The Brush Border Smear

en español

The symptoms of the early stages of distemper include:

  • Gunky/runny nose
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry/cracking nose
  • Dry/cracking pads of feet
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fever

However, not all dogs get all of these symptoms, nor do they get them in any particular order. And there are other diseases that can easily mimic distemper. The problem is that by the time the vet sends out samples to a lab to check for distemper antibodies, the disease will have advanced too far for the NDV-induced serum to do the job it is designed to do. Dogs must be treated with the serum before going through the sixth day of symptoms to give the animal the best chance of survival and to avoid the neurologic stage of the disease.

You need a diagnosis, but you also need to act fast in case this is distemper. Dr. Sears recommends sending blood samples to the lab anyway, but still to treat immediately as if it is distemper because if you’re right, you have saved the dog. If you’re wrong and it is not distemper, the NDV treatment does not harm the dog.

From Dr. Sears:

“The best test for rapidly diagnosing ACUTE distemper is to do what is called a brush border smear of the cells of the lining of the bladder. These cells ALWAYS have inclusions if distemper is present. So, easy to collect, easy to stain (quick dip) and instantly diagnosed inclusions in these cells are carmine red and para nuclear. These inclusions will NOT be present in long term distemper cases.

“Any medical person can tell you how to get cells from the bladder. Urinary catheter. Empty bladder, flush with saline and collect some of the last saline. Spin down the saline and remove the cells. Place on slide and dry stain with diff-quick. Very common stain used by most medics or lab people who use medical microscopy. Everyone? I should hope so. Very fast, very cheap, very accurate for Dx of distemper. If present then Distemper. If negative, then either Kennel Cough or Respiratory Herpes. or Toxoplasmosis.”

BREAKING NEWS: On Oct. 11, 2011, a much more reliable lab test for distemper was announced, which can tell whether distemper antibodies are caused by an active infection rather than from a recent inoculation. This would probably still take a matter of days to get an answer back, but it would be a way of confirming the disease after the dog has been treated.

Copyright © 2011 Kind Hearts In Action Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Comments

  1. i had two rottweilers one i had to put down because they said she had distemper and there was no cure for it and know her brother just recently started twitching from his ear we were wondering if you could help us please we suffered when we had to but our little puppy down and know again

Trackbacks

  1. […] This is why the serum can be more effective: because the NDV is injected into a healthy dog of a breed known to make the immune response, which is then withdrawn and used to treat the sick animal. It is with vets who already have the serum on hand that the most success has been seen. The timely diagnosis of distemper in dogs is also critical in saving lives. This is why Dr. Sears came up with a quick and reliable test for distemper by checking the cells of the bladder in what is called a Brush Border Smear. […]

  2. […] The serum can be more effective because the NDV is injected into a healthy dog of a breed known to make the immune response, which is then withdrawn and used to treat the sick animal. It is with vets who already have the serum on hand that the most success has been seen. The timely diagnosis of distemper in dogs is also critical in saving lives. This is why Dr. Sears came up with a quick and reliable test for distemper by checking the cells of the bladder in what is called a Brush Border Smear. […]