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'Swamp People' Star -- Bad Heart Threatens Career

7/18/2011 3:25 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

The most beloved star of the hit reality show "Swamp People" is in danger of missing Season 3 after a serious heart condition almost took his life earlier this year ... TMZ has learned.


It's not Troy ... or Trapper Joe ... or the badass Guist Brothers -- it's Bruce Mitchell's faithful sidekick Tyler ... the lovable gator hunting dog.

TMZ spoke to a rep for Bruce -- the guy who rocks the overalls and the American flag bandana -- who tells us Tyler was having "heart troubles" back in January ... and had to be rushed to the vet for emergency medical care.

We're told things got so bad "the dog almost died."  
Luckily for Tyler, doctors were able to treat the illness ... and he's been resting at home and taking heart meds ever since.  
The rep tells us Bruce is unsure if Tyler will be able to join him on the boat next season ... saying Bruce is "hopeful...but still not sure."



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Thank you Hope! like i said, i live in Pierre Part LA. I get sick to death of people saying stupid things about us swamp folk. We're happy just the way that we are. Hard workers, family oriented, & not as judgmental as some of these a**holes on here. If you don't like what you see, then change the channel. I am glad that they're showing these guys for who they are, & that they're trying to show others our way of life. As for the comments about being horrible people because they hunt Gators, they are doing it for a living to support their families the same way that it's always been done down here. They are also doing everyone else a favor by eliminating some of the gator population. Here in Pierre Part (where Troy is from), we have the basin as well as a bay, lake, mini river, & Bayou. We are technically an island, because the only 2 ways to get in our small town is to cross bridges over water. So needless to say, the gator population is down right crazy. When you're in a boat, they can be seen everywhere. These are dangerous animals. They sell them for their meat & hides. So how does that make it any different than some butcher farms for cows? It's not cruelty. These aren't puppy dogs people.

1190 days ago


That’s pretty sad. If anything good can come from this story, it’ll be that the Eminem look alike will get noticed by the real Slim Shady and Marshal Mathers will take Tyler’s place next season.

1190 days ago


it's not troy's dog -- but feel free to make up more stories for TMZ

1190 days ago


my 5 year old adores all the guys on the show.She can imitate their accents perfectly.Hope Tyler makes a full recovery.These are hard working men and women.I respect what they do.Without them the alligators would be killing your children or you.Stop being so liberal and learn some respect for a change.

1190 days ago


Get better, Tyler!

1190 days ago


I never said it was. Can you read? I mentioned him to show where I am from.. Gees..

1190 days ago


But feel free to be an ignorant douche..

1190 days ago


I hope no one twisted an ankle jumping to all of those well-informed, non-judgemental conclusions about Tyler's condition or the people from this particular region.

With the comments made from some of youe, one would think that the rest of the US doesn't have "outcasts." Surely Los Angeles and New York City are totally without "uncivilized" people. Those kinds of people must only live in backwards areas like Louisiana, right? Interestingly enough, you've managed to prove your ignorance while accusing others of ignorance. Wait...what's the definition of "hypocritical" again?

Meanwhile, DatDogBitez said "You realize that to treat heartworms, you're putting PESTICIDE directly into your dog's system? Would you ever consider doing that to your child? In a healthy dog, with good food and abundant exercise, heartworms are rarely a fatal problem, in spite of all the propaganda your vet has been fed -- who then regurgitates it to you, the tender-heated consumer."

Propaganda works both ways. The only thing that makes you different from the vet is that you're arguing opposing points. People are capable of making informed decisions without persuasion, and not every issue is black or white. For instance...

Due to its climate and abundance of waterways, South Louisiana is rife with mosquitos; therefore, the risk of infection is exceptionally high. Yes, heartworm preventative is a pesticide, but the treatment for heartworms is far more toxic and dangerous. Using preventative regularly is safer than risking infection and treatment later. Not only is the treatment far more toxic, but the risk of blood clots increases as dead sections of the worms break off into the blood stream. If a dog in treatment becomes active somehow and blood flow increases, the dead worm segment can create a fatal blockage.

Animal shelters and rescue organizations in this region are stunned when an incoming dog tests negative for heartworms. Does infection occur because no one in South Louisiana uses preventative? No, it's simple math--more mosquitos=higher infection rate. Sometimes dogs become infected despite how vigilant their owners have been in giving monthly preventative. Should more people in the area learn more about heartworms? Of course. Whether you give preventative or don't give preventative, there's a risk; however, the benefits outweigh the risks in this instance.

Although it's a treatment, not a preventative measure, if you had cancer but had a good chance at survival with treatment, would you choose to forego chemo or radiation because they are dangerous? Or, in this instance, does the benefit outweigh the risk?

1189 days ago


Get better soon Tyler. We love you and next season wouldn't be the same without you and Bruce togather

1189 days ago

Jaleasa W.    

I hope Tyler gets well. I absolutely love Swamp People and I would like to see Tyler back on the boat with Bruce.

1189 days ago


Either the story I read was abbreviated or something . Nowhere in the story I read did it say the dog had heart worms . Dogs can have heart conditions not related to heart worms.

1189 days ago


I sure hope Tyler gets well! I feel so bad for Bruce, my dogs are also my best and most faithful friends!

1188 days ago


Hope Tyler gets better Bruce and love the show...ya'll stop being mean...everybody has "inbreds" in their families, like it or :P

1187 days ago


I do not know why (Yankee,s ) have to call people in louisiana Stupid-morons-inbred...ect....I lived in Louisiana Port Allen area for 15 years and Cajuns have more common sense and culture and Good Heart ! I say anything west of Texas and north of Louisiana and what ever are unpatriotic anal yuppie commie..., Jag offs..., Even sick Seattle washington ! See ya Jag offs. The trans- plant cajun

1182 days ago

david mitchell    

If you read the newsletter. It says nothing about heart worms. Bruce is my brother. Bruce does take care of his dog. Has always. If my heart gets bad, i hope no one thinks i have heart worms......Tyler says no comment..

1182 days ago
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