Dog Contracts Mystery Illness

April Livingston | June 9th, 2018

A dog named Rambo became ill and not long after lost the only home he had ever known. Rambo, who is a senior dog, suddenly began to lose large patches of fur from his body. His skin became inflamed and red and even scaly and walking became painful. Eventually, his ears also became inflamed. He was in terrible pain and so his owners decided to bring him back to the shelter. They had adopted him from there nearly nine years earlier and with no idea what to do, they just abandoned him.

Toby Wisneski//Facebook
Toby Wisneski//Facebook
Toby Wisneski//Facebook
Toby Wisneski//Facebook

Due to his condition and his advanced age, the shelter scheduled him for euthanasia. Luckily, a woman named Toby Wisneski, who founded the group Leave No Paws Behind, saw a post about Rambo on Facebook and knew she had to help him. She jumped in to help right away, as Rambo was scheduled to be euthanized that afternoon. She asked the shelter staff to spare him, but they were unsure because Rambo would not allow staff to get near him to administer vaccinations—a requirement for him to leave the building. Toby asked them to give Rambo a chance to calm down, and sure enough he did. So, he got a ride in a car instead of a trip to death row.

Toby Wisneski//Facebook
Toby Wisneski//Facebook
Toby Wisneski//Facebook
Toby Wisneski//Facebook

He was taken to Pet Doctors of Sherman Oaks, where staff determined that Rambo had pemphigus foliaceus, an autoimmune skin disease. That was causing his scaling, itchy skin, along with ulcers and redness. It was curable, but it was going to take lots of time and money. But Toby knew Rambo was worth it and pushed forward with treatment. His condition was so extreme that John Angus, a specialist at Animal Dermatology of Pasadena, offered to treat Rambo for free. Rambo spent eight months at the facility, receiving treatment with steroids. It caused all his hair to fall out and his muscles weak, but Rambo stayed in good spirits.

His hair began growing back and when Toby came to visit him, she decided he was going to be a “forever foster” in her home. She believes Rambo is a purebred German Shepherd and is a very sweet dog!

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