Skeptics and Allies

Progress continues to move forward on the long-awaited book on about Dr. Alson Sears and his treatments for canine distemper. A first draft was finished last summer, and I have been systematically circulating drafts and excerpts of the book to those who played a part in his story. The manuscript is not ready to go out into the world — yet — but it is evolving. What slows me down is that I am also an entrepreneur and my game-design business frequently sucks up all my time.

In my ongoing research, I came across two videos which I had watched years ago. They are essential viewing for anyone trying to save a distemper dog. They represent a break from the previous mindset that distemper dogs cannot be saved and that euthanasia is the most humane option. The experts in these videos disagree. They believe it is possible to save dogs from canine distemper. It may take 2-3 months, but if the vets, owners and shelters can put in the work, many of these dogs can survive. However, they don’t necessarily endorse the NDV treatments. They remain skeptical because scientific trials have not yet proven that they work.

I admire anyone who believes dogs can be saved from canine distemper. This reminds me that someone does not have to completely agree with you in order to be on the same side. You can be allies and skeptics at the same time.

These videos also answer important questions about the diagnosis, care and survival of distemper dogs. So, I encourage everyone to watch these. (When you have about 2 hours)

Dr. Ellen Jefferson
Executive Director of Austin Pets Alive

At Maddie’s Institute Shelter Medicine Conference at the University of Florida
October 2, 2012

Dr. Cynda Crawford presents “Everything Shelters Need to Know About Canine Distemper.”
In this presentation, you will learn: – The basics of the canine distemper virus (CDV) – Risk factors contributing to the frequency of canine distemper outbreaks in shelters – How to create a clean break between infected/exposed dogs and new admissions without resorting to depopulation – More rules and tools for lifesaving intervention during shelter outbreaks – Current best practices to mitigate risks of outbreaks in both open and managed admission shelters – The role of vaccination, antibody titer testing and housing – How to communicate with community members and the media about outbreaks and prevention
Apr 9, 2014

As I explain in the book, I do not have the means to prove NDV will save dogs from canine distemper. But I offer a prediction:

If the NDV treatments could be put to the test under proper scientific controls and standards, they would show:

  • a significantly shorter course of the disease
  • fewer cases reaching the neurological stage
  • a significantly higher survival rate.
  • fewer long-term symptoms
  • shorter period of being contagious/lower risk of infecting other dogs

In short, we think we can help make the job easier for the vets, owners, shelters and rescue groups who are willing to give these dogs a chance.

— Ed Bond
Jan. 4, 2018

All we ask

Six years after filming this video, the goal remains the same.

All we have asked is for the scientific community to at least give these treatments a look. Test them out to your satisfaction and see if they could work. All it takes is the right person in the right place to get it rolling.

I am not a scientist or a vet, so I cannot prove it for you. But after working on this as a volunteer and compiling information from dog owners, vets and rescue groups for the past 8 years, I believe it is worth a full scientific investigation.

Ed Bond

Jan 2, 2017

Distemper dogs 2016

A look back on some of the distemper dogs, loved and remembered, saved and lost in 2016. #distemperdogs

Distemper study concludes

So, we’ve heard from Dr. Ken Harkin at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

He’s been running a study on the effectiveness of the NDV spinal tap on dogs in the neurologic stage of canine distemper.

He wanted us to let our followers know:


1) That the study has concluded, meaning that if people want their dogs treated at Kansas State, they will need to pay out of pocket.

2) That he will not be treating distemper dogs with myoclonus — spasmodic jerky contraction of muscles. But he would still consider treatment in other cases without myoclonus because he believes those are most likely to respond.

3) He will be publishing his insights on CDV infections at a later date.

We are grateful for Dr. Harkin’s willingness to investigate the potential of NDV to treat canine distemper. And it sounds like he may have helped answer one question that has long perplexed us. With the NDV spinal tap in neuro distemper cases, some dogs would make remarkable recoveries and some would not. The success rate seemed to be under 50 percent. According to Dr. Harkin, it appears that the dogs with myoclonus do not respond to the treatment. Those without myoclonus are more likely to respond, but they were too small a number in the study to make any conclusion. But this absence of myoclonus had been the case with Nilla, a dog from South Dakota, which was the first to be successfully treated at Kansas State

Dr. Harkin says: “I am still happy to speak to clients about their dogs with distemper.  ….  I will still consider doing the NDV therapy in specific cases, but in my experience it isn’t the holy grail for CDV.”

We look forward to seeing Dr. Harkin’s completed study.

Here is the original post about the study.

– Ed Bond


Response to a skeptic

So, a dog owner I’ve corresponded with sent me this link and asked me to respond:

I’d encourage you to read the post. I like Dr. Chris Bern because he is a skeptic. I consider myself a skeptic myself. I spent 25 years in journalism and that’s pretty much our stance with everything. If you want me to believe something, you have to show me yourself. Unlike others who might dismiss a cure for distemper out of hand, Dr. Bern actually took the time to read our report about the effectiveness of NDV. So, that’s how skeptics should work. But I think he missed some key points.

Let me just say right off, that I absolutely respect any vet who does not want to use an unpublished treatment. And if you are not interested in hearing about how Dr. Alson Sears found a cure for canine distemper, I will respect that and leave you alone. However, other vets who were probably tired of routinely euthanizing distemper dogs gave the treatments a try and wrote back to tell me how it went.

I compiled those numbers into that report. At no point do I call this a scientific study. However, I did refer to the 2003 study by Dr. Kim Hee-Young in Korea. But at no point do I claim to be a scientist, a doctor or a veterinarian. At no point do I claim to have proven there is a cure for canine distemper. As I say in the report, “We do not claim here that we have proven this cure, but we consider these treatments to be at least encouraging and worth further investigation.”

I am not a scientist, but I am a former journalist, and I can compile information and tell you the facts I have found. In 1997, my dog Galen was dying of distemper. My sister took him to see Dr. Alson Sears, who treated him. Galen came back to us two days later happy and healthy. Now, I know that one incident is not enough to prove a cure. I know I don’t have the test reports and other specifics of the case to further verify that one case. At the time, I was not planning on campaigning for this cause. But as far as I was concerned, my dog’s life had been saved.

I put Galen’s story up on my website,, but was determined to not get further involved than that. People found out about Dr. Sears. Some were able to get to his clinic and some wrote back to me to say their dog had been saved from distemper too. “That’s nice,” I thought to myself.

The turning point came in 2008, after Dr. Sears had been retired for a couple of years. A woman in Romania contacted me and asked if her vet could use the protocols from Dr. Sears, which I had posted to the website. “Sure,” I said. I forgot all about that until 4 months later when she contacted me through Facebook to say her vet had used the serum to save at least 5 dogs at that point.

That was when the light bulb went on. I may not be a scientist, but I remember enough from college biology class to know that scientific results need to be repeatable by other scientists. A veterinarian from the other side of the world had taken Dr. Sears’ protocol off my website, followed them and had the same results.

This was significant to me. But at the time I was just a copy editor for a newspaper in Upstate New York. Science writers who I contacted wouldn’t look at it because it was unpublished. Vet schools wouldn’t give me the time of day. But as an individual person, I still had the power of speech and I could harness the then-emerging power of social media. I pushed it out into the world everywhere I could. I asked dog owners to record and videotape their dogs before and after treatment and tell me their stories. I asked vets to send me updates on how the treatments went for them.  This all became the reports, videos and stories that fill the Kind Hearts In Action website.

At least 23 veterinarians around the world reported to me that they could repeat Dr. Sears’ work.

And yes, none of this is scientific. This is all anecdotal. The whole point of all of this was to get the attention of those in the scientific community and get someone to realize this would be worth a study. I believe that if this could be put to the test — especially in treating the early stages of distemper — it would show that the lives of dogs could be saved.

At the very least, I believe the veterinary community should end the routine euthanization of distemper dogs. Yes, in many cases, the neurologic problems are too severe to overcome and euthanization is the kindest thing you can do. But even if you don’t believe NDV is saving these dogs, I can still point to hundreds of examples of distemper dogs where it was definitely worth the effort to try. That is the point of our We Love #DistemperDogs campaign.  Slideshow.

I have a book on canine distemper from the 1920s. That book tells the story of veterinarians who at the time were desperate to defeat canine distemper. They were either trying to find a cure or find a vaccine.

They eventually found a vaccine. So they forgot about finding a cure. My assumption is that with the vaccine, the veterinarians at the time considered a cure unnecessary because the vaccine would control the disease. But distemper is very different from the small pox vaccine. Small pox could be eliminated from the world because it only affected one population, humans. Distemper can exist in other canids and it keeps spreading. New cases, year after year. I get emails from all over the world telling me how devastating a problem it is.

So, as important the vaccine is — yes, always get your dog vaccinated — it has only partially defeated distemper. An effective treatment is needed.

However, somehow the narrative changed from when the vaccine was developed in 1950. Rather than, “a cure is not needed.” It became “a cure for canine distemper is impossible.”

Yes, it is a bold claim that a cure for canine distemper is possible. Yes, it is a bold claim that there is some unknown process caused by NDV that can defeat the distemper virus. But you just sitting there saying it’s bold doesn’t prove that it is not there. You won’t know if it is there unless you check it out for yourself. That’s what a true skeptic would do.

Alas, I cannot prove it to you. I am not a scientist. I am, after all, still just an ordinary guy running websites and answering email. I do not have the money, resources, connections and experience to run a proper study on this. But with all due respect, I know this:

Veterinarians around the world have patients that are sick and will die.

Somebody should do should do something about it.

Ed Bond


P.S. As to the implication that this is snake oil and I am just a P.T. Barnum looking to con people, I have to say that as a newspaper reporter, I once chased a con artist out of town. Con artists usually keep changing their story. They want the money as soon as possible. They don’t stick around very long to answer questions.

Kind Hearts In Action is a 501c3 non-profit. We have been active with this status since 2009. You can look it up. We never require any money for the help we offer. Donations are gratefully accepted, but I would never twist anyone’s arm for money. I would never ask for money from someone who is desperate and in the middle of crisis. Frankly, if we get enough to keep the website and social media going, I’m happy. If people share their stories and tell others about what is happening here, all the better.

I’ve been doing this for about 7 years now. I do this for no pay, and every morning when I get to my computer there are more emails from people asking for help. But it is because I also get emails from people thanking me for helping to save their dogs that I keep doing this. If there had been no successes, I would not have done this for very long.

Check out our other stories here:

Distemper dogs treated with NDV




The #lovedistemperdogs campaign #distemperdogs

Here’s all the photos we have received — so far — in the #lovedistemperdogs campaign #distemperdogs

Go to the Save Dogs From Canine Distemper Facebook page to see the original posts.

@distemperdogs on Twitter

To join the campaign, post to Facebook or Twitter with #distemperdogs or email me at

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We love #distemperdogs


We’re asking all of our followers and anyone who cares about the cause of canine distemper to make a sign like this one, using a photo of the distemper dog you’ve had in your life and add words like “We loved (or love) our distemper dog.” Take a picture of yourself holding up the sign.

Add a hashtag on the photo #distemperdogs and post it to the Save Dogs From Distemper Facebook page or if you are on Twitter, tweet it to @distemperdogs with the hashtags #distemperdogs and #dogs. Or you can email it to me at, and I can post them for you.

If your distemper dog is still alive, put him or her in the picture.

The point is we know there are hundreds, probably thousands of dogs dying of distemper all over the world. But the scientists, researchers and veterinarians are not aware of what a big problem it is.

No one tracks how many dogs die of distemper each year because it is not a reportable disease. This will be an undeniable way of showing how many people care about this disease.

Our goals:

  • To end the systematic euthanasia of distemper dogs. This has shut down an interest in research into finding effective treatments.
  • To promote research into effective treatments and methods of saving distemper dogs.
  • To promote education among veterinarians to recognize distemper cases and to learn which treatments help.

We need to demonstrate this is a HUMAN issue as well as a dog problem. Not only are thousands of dogs dying of this disease, it is causing heartache and grief to the countless human companions to these animals.

One photo may not make a difference. But what about thousands?

— Ed Bond

March 7, 2016




A VIP distemper survivor needs a home

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I first heard about Nilla late on a Friday night in May 2012.

I must admit, even for me, the situation looked bleak.

This beloved border collie belonged to the son of a pastor/farmer in South Dakota. She was already deep into the neurologic stage of distemper, crippled and blind. They were also thousands of miles from the any of the vets who were using the Newcastle Disease Vaccine treatments. Also, it was the beginning of the weekend. Who would be open?

But that did not deter Clark Audiss. With unbridled determination and a deep faith, Clark made phone calls and drove far and wide until he found a source of NDV and a place willing to perform the NDV spinal tap. Nilla was treated at Kansas State Vet School and very quickly recovered her sight. Over the next few months, she began to crawl, to walk, to run and even jump over obstacles. Her case is what inspired the current study of the NDV spinal tap at Kansas State Vet School.

Nilla has been living a good life with the Audiss family. She has occasional bouts of seizures brought on by changes in the weather, but anti-seizure medication helps keep that under control.

However, the family is moving and cannot bring Nilla along. None of the rental opportunities in their new town allow pets.

She needs a home, somewhere with people who will love her and understand her key role in the campaign to save dogs from distemper.  We don’t want to lose track of Nilla. Kansas State would not want to lose track of her either. When she dies, the school would want to study her brain.

If you would like to give Nilla a new home, you can contact Clark Audiss. His contact information is below.


Here is an email from Clark

Hello Ed,

I enjoyed visiting with you yesterday and catching up on the progress made in studying the NDV treatment.  As I mentioned, we have accepted a new position as pastor of a small church and it appears we will be in a rent situation.  Because it is a small town, rent opportunities are very limited and all we have seen currently say “no pets”.  Nilla’s amazing story has touched so many people and we cannot just let her go without knowing she is in a loving home and being well cared for.  I am tearing up as I type these words…, “She is family”!  Thank you for all you have done for Nilla and thank you for offering to help find her a good home.  Jen and I are praying for the day when all the studies and all the research verify what we already know….there is hope and there is a cure!


Clark & Jennifer Audiss

Clark A. Audiss

Evangelism & Discipleship Pastor

Calvary Church

1210 S. Hwy 15, PO Box 549

Milbank, SD 57252


UPDATE: 12/19/2015

Good morning Ed,

We have found a home for Nilla!  She will be staying here in SD with a friend of my wife’s sister.  Thanks for all your help (:



Dogs needed for distemper study


Dogs with distemper suffering from the neurologic stage of the disease are being sought for a study into a promising treatment at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Made possible because of a grant from Maddie’s Fund, the study aims to document the effects of the NDV spinal tap in dogs where the distemper virus has attacked the nervous system. In this procedure, a small amount of Newcastle Disease Vaccine is injected into the spinal canal. The NDV spinal tap had been performed at Kansas State in May 2012 on a distemper dog that had been paralyzed and blind and subsequently regained its ability to see, walk and run. At least 10 dogs are needed to complete this study.

The grant will cover the costs of the treatment and related tests for participating dogs.

To be eligible for this study, the dogs should:

  • Be in the neurologic stage of canine distemper, which includes symptoms such as involuntary muscle tics, twitches, spasms, seizures, paralysis or blindness.
  • Be able to be brought to Kansas State University for treatment and returned for an evaluation 3-4 months later. If that return visit does not happen, the owner would be charged for the full cost of the treatment and tests.
  • Kansas State would also have to confirm that this is a case of neurologic distemper and meets other criteria for their study before they proceed.

Also, animal shelters with dogs in the neurologic stage of distemper would be welcome to participate.

If you are interested in this program, contact Dr. Ken Harkin at 785-532-5690.

— Ed Bond

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2016: Distemper study concludes


Mexico City veterinarian using NDV serum to fight distemper


We are always glad to hear about more vets picking up the NDV treatments, but I was especially gladden to read this email from Dr. Enrique Quiroz of Mexico City”

“We are Servican DF in Mexico City; we’ve had the opportunity of contacting you in the past. I’m glad to get in touch with you again.
“I’m very proud to say that we’ve been having great success since we’ve been implementing Dr. Sears’ serum beginning 2012, with around 40 cases, of which some of them we have documented on film so you can watch them and perhaps upload to your webpage.
“Since I no longer have my office, I’m basically working at my home or the dog owner’s. This has worked wonders for our purposes, because the treatment is better received by the animals when they’re at their home and we can avoid having cases of immunosuppression.
“For all cases we have solved, we’ve made viral tests by immunofluorescence from blood so we are certain that we are fighting a viral disease like distemper, and we discard any other cases.
“We are very interested in being a reference for people who contact to you from in Mexico City, so please, if you consider appropriate, it would be kind of you if you could mention our info on your webpage so we can continue spreading the good news about your effective treatment for distemper and help so many dogs in our city.”


Dr. Enrique Quiroz, M.V.Z.
Servican DF
ph. 55 4681-4306
cell. 55 4324-9647

Contact me for other info about vets in Mexico or elsewhere around the world at

— Ed Bond

Here are videos about one of Dr. Quiroz’s cases: