The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 2, 2013

Help sought for dog’s medical bills

JOHNSTOWN — A Roxbury couple is seeking the public’s help in paying for medical bills for their 2-year-old German shepherd mix that has a fatal disease if left untreated.

Lisa Ruffing said her dog, Duke, who was rescued one year ago from an abusive home, is suffering from heartworm disease.

Ruffing believes that Duke contracted the disease when Duke accompanied her and her fiance, Randy Owens, on a trip to North Carolina in June. She believes Duke was bitten by a mosquito that was infected by the disease.

The infection takes a minimum of seven months to show up in a dog’s blood and was discovered when Duke had his yearly examination recently, she said.

Veterinarian Robert Bastian of Country Roads Veterinary Service, Stoystown, administered a blood test that came back positive, said Ruffing, who along with Owens is a volunteer for the Richland-based Habitat for Hounds. Additional tests at the Animal Medical Center in Somerset confirmed that Duke had the disease.

Because the disease is so rare in this area and because the VCA Elkton Animal Hospital in Elkton, Md., has experience with heartworm cases, Duke will receive his treatment there, Ruffing said.

Ruffing said she and Owens have had some other unexpected expenses recently and although they have some funds available for Duke’s treatment, they could use the public’s support.

Habitat for Hounds has set up a fund for Duke at Habitat for Hounds, c/o Funding for Duke, Rear 805 Luray Ave., Johnstown, Pa., 15904.

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