feline case and the first canine case presented were evaluated about 15
years ago. At this time Dr. Dunn was just beginning to be aware
of Morgellons Disease and since then more in-depth history and images
have been acquired.
View Dr. Ginger Savely's current book on Morgellons Disease and her years
of patient care of MD patients.
View a PowerPoint
presentation Dr. Dunn gave at the
11th Annual Morgellons Conference in Austin,
TX, April, 2018.
|MORGELLONS DISEASE IN DOGS|
| A 5 year old Golden retriever was
afflicted with several
non-healing, slightly crusty ulcerations at the junction of the toe
pads and skin. While at work one day I walked past a different
veterinarian's patient and owner who were waiting for a summary of the
attending doctor's dianosis. Being curious I questioned the owner
about the Golden retriever's skin trouble. I offered to make an
impression smear on a glass
slide of the ulcerated skin and examine it "just for curiosity's
As I walked away I happened to see a sparkle
of reflected light
at the edge of the toe ulcer. Hmmm...must be tiny glass particles
that's why this ulcer isn't healing! I had the diagnosis, but
to probe more and so obtained an impression smear and several pieces of
crusty material from the lesion. Interestingly, I observed no
glass particles anywhere near the lesion, Hmmm...
The visual I got through the microscope gave me a new
Ah Ha! Many thin, transparent fibers were seen mixed in with
debris, amorphous crusts, red blood cells, but no white blood cells,
bacteria or yeast which was odd because their absence suggested there
was no active infection present. I concluded these strange fibers
varying diameter, reflectivity, and color were carpet fibers that
embedded themselves into the healing ulceration and were the reason the
healing was delayed due to their irritating the tissues. Carpet
Yup, that's it. Got the diagnosis now.
Except why or how were they surrounded by
healing tissue, and why
did the dog's owner discard carpet fibers as a possibility due to the
dog's restricted activity in the home environment. Hmmm... now
puzzled, until a memory came to mind of a TV Special I saw years before
about a strange
disease of humans where they asserted mysterious filaments or
fibers were "growing out of my skin." These people were at the
very sick with variously diagnosed ailements such as fibromyalgia and
chronic fatigue syndrome (referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis),
eczema, mental dullness, depression, aches and pains and terrible
frustration about treatment ambiguities for these "worms."
Old Mrs. Bradley, an elderly, reclusive and
somewhat odd lady related
to me whenever she brought her dog in that she, Mrs. Bradley, had worms coming out of
her skin. Old Mrs Bradley always talked about these worms that
were crawling about under and in and out
of her skin.
Well, thanks to Mrs.Bradley my
attention was focused on
that TV special of years prior about Morgellons Disease. "That's what Mrs. Bradley
thought with enlightened surprise. So I saved the specimens
obtained from the Golden retriever,
analyzed them under the microscope, took a few photos just in case I
to show them to the examining doctor, who, as it turned out, was
uninterested in and highly amused by my eccentric enthusiasm for
finding Morgellons fibers in his
patient. Morgellons filaments or
fibers were what were present in the dog's pad ulcer; and somewhere in
another realm Mrs. Bradley was nodding her long, silver-gray,
ponytail-decorated head and smiled as she whispered to me, "See, I told
ya this stuff was real."
These tiny reflective filaments were removed with forceps from the
margins of the skin ulceration. At first visualization the crusts
seemed like ordinary granulation debris from cell death, serum, and
cellular debris accumulation that becomes a scab. The presence of so many
randomly structured filaments were certainly NOT carpet fibers, wool
blanket debris, or hairs. What could they be? Then I
recalled the TV special on Morgellons Disease (MD) I viewed several
years ago and scientific curiosity compelled me to learn what I could
about that human disease with the odd name. (It is pronounced
like more jell uns.)
I kept the images for 15 years before I began to see these filaments
(also referred to as fibers) in
several animals in the course of clinical small animal veterinary
A few microscopic views
of these fibers are displayed below.
patient was unavailable for long term follow-up.
|MORGELLONS DISEASE IN DOGS|
original skin closure failed from a non-infectious cause staples were
used to oppose the skin edges. This image was acquired a week
after the staples were used. The crusty material was viewed under the
microscope and several images are presented for your inspection.
This photo was taken about 21 days post op whereupon the incision (in
the center of the shaved area of the dog's coat) still did not appear
fully healed. There was adequate healing so that the staples
could be removed. Eventually the patient healed, the skin
incision closed and normal fur grew back.
This mixed breed 6 yer old dog had a fibrofatty subcutaneous mass
removed because it was gradually enlarging and
was mildly irritating to the patient. Upon excision and visual
inspection a tiny transparent filament was serendipitously noticed
protruding from the mass.
This section of the otherwise benign
appearing fatty deposit was submitted to a veterinary pathologist for
histopathological evaluation to assess for cancer (neoplasia) or any
other potential causes for the mass.
The pathologist was asked to look
closely for anything that resembled a linear or fiber-like foreign
body. None were found.
| This page is just the
beginning of a resource for pet owners to be aware that Morgellons
Disease can afflict dogs and cats... but as yet we do not know
why. It may be due to resistance of the human and veterinary
medical communities to become enlightened about Morgellons Disease in
humans and animals. Even many Dermatology Specialists have been
swayed by the commonly held position that the symptoms (pain,
scarring, itchiness, and emotional impact of being ignored by
physicians) are caused by a mental disorder.
Many victims of Morgellons Disease (MD) are essentially cast off as
having a delusional mental disorder and are labelled as having
Delusional Parasitosis or Psychosis
Having studied and practiced veterinary medicine for dogs and cats for
over 50 years I have not recognized a case of delusional parasitosis in
dogs or cats. But, just as in human medicine to fail to be
curious about what our patients are showing and telling us is to fail
our Hippocratic Oath. And to supress innate curiosity to learn
something new, something heretofore undiscovered or unexplained, is to
cheat the patient and other scientists who are committed to discovering
how and why these filaments or fibers or foreign bodies inhabit our
patients. Some "scientists" have the attitude that they currently know
all they need to know. New evidence indicates Morgellons Disease
systemic problems without the patient displaying cutaneous ulcers and
sores which, interestingly, seldom become infected by bacteria.
|MORGELLONS DISEASE IN DOGS|
| A 9 month old German Shepard had hip surgery to assist in improving the
long term comfort and function of movement. He had early arthritis due
to hip joint laxity and post operatively the hip began to heal well.
About 7 days post op swelling and discomfort at the surgical site
became apparent and antibiotics were administered. As the days went by
the now purulent (pus} drainage from the incision necessitated opening
the incision to provide drainage and the surgical site was flushed with
For two additional weeks the surgical site made no progress toward
healing; scar tissue was building up and muscle atrophy became apparent
from disuse of the limb. A third surgical intervention revealed a
deep, walled-off abscess at the acetabulum (the socket wherein the head
of the femur rotates).
Microscopic image at medium power
Microscopic image at low power: Fiber embedded in scar tissue just below the dermis.
A 1/2 by 1/4 inch of fibrous,non-healing tissue was
excised from the wall of the open wound which developed in an
attempt to confine the deep abscess. This small section was
cleaned and included a small sample of skin which displays damaged
hairs and root bulbs in an image below. The image on the left
shows one terminus of a fiber/filament dispayed above and the image on
the right displays the other terminus.
| Thorough debridement of dense scar tissue at the surgical sit and removal of disintegrating fat and
connective tissue was accomplished, vigorous flushing, and the use of
strategically placed strong sutures opposed the subcutaneous tissue and
skin. A culture and sensitivity test indicated what antibiotic would
be best against the beta-hemolytic Streptococcal organism that created
the infection in spite of adherance to sterile technique during the
Several tissue samples were obtained during the final surgery and odd
filimentous structures were seen under low and medium power microscopic
examination. Just a few of many photos are displayed in this Case #3.
The patient made an excellent recovery.
Microscopic image at low power
Images above are
additional views of random loci of filamants or fibers that were
embedded in the disorganized tissue at the non-healing surgical site.
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