'Artist' Dog Star Uggie Retires Due to Mystery Illness

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By Brendan Giusti , Christian Post Reporter
February 7, 2012|12:18 am

Uggie the dog is retiring due to a mysterious illness.

Uggie, who co-starred alongside Jean Dujardin in the Oscar-nominated film "The Artist," reportedly has an unknown illness that is causing the canine to shake uncontrollably.

Uggie retires, but the news comes as shocking to fans of the Jack Russell, who likely will call it quits in the business after his Feb. 26 Oscar appearance.

It is a neurological disorder and we've spent thousands on vets' bills trying to figure out what is causing it but the experts don't really know, " trainer Omar Von Muller told The Daily Mail.

Uggie also starred in "Water for Elephants," alongside Reece Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson. The dog was nominated for two Golden Collar Awards for his parts in the two blockbusters.

"It comes and goes and, ironically, it is worse when he's relaxed. When we were filming you could hardly notice it," Muller said.

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"It is a shame this has happened when he is getting the biggest success of his career but we feel the best thing to do is to retire him after the Oscars," the trainer added.

Some shaking is normal for the breed, but Uggie's shaking is abnormal according to reports.

"This is beyond what is normal for the breed but all the vets can tell us, after all the scans and tests, is that it is neurological and he is not suffering," Muller said.

It is unclear how the mystery illness will impact his Oscar perfomance.

The dog is expected to open the Oscar's alongside Billy Crystal.

Uggie's brother Dash may end up filling in for parts previously played by Uggie.

Uggie's trainers always maintain that the dog's work was a choice, according to reports.

"We don't force our dogs to do this," co-trainer Sarah Clifford said. "And it always has to be fun for them. Uggie's still enjoying it but he's getting up there and he's slowing down a little."

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