Foothills Animal Shelter saves emaciated dog plagued by rare mouth disease

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GOLDEN, Colo. — A 6-year-old Australian cattledog mix has been nursed back to health after more than a year by the staff of Foothills Animal Shelter in Jefferson County.

Louie was severely underweight, his eyes and the top of his head were sunken because of atrophy, and there was a foul smell in his mouth when he was brought to the shelter in early 2016.

He was brought to the shelter by Jefferson County Animal Control officers after they received calls about the dog’s condition. The dog’s owner agreed to surrender Louie.

“I examined his mouth and I was shocked at what I saw,” chief veterinarian Dr. Emily Hays said. “Some of his teeth were missing, his gums were eroded down to the bone and there were severe ulcers covering his entire mouth and lips.”

It was discovered Louie was suffering from chronic ulcerative paradental stomatitis, a rare autoimmune disease that causes a severe reaction to the tartar on a dog’s teeth.

Louie’s teeth needed to be removed. After intensive dental surgeries, Louie was finally pain-free.

Today, Louie is described as being “happy, playful and doesn’t meet anyone he doesn’t love — especially children.”

He has put on weight and goes on long hikes. He was adopted by one of the shelter’s staff members and has become an official ambassador for the shelter, meeting with children’s groups, donors and other community members.

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