Meet Mira, the miracle distemper survivor

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This is Mira — short for miracle — the only one of 6 puppies in a litter to survive distemper. By the time her foster mom, Nikki Brannon, contacted us in May, 2 of the pups had already been euthanized. Another was already having non-stop seizures.

The NDV serum was not able to save 2 of the remaining pups, but Mira survived. She is now “thriving and has no signs of infection. How she escaped the damage I can only attribute to her receiving the medicine on time.” writes Nikki. She goes on to say, “I thank you so much for the information needed to save this baby’s life!!!”

You’re welcome. Distemper is a terrible disease and difficult to beat in even the best of circumstances. Not every dog can be saved, but more are saved when owners and caregivers like Nikki are willing to try. We are always thrilled to hear about any dog surviving this disease. They are a hope for the rest of us, that more dogs can be saved.

Thank you, Nikki, for sharing these photos.

Ed Bond
Received July 3, 2015

 

 

Hooray for Pinky!

pinky

Good evening Mr. Bond:

I have good news! Pinky our dog with distemper is about to finalize his treatment with flying colors! On Monday he was given his 3rd shot of the NCD vaccine. The vet is very happy to see the health improvement of Pinky. His white blood count is down,  his scabby nose and eyes are shining as well as his overall skin, he is very active and eating well. If all continues till next week he will be released once and for all and given a thumbs up of recovery. Once again thank you so much. Pinky is also greatful!!

Diana
Río Grande, Puerto Rico

Received June 17, 2015

Feisty distemper survivor living a great life

This week (May 19, 2015) we received this happy update from Sara Matza of Houston about Feisty, a distemper dog we first heard about back in February:

“I contacted you earlier this year regarding Feisty, a homeless man’s dog who contracted distemper. I just want to let you know she miraculously survived thanks to your help and that of those at Westheimer Animal Clinic in Houston Texas. We honestly didn’t know if she would make it even after receiving the serum but so thankfully she did. She is going to remain in my care and is looking at heartworm treatment in the near future now that she is healthy.”

Here is the post from the GoFundMe fundraiser for Fesity:

http://www.gofundme.com/houstonshomeless

And here is Feisty today:

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Fesity, with her new pal Tipp.

After getting NDV serum and the NDV spinal tap, Fesity does have some continuing twitches, but it doesn’t affect her quality of life. Sara adds:

“She definitely is living a great life and loving it. I don’t think she notices her twitches but I worry about them for her … Tipp is our first dog we rescued him June of last year. Long story short we moved to Texas from California (my boyfriend as seen in the pictures, and I) just actually a few days short of a year. We came with no animals but now have a full house of 2 dogs (Tipp and Feisty) and 4 cats whom Feisty loves too! Feisty loves her brother. They play and wrestle and chew toys all day long together until they are too tired. Then they cuddle together.”

More pics of Feisty and Tipp:

fesityfesity_tippfesity_tipp2fesity_tipp3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for this great update, Sara!
— Ed Bond

Message from Istanbul

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This is just an example of the how a simple thing like answering an email can have a big impact, even if you don’t find out until much later. This is also why we are always glad to get updates on how your dog’s recovery is going.

Exactly one year ago today, I received this email from Ecem Sümer:

“I live in Istanbul, Turkey. I rescued a dog from shelter 3 days ago but yesterday found out that he has canine distemper. I feed him with Hill’s a/d. If there is a vet in Istanbul that can cure the disease I’ll be really thankful if you send me the contact info. Thank you.”

As a matter of fact, I did know of a vet in Istanbul who has saved many dogs from distemper. I sent her the contact info and all of the key information about fighting the disease, including the usual warning that “We offer hope, not a guarantee.”

I heard nothing more … until November, when I received this message:

“Hello again
I emailed you in January about my canine distemper puppy. You gave me the name of a Turkish vet Sinem Karslı and we went to her clinic. She cured the disease for a very reasonable price in two weeks. My dog is a very healthy dog, no one can notice that he had distemper. There are no symptoms left. He is just as normal as the other dogs. Thank you very much! He could not be here if it weren’t you. We are really grateful. You are doing an incredible job. I came across the email I sent you back then and got really emotional so I want to send another one to thank you :)”

Just today she sent me some pictures of her dog. Here they are.

This just made my day. Thanks so much for writing!

Ed Bond
Jan. 5, 2015

Duke is back to being a hyper puppy

My husband and I recently adopted a mastiff mix puppy from the shelter. He was first diagnosed with parvo, but he survived. He was originally diagnosed with canine cough, but a couple of days later he

duke before

Duke, while suffering from distemper

was diagnosed with pneumonia and distemper. By the point that he was diagnosed, he was already showing neurological symptoms (forehead twitch). He had discharge from the nose and eyes, would not eat, and was not the happy and energetic puppy that we adopted. I was told by my vet that we would need to put the dog down, and that no dogs survive distemper or if they did then they did not really have distemper. However, I refused to believe that nothing could be done for our puppy. I did some research and found Kind Hearts In Action. Luckily I also found a vet that was not far from us that who performed the Newcastle serum and spinal tap. We called on a Friday and they were able to fit us in that Monday, and they even cancelled all of their appointments that day in order to treat our dog.

He had such a hard life all ready, and even though we only had him a few short weeks, he is our baby. I could not let him go without a fight and trying to do all that I could for him.

duke after

Duke, after treatment

By the time of the surgery, he had developed the jaw twitch in addition to the forehead twitch. We knew that he had less then a 50% chance of surviving, but we had to try. He went through the spinal tap with no complications, and was up and walking almost immediately after (with a little swaying and wobbling). It is two weeks later, and he is back to the hyper puppy that he used to be. He has gained all of the weight back that he lost during that period, and he is loving life. Of course he still has the forehead and jaw twitch, but sometimes they lessen and other times they become more noticeable when he is anxious or nervous. If it were not for the Kind in Hearts Action website, then I would never have heard of the serum and saved our puppy.

Rachael Marshall
Killeen, Texas
Received May 28, 2014

Lucky’s good fortune against distemper

Lucky is a 2 1/2 year old beagle, who was diagnosed with distemper after coughing and expelling saliva. Through the blog, “How My Dog Bailey Survived Distemper,” her owner found a vet who treated her with the NDV-induced serum. Recovery took a few days, and her appetite was helped with some corn syrup added to her the drinking water, but today Lucky is a happy, healthy dog.

Thanks to Farrah Payumo for sending in these videos. For more information, go to Kind Hearts In Action’s website at http://www.kindheartsinaction.com/

From Farrah Payumo,
Manilla, The Philippines
Received Oct. 13, 2013

Chopper is now a healthy and happy dog


Chopper is a two-year old Chihuahua/Husky Mix.  When we rescued Chopper on New Year’s Eve, he immediately went into the Emergency Clinic that night.  The vet diagnosed him with distemper, and recommended returning him to the shelter, or putting him down.  There was no way!  Although, we only had him for a few hours, he was completely wrapped around our hearts!

He was admitted into the emergency clinic for a 36-hour stay until our regular vet re-opened after the Holiday.  He was so sick and so sad.  When he saw our regular vet, she agreed…it appeared to be distemper.

I found www.kindheartsinaction.com online, over the weekend and had to at least TRY the NDV to save Chopper.  We were concerned because he started his serum on Day 7.  Three days after the third injection, Chopper was a different dog!  He was full of energy, jumping, and playing with his new sister, Lucy.

Six months later, and Chopper is a healthy and happy dog!  He is full of energy, and brings us so much happiness.  He and his eight-year old sister, Lucy, are best friends.

In addition to distemper, Chopper tested positive for heartworms.  He is SO healthy now, he started Heart-worm Treatment last week (and is recovering with no complications).  Mr. Bond, thank you for your efforts to save so many precious dogs from distemper!  Because of your work, Chopper survived distemper!

Monty G. Broughton
Houston, Texas

Received June 25, 2013

Distemper Story: The Rising of Venus in the Philippines

AUGUST 6, 2012, 6pm

We picked up our Baby Venus  in the airport. An adorable and sweet 2 month old puppy we imported from another country through the help of an importer here in the Philippines.  It was one of the happiest moments we had, especially for my daughter Sam. Venus is happy, affectionate and playful puppy.

 

AUGUST 7, 2012, 9AM

We brought her to the Vet near our place. The doctor there is a dear friend, and is also very reliable and the best vet in town. We haven’t received yet the health record of Venus from the importer. So we just got her shots updates over the phone and through the document we received from the breeder and vet of the country where she came from. It says there she had 5 in 1 shots, Revolution from Ticks and Fleas, Deworming. However, we found so much ticks and fleas on her and when the vet assistant took her temperature; worms came out of her behind. We all freaked out! I asked the vet to give her a blood test to make sure she was not sick of something. The Vet told us he can’t give shots on Venus yet coz she just arrived and may cause her a lot of stress. What was done to her was blood test and revolution. Vet said not to deworm her yet coz it says on the document that she already had. Her blood test was normal.

 

AUGUST 8, 2012, 9AM

Went back to the vet near our town and insisted to have her dewormed coz worms might make her sick and we have other healthy dogs at home that might catch the worms or something. But Venus was on quarantine since she just arrived. When she defecated that morning, there were so many tape worms on her stool that it drove me nuts! Again in the Vet clinic tape worms came out of her behind which I find so alarming. Vet gave us tablets to give Venus as soon as we get home for her deworming. I also bought some for my 2 dogs just to be sure although my 2 dogs are always updated with their shots and check ups and all, I just wanted to be doubly sure!

 

AUGUST 8, 2012, 9pm,

My husband gave Venus the deworming tablets. However, she vomited  a few minutes after. Also noticed that she sneezes but not very often probably just twice that day and so I texted my 2 vets and asked them about the sneezing. Told them no discharge whatsoever. The other vet near our place replied and he said it might just be allergies or irritation.

 

AUGUST 9, 2012, 9AM

Went back to the Vet with Venus to have her checked again, and this time vet gave her the deworming tablets instead.

AUGUST 10, 2012, 7AM

Dead worms seen in her stool. No tape worms seen anymore. They probably dissolved already. What a relief done with the ticks and fleas! Done with the worms!  We gave a her a quick warm bath coz she really stinks  even though we already sponge bath her when she arrived from the airport. But because she was soaked with her urine and all in the kennel when she was in the plane, the sponge bath didn’t get rid of the stench so we gave her quick warm bath instead. She has some sort of bites on her skin, probably of the fleas and ticks she had.

 

AUGUST 11, 2012, 7AM

Noticed she was sneezing again. Again, I texted our vets and informed them about the sneezing.

 

AUGUST 11, 2012, 9PM

She has this choking up thing. I am not sure if she ate something that made her choke a little. Again texted the vet about it.

 

AUGUST 16,2012, 9AM

Brought Venus again to the vet near our place. I am bothered by the chocking and sneezing.  We also found pus under her armpit. Vet checked on her and prescribed an anti allergy medicine.  According to the vet, the pus on her armpit was just a flea bite that was infected.

 

AUGUST 17, 2012, 7AM

She didn’t finish her food, which is so unusual. She has heavy appetite and always looking forward to eat. Texted our vet and he said it might be indigestion. So she was given hyper acidity medicine.

 

AUGUST 18 – 20 2012,

Didn’t finish food. Eyes watery and seems feverish. Not too playful but still plays around when we are with her.

 

AUGUST 19, 2012

Decided to ask for 2nd opinion from our other vet. Texted Dr. Nielsen and informed him about Venus’ deterioration. He advised me to have her tested for Distemper.

 

AUGUST 20, 2012

Since VIP (Vets In Practce) is too far from our place like an hour-and-a-half drive and just way so much traffic, we decided to have her tested at our town vet. However he advised to have Venus’ tested after 3 weeks instead coz Venus’ doesn’t have symptoms of Distemper. Vet said she seems ok just continue on the anti- allergy medicine. Venus stayed with us in our bedroom .

 

AUGUST 20, 2012

Updated Dr Nielsen with the result of the check up. But Dr Nielsen seemed concerned that Venus should really have to undergo distemper testing, just to rule out distemper.

AUGUST 21,2012

Brought Venus instead to VIP. There were so many patients that day. We were so last on the list but we were called right away to go straight to the lab. We even heard comments about how come we went first! If only they know what Venus might have that’s why we went first to avoid contaminating the whole place!

 

AUGUST 21, 2012,1:22PM

Venus’ test for distemper was positive. It was as if my whole world fell apart! All I can remember is Dr Nielsen himself telling us she has distemper. And after that, I was speechless and I just can’t hear what Dr Nielsen is saying. All I know I  just cried out loud and my husband led me to the car. Waited for my husband while he talks to vets in VIP. Texted the importer about it.

My husband Jeff explained to me everything and told me about Dr Sears serum that could cure distemper. We need a healthy large dog as blood donor for Venus. My husband said Mary is a candidate. Mary is  my 1 year and 6 mos old Alaskan Malamute. Jeff said they need to test her first. If she passed , they’ll inject this virus on Mary then after 12 hrs bring Mary back to VIP to draw blood from her. She’ll be sedated. At first, I was so confused. So many questions in my mind. Shall I allow Mary to be the donor? Is this safe for my baby Mary?I lover her to death I don’t want anything bad to happen to our Mary? All that words that kept on popping in my mind, VIRUS, BLOOD! Both sounds eerie and scary to me! While in the car, I browsed on the net through my mobile phone about Dr Sears distemper serum. The first thing that caught my attention was these very words “How My Dog Bailey Survived Distemper and How Yours Could TOO! on March 29, 2011 by adventuresofabeautyqueen. I clicked it right away and saw the name of Joyce Burton! It was like I was on the clouds! It just so happens that I know her! She’s one of the superiors in my mom’s office. I read her column and was enlightened somehow and it gave me hope! I really thank God for Joyce’s article. It was like a light at the end of the tunnel! I rushed to asked mom for Joyce Burton’s mobile number. I texted her and she replied right away. Just so happy to talk to someone who gave me encouragement and hope. She was my inspiration as well as her Bailey at that time. She shared to me websites I could read and gave me Mr. Ed Bond’s email address and website: Kind Hearts in Action. He is an activist about this and responds fast Joyce’s said. She told me Ed Bond has helped her a lot during Bailey’s fight against Distemper. From then on Joyce has been giving me advices and encouraging me following up about Venus. She even volunteered Bailey and her other dogs to be donors. It was a relief for me because I know it’ll be hard for me to look for a donor if ever Mary cannot. Who will ever allow their healthy dog go through this for a dog they hardly know? But Vet Melay advised us to just try Mary first coz she’s the best candidate so far.

AUGUST 21, 2012, 4PM,

Mary had blood test. Result showed she’s healthy and can be a donor! It was mixed emotion. Happy for my Venus yet worrisome for my Mary.

AUGUST 21, 2012, 6PM

Brought Mary back to VIP to inject to her the New Castle Virus. We were asked to buy this new castle that can be bought somewhere in Quezon City. It has to delivered fast though and should be in a chiller.  Poor Mary… L We were asked to come back after 12 hrs on the dot to draw blood from her. It was the longest drive ever for my husband and I. Just so tired and weary…

Checked on Venus when we got home. I have to Isolate her and it hurts me coz we are not used putting a dog in an enclosure. But we have to because we have another puppy and Mary. Gave all of them COLLOIDAL SILVER per Joyce’s advice and confirmed by Dr Nielsen. Bought it at VIP. Amount depends on the weight of the dog.  Colloidal Silver is a natural antiviral, anti fungal and anti bacterial. We gave this to all of them since they were exposed to the virus. They might catch from Venus the complications like Pneumonia.

That night, I emailed Mr Bond with so many questions anxiously waiting for his reply… True enough with what Joyce said, he responds fast! I was so happy to hear from “THE” MR ED BOND! He patiently answered all my questions and gave me articles to read on. He assured me that the New Castle Virus is safe and will not hurt Mary in any way. Another answered prayer… Mr.Bond was so accommodating. We really appreciate it coz he has been a great relief for us!

 

AUGUST 22, 2012, 6AM

Brought Venus to VIP for her 1st shot. Venus was rather weak and lethargic. No apetite as well.

AUGUST 22, 2012, 6PM

Brought Venus back to VIP again for her 2nd shot. When we got back home, Venus was rather playful and she ate a lot.

 

AUGUST 23, 2012, 6AM

Venus’ 3rd shot at VIP. At this time, Venus seems back to her old self again. She’s so playful, gnawing on anything and running after our butts! Her eyes are not gloomy anymore and no signs of discharge from her nose and eyes. Her appetite was heavy and she barks like crazy!

 

AUGUST 24 to 26, 2012

Venus seems to be not sick. She is lively and her tongue is pinkish and her eyes are bright! She’s back!!!! She developed some rashes on her tummy and neck. The doctor said it might be manifestations that she had distemper. She had a lump on her back near her nape as well. We just put hot compress. We thought it is something serious. I was just from the serum shots. The skin just got inflamed or something but after a day it was gone!

 

AUGUST 27, 2012

Brought Venus back to VIP. Dr. Melay checked on her and she doesn’t have any signs nor symptoms of Distemper anymore. We continued her antibiotics . We waited for another week just to be sure.

 

SEPTEMBER 3, 2012

Brought Venus back to VIP. They took her blood and tested her for distemper. She is already negative from distemper! We were just so overjoyed! God is so good and amazing! The serum really worked! We didn’t even have to do the spinal tap anymore. Good thing we detected it at a very early stage.

Now we are just waiting for next week for Venus’ shots and deworming and after a week she could be with us outside the park again!

It is very important that the very first sign of colds (sneezing) and watery eyes and cough (choking) as well as low appetite to see the vet right away and have the pup checked for distemper if the pup is below 4 mos of age and shots are not yet complete. We did see a vet first signs of sneezing but vet told us it might just be allergies and was given allergy medicine. We came back the next day coz Venus seems to be choking. It was again diagnosed as allergies, since there were no symptoms yet of distemper some vets won’t test them. Vet told us to wait for 3weeks until there’ll be symptoms of distemper. But better insist. We brought Venus to another vet (Dr Nielsen VIP) and had her tested for distemper and came out positive. Venus was even tested 2x at VIP to be sure. Good thing we had her tested right away coz if not she could’ve gotten worse, and it would have far more complications and be too late to save her.

 

I would like to thank first and foremost our dear God for healing our Venus through Dr. Sears’ serum. I thank God for Dr. Sears for without him, my dog’s life wouldn’t have been saved! I thank you Mr. Ed Bond for being so supportive, accommodating and kind. Thank you for all the encouragement, knowledge about the disease and for answering all my so many questions. Thank you for sparing time to reply to me. Without you and Joyce Burton, I wouldn’t have made it through this. Of course, I thank you Joyce Burton! You are my angel! You are heaven-sent to us! God allowed Bailey to experience such for you to help people like me. Thank you for being there all throughout the process day and night. Thank you for your replies to me even late at night and wee hours of the morning even though my text messages are just plain old anxieties. Thank you for praying with us. Thank you for offering your dogs to donate blood for Venus just in case Mary my dog won’t be a good candidate. Thank you so much Joyce for being a friend and a confidant. Surely, God brought you to our lives for this very reason! And my family, dogs and I will be supporting you and Ed Bond in sharing the whole world the news about this remarkable serum of Dr Sears. I hope and pray the medical world will accept Dr Sears work that can save a lot of dog’s life and save a dog owner’s heart from the pain of putting their dog to sleep instead because they thought there is no cure for this disease. We want to be with you to share to the world that there is still Hope if their dogs have distemper.

And of course, A million thanks to you Dr Nielsen Donato, Dr. Melay Pelayo, Dr. Allison,  Dr. Gina Pineda, Dr. Kathleen Tiu and all the doctors and staff  of Vets in Practice for being the instruments of God to make the serum of Dr Sears and care for my Venus. VIP, YOU ARE THE BEST AMONG THE BEST! I keep on telling others, VIP ain’t perfect, who is? They are not God who knows everything. But they are the best!  I am so blessed to have known you guys! Thank you for believing Dr Sears and for doing everything you can to make this serum and find a cure for dog’s with distemper . Thank you for not giving up on Venus and on us. Thank you for everything!!!!!!!! We are forever grateful! I will tell the whole world how wonderful you guys are and that VIP is the best not only in the Phils but one of the best in the world! Dr Nielsen, you are just one of a kind! I am in awe how good you really are! Dra Melay, you’ll be the next generation Nielsen! Keep it up guys! Thank you so so so much VIP!!!!!

God is so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!

Liz Bartolazo
The Philippines
Sept. 5, 2012

 

 

 

 

Boomer survives distemper

Aug. 1, 2012

Ed,

I would like to thank you for your efforts to bring the work of Dr. Sears to the public forum and inform people about distemper and it’s possible treatment.  I am especially grateful for Kind Hearts in Action because our puppy, Boomer, was able to survive this terrible virus thanks to the information you gave me.  I will never be able to thank you enough.

We got Boomer not knowing much about his history other than that he was part of a litter that was to be euthanized and was rescued from a county animal shelter by a local rescue group.  Luckily, my fiancé was able to talk them into giving Boomer to us a week early and I am convinced that this saved his life.  He came to us with an upper respiratory infection and some antibiotics.  Less than a week went by and his symptoms began to appear; discharge from the nose and eyes, lack of energy, blood in his stool. We took him to see the vet for the rescue that was overseeing the litter.  There, she informed us about a strong possibility that he may have distemper and that there was not much she could do.  The look in her eyes was one of sadness and she kept telling us that she was sorry.  She suspected that he was exposed to it while in the county shelter and asked us if we wanted to leave him there with her.   We informed her that we were not going to give up on him and leave him there all alone.  She sent us home with strong antibiotics and an IV to administer fluids.  We were absolutely devastated.  We had become so attached to him after only a few days.  The next morning I got online to read everything I possibly could about distemper and it’s possible treatments.  Within ten minutes I found your website and read all I could about the Newcastle serum.  I hoped so badly that someone in our area was using this experimental treatment.  I talked it over with my fiancé and we immediately decided to email you.  It wasn’t two minutes later that you responded with a vet in our area who was using the treatment.  I couldn’t believe our luck.  It was 20 minutes away.  Boomer’s symptoms were terrible but he never reached the point of having neurological problems.  We immediately called his original vet to ask her if it would be alright to take him.  She agreed that it would not interfere with the care she was already providing him and we were on our way.  The staff at the clinic were exceptional.  They informed us that sometimes the serum works and sometimes it does not and wanted us to be prepared for that.  Boomer got his first serum shot that day.  After a few early morning and evening visits his shots of the serum were complete and it was time to wait and see.  In addition to distemper, Boomer also had kennel cough and for weeks he was on a number of antibiotics.  We had to keep a journal because our poor little guy was taking so much medication.  He was still very lethargic and looked so sad.  During this time he would sleep with his head nuzzled up to our necks, I suppose to feel a heartbeat.  I was constantly cleaning discharge out of his nose, giving him pills, trying to get him to eat or drink, nebulizing him in the bathroom…  It was a difficult time and I was worried at first because Boomer did not seem to respond right away to the serum like I had seen in so many of your success stories.  He was improving but it was at a slower pace.  It took about two weeks for his nose and eyes to finally start clearing up and for his energy to return.  Another week for the cough.  It took months for me to leave the house and not worry about him.  Only a month ago his dry little nose finally healed up.  I just want people to know that every dog is different and not to be discouraged if their dog isn’t chasing it’s tail after the last dose of serum.  It’s been 7 months since then and you would not know that Boomer was ever sick.  He’s full of energy, loves people and other dogs and is incredibly sweet and silly.  I especially love when he tilts his head when I talk to him.  He’s just a great dog and I am so happy that we were able to find out about the Newcastle serum through you, Ed.  He means the world to us and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I attached a couple of pictures of Boomer when he was sick and a video and a picture of him now.  I’ll send the video in a separate email.

Sincerely,
Lindsay, Joe & Boomer
Phoenix, Arizona

Mater gets to be a puppy again

Here is Mater today. You wouldn't know that Mater had been a couple of days from being put down to avoid the misery of distemper.

This is Mater.

Mater already has an interesting tale to tell at the tender age of 6 months, but only because of Kind Hearts in Action, we are able to show the above picture just two weeks after he was diagnosed with canine distemper.

We picked up Mater from the local animal shelter already malnourished with little hair on his ears due to a fungus.  Except for a missed case of some worms, we figured it wouldn’t

Here's Mater when we picked him up from the shelter. We were happy to find him. My son named him on the way to the shelter even before we saw him.

take much to bring this pup around and make him a part of the family.  He made a quick impression.  He bonded immediately with us and his older brother, a pound mutt we have had for 12 years now.

A week after we brought Mater home, I noticed that he was developing a dry cough.  Our initial thought was kennel cough that was picked up before he left the shelter.  We let it go for a couple of days before I took Mater to our usual vet.  He expected it to also be kennel cough and prescribed some antibiotics and anti-cough medicine to take over the next 2 weeks.  One thing he did mention that I didn’t pay much attention to was that it could be distemper.  I probably should have listened a little more intently, but he didn’t seem to emphasize it too much.

I went away that weekend for a business trip.  On the day before I came back, my wife mentioned that Mater wasn’t really eating much anymore, was very lethargic, and looked even skinnier than before!  I told her to get him some soft food, as his throat was probably sore from his coughing spells.  He was probably tired from the medicine he was taking.  We hoped.

Upon returning from my trip, just a week after the coughing had started, I started fearing the worst- distemper.  Mater rarely left his kennel, would only eat a few mouthfuls of food, and had lost over 10% of his already low body weight.  I knew that I needed to see the vet the next day.

Driving to the vet, I wasn’t sure that I would even be able to bring Mater home.  He didn’t want to move much and only perked up to go outside for his breaks.  The vet didn’t have to look for long before telling me that Mater had distemper.  He could run tests, but he had seen this enough times to see the symptoms- crusting nose, gunky eyes, non-productive coughing, loss of weight, sensitivity to light, and so on.  There would be no saving Mater if this was true, but just in case it wasn’t distemper, I was given a different antibiotic to treat the developing pneumonia free of charge.  I could tell the vet felt sorry for what we were about to go through.

I went home pissed off!  This dog had endeared himself to us.  His personality was perfect, he had had only one “accident” in the house even while deathly sick although this was the first house he had lived in, and he was a fighter.  I had to find some videos of other dogs that went through distemper to see just how bad it would get so I would know how soon to put Mater down.  The first few videos were terrible.  I could tell that I would have to take Mater back to the vet in just a couple of days just so he could avoid the attack on his nervous system.  He had already had the respiratory symptoms for about 8 days at this point so he didn’t have much longer until twitches and seizures would set in.  The last video I looked at piqued my interest; it was of a pair of dogs that were taken to a vet in New Mexico for treatment of distemper.  One of the dogs lived, one died.

With visions of an overnight drive to New Mexico already racing through my mind, I watched the movie clip to see a seemingly easy procedure done to save a dog that had distemper.  Fortunately for Mater and me, there was a website address at the end of the video that saved me the drive- kindheartsinaction.com.

It was already late in the afternoon so I quickly skimmed what I could to see if this was a legitimate website.  If my vet said that there is no cure, then there is no cure.  This had to be some type of scam.  Against my better judgment, I emailed Mr. Ed Bond for some info on any local vets.  An email came back within minutes with the name of a local vet.  Yep, a scam, but I was dealing with a dying puppy.  I decided to call the vet.

The lady on the other end of the phone seemed patient enough with me when I asked her about treatment for distemper.  She, in fact, talked about it like it wasn’t necessarily a big deal.  I tactfully brought in my final question, “How much?”

I laughed at the answer!  Not because of the high cost but at the ridiculously low cost.  I jumped at the first available appointment the following afternoon.  My hope was that Mater would make it through the night and wouldn’t develop any symptoms that would show that the virus had entered his nervous system.

Mater did make it through the night and to the vet’s office.  The vet explained what I had already read through on the website.  Mater would need 3 serum injections, 12 hours apart, and some more penicillin for the respiratory infection.  Mater’s white blood cell was in the normal range, a good sign.  I told you he was a fighter.

At home, we waited for my wife to come home from work.  She thought that Mater already looked livelier although it would take 24-36 hours to get back to normal.  Mater’s next serum shot would have to be done by us in the middle of the night.  To make a long story short, we visited an urgent care clinic at 4 in the morning where a nurse offered to inject Mater out of the kindness of his heart, as we weren’t the best at getting just under the skin.  Even better would be the next injection where I was the only one around.  I got lucky and it went right in.

My wife arrived home from work a couple of hours after the last serum injection.  With nervous anticipation, she called out Mater’s name.  Joy rang out as Mater ran around the corner towards her already on a fast path to recovery.  This was the same day I had originally set aside to put Mater down after the last visit to my regular vet when I was told that there was nothing that could be done.

It has been less than two weeks since Mater received his treatment.  He is back to being a puppy- chasing the ball, chewing on my slippers, wagging his tail by the door when he needs to go outside.  I bet Mater feels fortunate to be here.  I know we feel fortunate to have Mater here and to be able to spread the word that there is a treatment for distemper.

Craig Blackburn
Feb. 20, 2012

Mater's first bath, the day after we picked him up.