Celebrate the Whippet Breed

Celebrate the Breed
Pythosis, A Fungal Disease
By Lynn Sawyer

Hi - the last pathology report on Sonny came back with [pythiosis] as a diagnosis - while in Ocala I talked with some people who had said that [a friend] had lost 2 saluki's (one was 2 one was 8) to some sort of stomach fungus. I talked with her, and she sent me [some reference] information. It certainly sounds like what Sonny had - I guess what I am trying to say, is NEVER EVER TAKE anything for granted when it comes to something that does not GO AWAY!!!! I was a hopeless paranoid before, and now am pledged to be a real pain about anything that does not immediately clear up !!!!

At one of the coursing things, someone mentioned that [the friend's] dogs were sick, and I think even at the the time the symptoms were similiar, but they did not know for sure what was wrong with her dogs at the time, and Sonny had just had the first surgery...


[Editor's note: Pythiosis is a fungal disease that has not been well-known or well-publicized in the past... The note above falls into the category of "lessons learned" and advice given in hopes of preventing other dogs from getting the same thing. The reader is reminded that if there is any doubt on what your dog's problem is, you should consult your veterinarian. These notes are based on the user's experiences. Not all the references sent to Lynn are available for us to mention here; however, one of the best is the web site maintained by Michigan State University, with research findings byProfessor Leonel Mendoza, who has been studying pythiosis for over 20 years. Dr. Mendoza describes his work in thesecond article on pythiosis.]

Lynn Sawyer


Discussion Two from Professor Leonel Mendoza

Pythium Insidiosum

By Professor Leonel Mendoza, Michigan State University

Our laboratory conducts research in this disease and we are presently working on a preventive vaccine for dogs living in endemic areas. Since this is an emerging disease, most clinicians are not familiar with it and therefore, there is not support to investigate this disease. Thus, we accept donations from owners and pet lovers to continue our research efforts on pythiosis. For more information, contact: Ellen Rzepka - Phones: (517)353-7800 or (517)355-8242, Fax: (517)432-2006.

In addition, we have a support group for owners that had a pet with pythiosis. Please contact Rebecca Paff (336)983-7643, the coordinator of the group.

I am a professor at MSU and have been working on pythosis for more than 20 years now. So, you can understand my interest in this disease. However, I also understand the human side behind the tragedy of pythiosis for pet owners; that's why Rebecca and I started this group. She is an example of pet survival to pythiosis, so she knows the pain and the frustration that most owners have when a diagnosis of pythiosis is made. Why? Clinicians don't know what are their choices for treatments in this disease. The fact that we have a vaccine that cures and prevents is something relatively new and needs more propaganda.

I think that ourweb siteis unique in the sense that it gives an idea what pythiosis is about. There are, however, many posted cases and stories of people that lost their pets through pythiosis. To find them, hit your search tool at the wwww site, and type pythiosis. There are so many sad stories. They did not know about our vaccine and never used it.

Thank you so much for the help you are providing to people that might encounter in the future pythiosis in their pets.

[Editor's note: Pythiosis is a disease that has not been well-known or well-publicized in the past. It is a potentially fatal digestive system or skin infection, caused by the aquatic mold Pythium insidiosum. Prof. Mendoza'sweb research sitecontains much information about this disease, its signs, symptoms and treatment. The reader is reminded that if there is any doubt on what your dog's problem is, you should consult your veterinarian.]

Leonel Mendoza
Professor, Med. Tech. Program
Michigan State University
322 N. Kedzie Lab.
East Lansing, MI 48824-1031