Morgellons images in petsMORGELLONS DISEASE IN PETS

As a courtesy to viewers who may be uncomfortable looking at surgical procedures or surgical intervention
 to obtain biopsy specimens for analysis we have greyed-over the image. 
To view an origional image simply click on any grayed-over view and all original photos will display.

cat with Morgellons fibers
       A healthy 7 year old female spayed domestic Shorthair cat was presented for evaluation of a small rash or abrasion in the skin of the right flank.  Associated with the rash and directly below it there was a palpable nodular, irregular mass that was not painful nor had the cat with morgellons fiber grayed outcharacter of an abscess.  The mass was excisted and several string-like fibrous strands were visible extending from (or to) the subcutaneous mass along and over the muscle fascia of the lumbar and gluteal muscles.
     The mass and a fiber were excised.  The fiber is seen below; the mass was  evaluated by a vaterinary pathologist and the report indicated a benign fibrous tissue accumualtion and "a linear band of connective tssue" but of unknown importance.The mass was not cancerous nor displayed any signs of infectious processes.  Unfortunately the patient was not available for further follow-up.  The fiber(s) was not sent to the pathologist but retained for inspection and photography.
Morgellons in a cat
cat with morgellons fiber grayed out
Morgellons fibers in a cat
This 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.
Morgellons fiber from a cat.
what are these filiments and fibers

See images of debris, fibers and fuzz balls observed on two house dogs here

     Case #1
     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 sake." 
     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 and that's why this ulcer isn't healing!  I had the diagnosis, but wanted to probe more and so obtained an impression smear and several pieces of crusty material from the lesion.  Interestingly, I observed no tiny glass particles anywhere near the lesion,  Hmmm...
     morgellons fibers in a dogThe visual I got through the microscope gave me a new diagnosis!  Ah Ha!  Many thin, transparent fibers were seen mixed in with cellular 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 of 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 fibers!  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 I'm 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 same time 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 had," I 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 needed 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."
morgellons disease in a dog

Morgellans fibers fronm a dog
     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 practice.

morgellans fibers in the csnine skin morgellons fibers in a dog morgellons fibers in a dog
This patient was unavailable for long term follow-up.


Case #2

morgellons disease in pet dog
When the 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.
morgellons disease in a dog
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.  
morgellons fibers in a dog's skin
fibers and filiments in a dog's skin
Filiments morgellons disease in a dog
      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, depression, 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 By Parasitosis.
     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 can cause systemic problems without the patient displaying cutaneous ulcers and sores which, interestingly, seldom become infected by bacteria.

Case #3
     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 animicrobial solutions.

     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).
One terminal node of the long fiber to the right
Microscopic image at medium power
morgelons filament in a dog
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 surgery.

     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.terminal end of a Morgellon fiber in a dog
Microscopic image at low power
Morgellons fibers in a dog
Morgellons fiber in a dog

Images below are additional views of random loci of filaments or fibers and a fuzzball that were embedded in or on the disorganized skin tissue .
Canine dermal lesion with Morgellons fibers Colored Fibers in a dog
Fuzzball on a dog Morgellons fibers on a dog
A non-healing crusty skin lesion in a
dog that was assumed to be a staphylococcus infection.

No bacteria were visible under
microscopic analysis of the crusts.
Colored fibers within traumatized skin
lesion in a dog.
Crystalline substance surrounding or a part of a fiber. On the right a "Fuzz ball" retrieved from the skin of a dog

See images of debris, fibers and fuzz balls observed on two house dogs here


TJDunn morgellons in pets
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