Here in South Louisiana, things tend to get a little more hazardous than in other parts of the country. The wildlife and terrain can be pretty unforgiving. Today I learned about something new we can add to the list. "Swamp Cancer" is something that can affect animals and even humans. Unfortunately, one family has recently lost their beloved dog to "swamp cancer". reports the Rubsamen family of Moss Bluff have lost their dog Max to this disease. They say Max was normally a pretty active pooch, and was a constant companion for their other dog. Suddenly, Max became very sluggish and started losing considerable weight.

The Rubsamen family took Max to the Vet four times, and each time the blood work came back normal. It wasn't until after the family had to put Max down that doctors figured out what the problem was. An autopsy showed Max's cause of death to be from pythiosis, commonly called "swamp cancer," because of the internal masses that look like cancerous tumors.

"It's a free-living organism that lives in swamps and ponds and stagnant water, which we have a lot of around here," said Dr. Harper.

Dr. Harper says swamp cancer is most common in regions with mild winters and seen primarily in horses, dogs, cats, even humans.

"One form is a GI form, which is what we usually see," said Dr. Harper.  "The other is cutaneous, so they can get it by walking through the water and the organism can get on the hair and then wind up penetrating the skin or they drink the water and get it internally."


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