Received: Wed Jul 07, 2010 from Ellen Parks
When I adopted Bartley nearly two years ago, I had no idea that the twitch he exhibited at every moment was a symptom of distemper. When I took him in to the vet for routine immunizations only a couple of months after I adopted him, I was told this information, and I also learned that he was heart worm positive. We immediately started preparing him for heart worm treatment, and I was told by several
That summer, (2009) the people I adopted him from contacted me. They told me that the other dogs they rescued with Bartley, were all coming down with distemper. They told me what symptoms to look out for, and described to me the procedure that Dr. Sears had developed. Of course I already knew he had distemper, and because of what other vet’s had told me, I was skeptical. Still, I became very worried, so I took Bartley’s previous owners’ advice, and contacted the vet that had performed the procedure on their other dogs. At the time, this vet felt that Barltey was stable and not progressing, so she recommended that I come back if and when he started showing other signs, such as fly biting episodes or seizures. I left hoping it would never come to that.
Sadly, this past June, Bartley started having fly-biting episodes. Over a two week period, he had three episodes, and he progressively spent more time in a disoriented state. His facial twitching become much more severe as well. When I took him in to Dr. Zilkha here in Austin, Texas, she felt certain he had Canine Distemper, and had already performed the procedure on nearly 30 dogs. We wasted no time. She checked on his immune system, to see make sure his chances of responding to the treatment were good, and then Bartley went in to the receive the serum both intravenously and via spinal tap. Dr. Z did a wonderful job. Bartley woke up the next morning without even the slightest headache! Soon after the treatment, she told me that the CSF came back positive for distemper antibodies, so Bartley’s distemper was confirmed.
Since the procedure, he has not had a single fly-biting episode or had moments of disorientation. Even his twitch is less severe. I feel so fortunate that Dr. Sears developed this procedure, and that the people I
adopted Bartley from read about it, and took the time to convince Dr. Z to try it on their dogs. For dogs who have strong enough immune systems, I believe this procedure works. It certainly did for Bartley. Please share his story with anyone you know who has a dog that is sick with distemper.