Maui couple hopes to raise awareness after their pit bull contracts rat lungworm disease

pitbull rat lung worm
pitbull rat lung worm(Dave Ryder)
Updated: Mar. 31, 2021 at 9:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After their dog contracted rat lungworm disease, a Maui couple is warning other pet owners to keep an eye out for their pets.

The couple said their 4-year old pit bull-Jack Russell-terrier mix, named Kili, started showing symptoms in January.

The owners said it started with a cough, but the symptoms only worsened. Kili began vomiting, losing weight and experiencing muscle tremors and neck swelling.

Veterinarians at Kahului Animal Hospital detected neurological problems and diagnosed the dog with rat lungworm disease.

After weeks of treatment and no change, the couple made the heartbreaking decision to euthanize their dog.

“I think prevention steps are obviously if you can minimize rats in the neighborhood. It takes rats and/or slugs or snails to cause disease, so if you can minimize impact of those in the area where pets roam that will minimize danger of coming down with this,” said Dave Ryder, the dog’s owner.

The owners believe their dog may have eaten a slug or snail on their property.

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