The Shiba Inu behind the viral “Doge” meme has been diagnosed with liver disease and a type of blood cancer, according to her owner Atsuko Sato.
In an Instagram post
on Monday, Sato announced that her dog, known to her family as Kabosu and to the internet as “Doge,” had stopped eating and drinking on her own on Christmas Eve.
Sato revealed in a follow-up post on Wednesday that Kabosu has been diagnosed with acute cholangiohepatitis, a type of liver disease, and chronic lymphoma leukemia, a type of blood cancer.
Sato shared that jaundice has appeared, but taking antibiotics will improve Kabosu’s condition. She added that Kabosu has regained her appetite and can now drink water again.
Sato, who lives with Kabosu in Sakura, a city in Japan’s Chiba prefecture, wrote in a blog post on Dec. 21 that her pet was not moving around a
s much as she used to.
Kabosu was adopted in November 2008 from an animal shelter.
The 17-year-old dog was named Kabosu after the Japanese citrus of the same name due to her round face.
“She was a pedigreed dog from a puppy mill, and when the puppy mill closed down, she was abandoned along with 19 other Shiba dogs. Some of them were adopted, but the rest of them were killed,” Sato said. “Her face is very round just like kabosu. I thought the name was perfect, so I kept it.”
The Shiba Inu rose to fame after Sato shared a picture of the adorable pooch in 2010 that eventually became viral.
A netizen posted the photo of Kabosu on Reddit in October 2010 and referred to her as “Doge.” The online moniker reportedly came from a 2005 episode of the American flash animation web series “Homestar Runner.”
Sato reportedly found out about her pet’s massive online fame through a friend, who discovered Kabosu memes on a news site.
“When I first found out about the Kabosu memes, I was very surprised,” she said. I was terrified at the thought that just one photo I had casually posted on my blog could spread all over the world to places I didn’t know.”
The “Doge” meme usually features Kabosu’s iconic pose with one paw crossed over the other. Around her unamused face are broken English captions, including the ever-so-famous “much wow.”
In December 2013, Kabosu inspired software engineers Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer to create the parody cryptocurrency Dogecoin. Although it reportedly started as a joke, Dogecoin eventually became one of the largest cryptocurrencies by market value, even attracting Twitter CEO Elon Musk.