, California and Colorado.

While research is still ongoing, veterinarians say the mysterious disease is highly contagious and can be fatal in severe cases. Symptoms reported to date have also been typical of kennel cough: they include coughing, sneezing, nasal and/or eye discharge, and lethargy.

Ike’s condition later developed into pneumonia, forcing him to spend several days in a veterinary hospital, Becky Oliver said.

Ike began feeling ill in September while he was on the road competing in dog shows, according to his owners.

Oliver family

At one point, Becky Oliver said the medical team told her family they didn’t think Ike would survive the disease.

She said she saw a glimmer of hope after learning about an antibiotic called chloramphenicol, which could be a potential treatment for the unknown disease.

“The vet at first was like, ‘Oh, no, no, this is a very strong antibiotic, a last-ditch type of antibiotic,'” she recalled. “Then the internal medicine vet came in and said, ‘No, let’s try it.’

According to Becky Oliver, 12 hours after Ike received the first dose of the medication, he stopped using oxygen and was able to go home later that week.

Becky Oliver’s husband, John Oliver, told GMA that their beloved family dog ​​is now back to normal.

“He looks great…he’s jumping,” John Oliver said. “We still can’t believe he’s still here.”

Ike is a 5-year-old golden retriever.

Oliver family

Dr. Lindsay Ganzer, a veterinarian and owner of North Springs Veterinary Referral Center, called chloramphenicol “an incredibly powerful antibiotic.”

Ganzer, who has not treated Ike, emphasized that the drug is often used as a “last resort” option.

“This antibiotic is usually used as a last resort,” Ganzer told GMA. “It’s a place where, you know, if we give it to an owner to give it to a dog, they have to handle it with gloves because people can’t really touch it.”

Ganzer said she recommends dog owners stay away from boarding or bringing your dog into an environment with other dogs, at least temporarily.

“(The most important thing) is to avoid any areas where there are a lot of dogs in that space. So, avoid boarding them. Avoid doggie daycare, going to the groomer, going to dog parks,” Ganzer said.

Janzer added that if owners see their pets showing symptoms of the mysterious illness, they should isolate the dog and then seek medical care.

“We don’t know how it spreads, whether it’s through direct contact or whether it’s through the air. If your dog is showing symptoms, they should definitely be checked out by a veterinarian sooner rather than later,” Ganzer said. “The earlier they start treatment, the greater their chance of not progressing and developing into pneumonia.”

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