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Las Vegas dog owner believes ‘mystery’ disease claimed pit bull

Marble went from being a “vibrant” 55-pound pit bull to less than half her weight before she died within two months.

Las Vegas resident Stephanie Abernathy says her dog’s symptoms over the past two months fell in line with those reported in dogs afflicted with a mysterious respiratory disease across the country, but with no known Nevada cases.

Abernathy said she treated Marble with the prescribed medications from the first vet visit, and added breathing treatments at home. The pit bull seemed to be improving, and she took precautions to keep her away from other dogs. She said her vet provided a treatment plan at a cost of $2,100, an amount she could not afford.

“Over the next month, I tirelessly sought assistance for Marble’s vet bill,” Abernathy wrote in an email Thanksgiving Day. “She had good and bad days, but her cough persisted, intensifying with each meal.”

Marble had a cough, slime vomit, runny nose and loss of appetite, Abernathy said. Toward the end her vomit and runny nose started to have faint blood in it.

Although she could not afford the veterinary bills to confirm the disease, Abernathy believes the disease, similar to kennel cough that is spreading across the country, claimed her pit bull early Nov. 17 after a two-month struggle.

“The ordeal was emotionally challenging, and I desperately sought a way to afford the treatment she needed,” Abernathy wrote. “Unfortunately, Marble’s condition worsened, and despite her attempts to be playful, the inevitable was approaching.”

“How does a healthy dog go from 55 to maybe 25 pounds so rapidly? Her worsening cough and sadness signaled a losing battle,” Abernathy wrote. “Marble lost her life to an illness that wasn’t widely publicized. A week has passed since her passing, and the regret of not knowing about the illness sooner is haunting.”

Boca Park Animal Hospital and the American Veterinary Medical Association detailed what to watch for should your dog show signs of the disease.

Contact Marvin Clemons at mclemons@reviewjournal.com.

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