Otis and Olive recover from distemper

en español

Jan. 27, 2011
Hi Ed,
Today one of my little foster puppies was diagnosed with Distemper.  Being the person that I am I immediately began reading everything I could find online.  Your name and Dr. Sears came up again and again.  I am hoping you can give me a little advice and hopefully ease my fears.  I’ll start from the beginning.  I foster with a local rescue who pulls animals from the euthansia lists at local shelters.  A few weeks ago a litter of 3 +/- wk old puppies came into our program.  There were 9 total and I offered to foster 2 who I named Olive & Otis.  They were fat little babies who took their bottles with no problem, then graduated to gruel and eventually to kibble.  No problems whatsoever.  They were progressing nicely both had learned to sit, were totally crate trained and had started housetraining.  They went in for their shots last Tuesday when they were 6 wks and received a glowing bill of health.  Then Monday I noticed Otis had eyeboogers when he woke up and sneezed a few times.  So I called the vet fearing it could be the beginning of a URI.  Otis was started on Doxycyclene (sp?) and as a precaution so was Olive.  But Otis continued to decline and he began to have a runny nose and cough.  I also noticed the nasal discharge had blood in it.  So Wednesday I brought him in to see the doctor who informed me it was most likely Distemper.  Otis was given the Newcastle vaccine, subq fluids and started on Zithromax.  I was sent home with the fluids to be administered at least twice a day and a nebulizer to be done at least 4 times a day.  I have him set up in my spare bathroom now.  Every 4 hours I am turning on the steam shower for 20 minutes then nebulizing him for 20 minutes.  The steam seems to help him and he perks up a little.  I made him some organic chicken soup which he gobbled up.  So far his bowels are good and he’s still wagging his little tail.  I feel like he’s on the right path, however I am concerned about his sister Olive and my own dog Zoe.  Zoe is a 12 yr old Husky who is completely vaccinated and healthy so I’m not as worried about her.  But Olive is just a baby and up until the vet told us Otis had distemper they shared a crate and were together 24/7.  I’m so afraid it’s not a matter of IF but WHEN and would love to hear any suggestions you have for managing 2 puppies at different stages of this horrible disease.  And if you would suggest giving Olive the Newcastle even if she is not showing symptoms yet?  Is there anything I can give my older dog just to boost her immune system?  While I’m confident she is safe from Distemper, I’m concerned about the other things like URI she might be exposed to.
Thank you,
Cresta Rumery
Austin, Texas

Feb. 14, 2011

I wanted to send you an update on Otis & Olive.  It’s been a few weeks since we’ve corresponded and so much has changed. …  Olive & Otis were given the NDV at 7 wks and we’ve had really good results.  Olive’s decreased appetite & activity level improved within days of receiving it and she showed no further symptoms at all.  Otis had pretty severe upper respiratory issues but it never progressed into the digestive or neurological symptoms.  It was as though the disease was stopped in it’s tracks at whatever stage it was in when the vaccine was given and it was just a matter of overcoming the symptoms of that stage. Olive was adopted this past week by a lovely family and is doing very well in her new home.  Otis is still here with me.  He is almost completely symptom free at this point the only thing we are seeing is the occasional sneeze.  He is still on antibiotics and supplements but he’s improved so much over the past 3 wks it’s amazing.

I’d love for you to post my comments on your website.  Especially if you think it will help others who are going through this feel better and give them hope to keep fighting.  I only have early pictures of Olive from before they got sick since once she was in the clear I sent her to another foster.  I have tons of Otis though!  I’m including his before, during and after pics as well as a video of him I took the other night.  The video is hilarious!  Especially when you consider that for the past few days he’s been doing this every night from about 3 to 5 a.m.  =)

Cresta Rumery

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