COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Kimber was more than a dog to the Berkbueglers.
“She’s my everything,” Kimber’s owner, Lauren, said. “We got her when she was super young and had a bond from the get-go.”
The 3-year-old rottweiler gave birth to a litter of puppies in May. Weeks later, the family decided to take her to Bear Creek Park as a treat.
“We went out to play on July 19th,” Lauren said. “It’s the only time we had gone out.”
However, Lauren says Kimber started to change after their park visit.
“We saw rapid weight loss, vomiting, and sores that didn’t heal,” Lauren said. “She drooled excessively.”
She took Kimber to the vet, but they didn’t know what was wrong.
Meanwhile, Kimber’s condition kept worsening.
“She disintegrated from a 90-pound dog to a 60-pound dog in two weeks,” Lauren said.
On August 15, she took Kimber to East Springs Animal Hospital. A blood test confirmed Kimber had contracted pythiosis, a rare fungal infection found in stagnant water or soils.
Doctors told Lauren dogs can get pythiosis by drinking water, or through breaks in their skin.
“The doctors found lesions on her esophagus and stomach,” Lauren said.
After her diagnosis, the family decided it was best to put Kimber down.
Lauren believes Kimber got pythiosis after their trip at Bear Creek Park.
She says, at the time, Kimber had an open wound in her paw and could have ingested the water too.
“It’s a bizzare coincidence that it happened,” Lauren said.
Lauren told her doctor about her suspicion and the doctor told her to call the park. Lauren was told by Bear Creek Park on Facebook that the county had been notified.
In the meantime, she is asking other dog owners to be on the lookout.
“Just be mindful, be smart if your dog is kind of sick and has a wound, don’t take them out,” Lauren said.
FOX21 reached out to the county and to Bear Creek Park, but haven’t heard back.