First use of NDV serum in Bulgaria

Received from Justine Garratt of Bulgaria, Aug. 14, 2016:

“Hi, I am running a very small charity Santerpaws Bulgarian rescue in Pleven Blugaria, I sadly for the second time this year have picked up a puppy with the virus, and worryingly I have 20 other dogs here that are still only half way through the vaccinations. I really would like to know more. I see dogs dying from this on the streets everyday, I have a vet that I am sure I could convince to help me, please can you let me know what I can do to get involved, selfishly to help the ones around me. Reading about the Newcastle virus vaccine. Many thanks Justine.”

We exchanged information, including contacts in Romania. One dog died before the serum could be made.

Today, Aug. 23, I received this video:

From Justine:

“Both these 2 were diagnosed with distemper a week ago. Both had the Sears serum. Think we may have cracked it. Thank you so much.  We have a long  way to go as I have said before we have loads of dogs here but I have real hope that we will have more survive than not.”

I believe this is the first example of the NDV serum being used in Bulgaria. Thanks so much for sending us this, Justine!

bulgaria

 

Note from Justine: “I would like my vet Zari [Заривет Плевен — “Zari of Zarivet Pleven”] mentioned because when he got on board he did not charge me for his time or anything.”

Report on effectiveness of NDV treatments

en español
Statistics compiled by Kind Hearts In Action between December 2008 and February 2016.

NOTE: To clarify a couple of issues that have been raised, I’d like to make two points: 1) At no time do we call this a scientific study. This is just a report of numbers I have collected over the years. I understand this is nothing more than anecdotal information. We do not claim here to have proven there is a cure for canine distemper, but we think it would worthwhile to see a full study done. However, we do not have the means to conduct one ourselves. 2) As I say elsewhere throughout the website and on every email I send out, I am not a veterinarian, a doctor or a scientist. I never claim to be one. I do this as an attempt to get the veterinary and scientific community to at least look at this possibility fairly. — Ed Bond, July 2016

“I’m sorry, but your dog has distemper. You should have him put to sleep.”

This is what dog owners around the world are told far too often. According to the experts, distemper is an incurable disease from which few dogs survive. Euthanasia is the frequent course of action.

But we’d like to show you some facts that we hope will give the experts a reason to think again. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of dogs could be needlessly dying of this disease every year.

Since December 2008, Save Dogs From Canine Distemper, a project of Kind Hearts In Action, has been tracking the effectiveness of a treatment discovered by a veterinarian in Lancaster, California. Dr. Alson Sears could not get the veterinary community to listen to him when he first discovered NDV-induced serum in the early 1970s. But now, our numbers support – if not yet prove – Dr. Sears’ claim that distemper is curable.

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.

We have received reports from 22 vets who have used NDV to treat distemper dogs. Of those, 14 vets used NDV-induced serum in the early stages of the disease, and in 85 percent of those cases, the distemper dog survived. Dog caregivers — owners, fosters and rescuers — tell us that 65.5 percent of distemper dogs were saved by one of the treatments developed by Dr. Sears using NDV — Newcastle Disease Vaccine.

These numbers were compiled from e-mails from dog caregivers and from a survey of vets using the NDV treatments. These statistics support our primary conclusion that if dogs can be treated within four to six days of the onset of symptoms, the majority of these animals can be saved. Our conclusion is also supported by a study conducted in Korea in 2003, which is included below. However, the survival rate also relies on getting a fast diagnosis, on having a supply of serum available, and in successfully treating the dog for the opportunistic diseases — such as pneumonia — that usually accompanies distemper.

History

Dr. Alson Sears, a veterinarian in the desert community of Lancaster, Calif., discovered how to use Newcastle Disease Vaccine (NDV) as a treatment for canine distemper in the early 1970s . The basic principle of the treatment is to use the NDV as an inducer to prompt a reaction in the dog’s immune system that can create a material to kill the distemper virus. The protocol for making the serum is available here.

Dr. Sears reports treating more than 600 dogs for canine distemper during his years as a practicing vet. He says that dogs infected with the distemper virus treated before going through the sixth day of showing symptoms had a survival rate in the high 90s. Dr. Sears was not able to get his discovery published. He retired in 2006.

However, his treatment had been made available on the Internet since May 2000 [http://www.edbond.com/distemper.html], and some vets have followed his treatments and theories with success. Today, the NDV treatments include the NDV-induced serum, the NDV as an IV injection to the body and the NDV spinal tap, which is for dogs in the neurologic stage of distemper.

With a treatment that had been discovered in the early 1970s and available on the Internet for nearly 15 years, the question has often been raised about why more conclusive information has not been published before now.

This is because:

  1. After his discovery, Dr. Sears ran into overwhelming disbelief about his treatments. “Son, that’s impossible. Sit down,” he was told when he tried to explain his discovery at a veterinary conference. This was a discouraging experience for him.
  2. He lacked the resources and ability to get his work published. When he contacted major universities about his discovery, he was told he would have to pay $500,000 to have a research project conducted. As a simple, clinical vet trying to meet the expenses of running his clinic, he had no way of paying so much. So, he remained quiet about his discovery for decades.
  3. While his treatments were posted on a website in May 2000, the Save Dogs From Distemper project did not get started until December 2008. We have compiled these preliminary statistics on cases treated since then in the hope that this may be useful to researchers.

How this report was compiled

The data for the report comes from two sources:

  1. Veterinarians using NDV
  2. Dog owners, caregivers or rescue groups.

Every case reported to us has been included in our statistics. We are not selective in compiling our information.

Kind Hearts In Action contacted veterinarians using NDV with either a mailed survey, through the Internet and e-mail and sometimes by phone. They were asked:

  • Do you use NDV to treat canine distemper?
  • Do you use NDV serum?
  • How many dogs have you treated with NDV serum?
  • How many of those dogs survived?
  • Do you use NDV in an IV?
  • How many dogs have you treated with NDV in IV?
  • How many of those dogs survived?
  • Have you used the NDV spinal tap?
  • How many dogs have you treated with the NDV spinal tap?
  • How many of those dogs survived?

For this survey, the diagnosis of distemper relied on the judgment of each vet. Very often, the dog owners did not want to pay the additional expense of a lab test. So, the vets would make the diagnosis based on their experience, the apparent symptoms and in the context of whether they were in the midst of a distemper outbreak. The reports from owners and dog caregivers was largely tracked by e-mail.

Because the means of diagnosis is inconsistent, we do not claim that these numbers prove canine distemper can be cured. Our work to prove the effectiveness of these treatments is not done. But we gathered these numbers as an attempt to give a sample of what is happening around the world. We hardly think that all distemper cases are being reported to us, and very often we are told that the cases we do know of are just a handful of examples out of a population where dogs are dying in overwhelming numbers.

Very often, much of the resistance about Dr. Sears’ theories comes from the conclusion that vaccination alone has the problem of distemper under control. While vaccination is essential to fighting this disease and we strongly encourage all dogs to be vaccinated, the numbers of cases that have been reported to us show that distemper is still a problem. Shelter outbreaks, exposure from wild animals and unvaccinated puppies allow the disease to continue.

It would be useful if a U.S. or international agency took on the role of compiling reliable statistics on how many dogs are dying of distemper. The veterinary community may not even fully realize how big the problem of distemper is.

Still, we feel these numbers at least show that there is hope. If this treatment can be published and accepted in a veterinary journal, we believe the lives of countless dogs can be saved.

Any vets who have information about dogs they have treated with NDV-induced serum are asked to e-mail Ed Bond at ed.bond.new.york@gmail.com. These statistics will be updated routinely as we receive further reports.

Report on outcomes from veterinarians

According to 23 veterinarians who have reported outcomes to Kind Hearts In Action, 611 dogs infected with the distemper virus have been treated with at least one of the NDV treatments. Of those, 442 survived (72 percent). Fifteen of these vets reported treating 305 cases with the NDV-induced serum of which 265 survived, for a survival rate of 86 percent.

It is important to note that 150 of these dogs were treated in 2010 with NDV-induced serum by a Houston area vet as part of Project Hope. They report that of the 150 dogs that were treated with NDV-induced serum, 90 percent survived – 135 dogs. Combining these numbers with the efforts of other vets, Project Hope reports saving nearly 200 dogs from canine distemper.

The other cases include 162 dogs that were treated with NDV as an IV injection, of which 111 survived and 144 treated with NDV spinal taps of which 66 survived. Two of the surviving dogs treated with NDV as IV in Puerto Rico were also treated with NDV-induced serum.

Here is a report on a dog treated with the NDV spinal tap by a vet in Alberta, Canada.

In one of the spinal tap cases, a vet in South Africa injected the NDV-induced serum in the spinal canal — instead of the straight NDV vaccine — and that dog was reported to be doing well.

Vets who had reported on the effectiveness of the treatments were from Florida, Texas, California, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Canada, Turkey, Israel, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and the Philippines. One vet in the Los Angeles area reported treating five dogs with NDV as IV, but did not learn the outcomes of those cases. Another vet in Southern Florida reports having used NDV on distemper dogs 27 times since 2009, but did not have the reports on outcomes available. These cases where the outcomes were unknown have not been added to the totals from the vets.

Report from Korea

A study on the effectiveness of the NDV-induced serum was also conducted in Korea in 2003. According to Dr. Kim Hee-Young, DVM, MS, PhD, the senior researcher for the Korea Animal Blood Bank, that was when he discovered the website about Dr. Sears’ treatment. He reports:

“In 2003, 102 dogs (from 12 vets) were diagnosed by ELISA as Distemper infection. Of them, the 54 dogs (52 %) were recovered completely on the check-up 6 weeks after the Sears treatment. In Korea, the success rate of conventional treatment in cases confirmed as Distemper (ELISA) was usually lower than 8 %.”

Dr. Sears’ serum has been available on the inventory of the Korea Animal Blood Bank since 2004.
 [http://board-1.blueweb.co.kr/board.cgi?id=vet20&bname=news&unum=14&action=view]

Dr. Kim Hee-Young writes:

“We have used Sears plasma (serum) in Distemper cases and found it works wonderful. … But, cases more than 5 days after symptoms or with neurological symptoms did not show any improvements. Some of the vets reported deterioration after injection. Thus, we don’t recommend to use it in cases which had shown distemper symptoms more than 4 days.”

Report on outcomes from dog caregivers

Since December 2008, dog caregivers — owners, fosters and rescuers — have reported the outcomes of 1062 distemper cases to the Save Dogs From Distemper project. Of these, 768 dogs with distemper were treated with an NDV treatment and 541 survived (70 percent survival rate).

This includes:

  • 316 of 383 distemper dogs treated with serum that survived (82 percent).
  • 123 of 160 distemper dogs treated with NDV as an IV injection that survived (76.8 percent)
  • 102 of 225 dogs with neurologic distemper treated with the NDV spinal tap that survived. (45 percent)

There were also 294 cases that were not treated with NDV, of which 69 survived. (23.5 percent.) Also, 64 cases initially thought to be distemper were later diagnosed with a different disease. Of these, 51 dogs lived and 13 died. These were not included in the 1060 cases listed above.

On Nov. 8, 2011, a dog owner from Monterrey, Mexico, reported that her puppy died shortly after being treated with NDV-induced serum. She wrote that before the NDV-serum treatment, another vet had also treated the puppy with a variety of treatments including Zylexis. After the death, the vet told the owner, “It was a shock MAYBE because of the serum mixed with the Zylexis.” Zylexis, which is used to boost the immune system of horses, is not part of Dr. Sears’ protocols.

Additional photos, videos and owner testimonials of dogs successfully treated for canine distemper are available at http://kindheartsinaction.com/

If you have additional reports to share with us, please e-mail ed.bond.new.york@gmail.com and we will update these numbers as we receive them.

Conclusions

If anything, the numbers above show that distemper can be a treatable and survivable disease. Even without using NDV, about 23 percent of dogs can survive the initial infection of distemper. However, those dogs that do survive without treatment often have done so through the extraordinary efforts of the owner or caregiver. Such dogs often survive with neurologic problems, damage to teeth, organs and other issues. But these dogs are also at risk to continuing and advancing neurologic problems that may lead to death later on.

The timely use of NDV can greatly increase the odds of survival and limit the damaging effects of the distemper virus. According to caregivers, the overall survival rate for dogs treated with one of the NDV treatments is 70 percent. According to vets, the overall survival rate is 72 percent, but that climbs to 86 percent when considering only those cases treated with the NDV serum before the onset of neural problems.

Our position continues to be that treating with the NDV serum before the dog goes through the sixth day of symptoms is the most advantageous way of treating distemper. The report from Korea recommends treating within four days of symptoms, and that also seems to be a reasonable goal. The sooner a dog can be treated, the better.

As to why these treatments work, our theory is that the NDV causes a reaction within a dog’s immune system that produces a previously unknown material or group of interacting materials, that is able to neutralize the invading virus. However, finding the answer would require extensive scientific research.

The IV injection of NDV does exist as an option for treating distemper if the NDV-induced serum is not available. The NDV vaccine can be acquired and given to a sick dog as an IV injection very quickly. So, many dogs have been saved that way, and it spares the dog owner from an agonizing delay as they would have to persuade a vet to make the NDV-induced serum with a donor dog.

However, the problem with giving the sick dog a straight injection of the NDV is that recovery relies on the animal’s immune system being strong enough to create the needed response to fight the distemper virus.

NDV as an IV injection may save a dog or puppy:

  • If the immune system is intact.
  • If it is older than 12 weeks.
  • If it is not a pure breed known to not have a response to NDV. This should not be the primary way to treat dogs, but might be used if the NDV-induced serum is not available.

If the dog’s immune system is strong enough, this material can be made from the NDV injection and save the animal. If the immune system is too damaged to respond or if the dog is of a breed that does not make the needed response, the straight NDV IV injection will not save the dog.

According to Dr. Sears, breeds that do not have the needed response to NDV include:

  • German shepherds
  • poodles
  • Irish setters
  • Gordon setters
  • English bulldogs
  • Shar Peis.

For puppies younger than 12 weeks, the best option to save them is to use the NDV-induced serum before the neurologic stage of the disease.

It has been 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.

Dr. Sears was able to save dogs at a rate in the high 90s because he was able to quickly identify distemper cases and treat the dogs before the narrow window of opportunity closed. Similarly, the vet in Houston was able to save a large majority of dogs because of the ability to treat dogs quickly with a readily available source of serum.

However, the use of the serum does not guarantee that a dog will be saved. Distemper often opens up other opportunistic infections such as pneumonia. Vets and caregivers have reported that even though they saw distemper symptoms reverse after NDV treatment, the dog died of pneumonia, another disease or medical problem. Dr. Sears has written a protocol of recommended treatments to give dogs an improved chance of survival.

As to the NDV spinal tap, it does offer some hope for the owner of a distemper dog that has gone into the neurologic stage of the disease. However, the chances of survival are less than 50 percent. For some of these dogs with neurologic distemper, they were saved because the caregivers put in extraordinary effort and intensive nursing care in addition to the NDV spinal tap. So, it exists as a way that can save some dogs. Here are some additional notes from Dr. Sears on measures to take after the NDV spinal tap.

Further information is available at http://kindheartsinaction.com/

We invite any reasonable, skeptical inquiries into this report.

Ed Bond
ed.bond.new.york@gmail.com
Kind Hearts In Action
Feb. 13, 2016

UPDATE: A study of the NDV spinal tap at Kansas State University has concluded. We await the final results.

Copyright © 2016 Kind Hearts In Action Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Why I care about canine distemper

I care about this disease because:

1) We lost two puppies in a row to distemper.

2) The next year, another dog of ours, Galen, also came down with distemper, but was SAVED because of the NDV-induced serum discovered by Dr. Al Sears.

3) Even though this serum has saved dogs AROUND THE WORLD, it has not yet been accepted as a treatment by the veterinary profession.

4) Until this treatment is accepted, dogs will NEEDLESSLY DIE of this disease.

We need donations to fund our effort to prove these treatments can work. If you can donate, please do. If you cannot, please SHARE!

Please send our videos and website to your friends or anyone who cares about dogs.

It all depends on you.

Thank you,

Ed Bond
Kind Hearts In Action

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

en español

Based on our stats, here is what generally is, and is not possible with the NDV treatments for canine distemper.


NDV-induced serum

Can save a dog or puppy of any age, but has to be used within 6 days of onset of symptoms. (Before going neuro.) A 90 percent survival rate is possible.

 

NDV as an IV injection

May save a dog or puppy IF the immune system is intact, IF it is older than 12 weeks, and IF it is not a pure breed known to not have a response to NDV. This should not be the primary way to treat dogs, but might be used if the NDV-induced serum is not available.

Neither of these can help the nervous system, so when a dog gets to the neural stage there’s the …

 

NDV spinal tap

Has a nearly 50 percent survival rate.

 

But remember, even in the best of circumstances, distemper doesn’t play fair.

 


Here’s the rest of our FAQ …

Will these treatments save my dog from distemper?
It depends on whether your dog can be treated fast enough. Dr. Sears recommends that a dog be treated within six days of seeing symptoms. Unfortunately, many dog owners do not find out about this treatment until it is nearly too late. And often if the treatment is delayed too long other opportunistic diseases can set in. By then, even if the distemper symptoms are reversed, the dog could still die of the other diseases. In medical science there are no absolute guarantees, but if a dog is treated quickly and properly with Dr. Sears’ protocols, there is an excellent chance of recovery.

How do these treatments work?

We don’t know the full story, yet. But here’s a possible explanation: The treatments are based on the Newcastle Disease Vaccine (NDV). Newcastle Disease is something that infects chickens. The vaccine was designed to give chickens immunity from the disease, but in the dog something else entirely happens. The Newcastle Vaccine may create a response within the dog’s immune system. We believe this is a previously unknown material or group of interacting materials that is able to neutralize the invading virus. We don’t know how or why, but it works and it works quickly, often within 24 hours.

What are the symptoms of distemper?

Distemper is often seen in two stages. In the first pre-neurological stage – before neural problems such as tics, twitches, spasms, seizures and paralysis – you may see hardening of the pads of feet, dulling of the eyes, mucous in the nose, coughing and respiratory trouble. Distemper attacks every system of the dog, so the damage is happening everywhere and there are symptoms you may not see. It can attack the stomach and make your dog vomit. For a while it may not attack the nervous system, this is because of the blood-brain barrier. However, it will eventually attack the oligodendrocytes,  which controls the production of myelin. With the destruction of the myelin sheath that protects the nerves, the neurological stage begins. The neurologic problems could be seen as chorea – a kind of involuntary twitching and shuddering – as well as a loss of balance, chewing gum seizures – which look like the dog is trying to chew a piece of gum – to a full-body shaking and convulsions. Since other diseases may mimic the symptoms of distemper, your first step should be to confirm that your dog has the disease. Your vet can take a blood test for you, but by the time you get the results back the dog may be too sick to help. We recommend you get the blood tested anyway, but then treat for distemper without waiting for the results. Then later if the test does come back positive for distemper, you know you have saved your dog. But Dr. Sears has come up with a faster test called the Brush Border Smear.

My vet prescribed antibiotics and fluids. Won’t this cure my dog of distemper?

Sadly, no. Antibiotics and fluids are supportive therapy. The prevailing wisdom in veterinary medicine is that there is no cure for canine distemper. The vet prescribed the antibiotics not as a way to fight the distemper, but to prevent other opportunistic diseases such as bacterial pneumonia from attacking the dog. This makes sense, though. Distemper knocks down the immune system, allowing these other diseases to attack. So, even with the NDV treatments, you should pursue aggressive treatment with antibiotics. However, antibiotics do nothing against the distemper virus itself. The fluids are another supportive strategy that can help, but this is still part of the traditional approach of trying to control the symptoms and waiting to see if the dog lives or dies. Most dogs die without the NDV treatment.

So, what kind of treatment will save my dog?

That depends on how old your dog is and what kind of symptoms you are seeing. If your dog is pre-neurological, your  dog might be treated with Dr. Sears’ serum. Unfortunately, the serum may not be available or you may not have enough time for a vet to make the serum. In this case, if the dog is old enough — more than 12 weeks — and has a strong enough of an immune system, an injection of the NDV vaccine may save the dog. Some dogs recover that easily. But this is not as reliable as the serum, and you won’t know for sure that it will work until you try it. If the animal is too young a puppy or has a compromised immune system, you will need to use the serum. If the dog is neurological, then the treatment is an injection of the NDV vaccine into the spinal canal. This allows the treatment to attack the distemper virus that is destroying the nervous system.

How did Dr. Sears discover his serum?

Dr. Sears discovered the serum when he was a practicing veterinarian in Lancaster, California. After being overwhelmed with distemper cases, Dr. Sears tried a variety of possible treatments, but none worked. Then, he read a flyer put out by the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association of a study that showed Newcastle Disease virus could boost levels of Interferon in cats. [He doesn’t have that flyer anymore, but there are other published articles on the NDV studies in cats. Click for PDF ] He thought it worth it to try the same procedure in dogs, but made a mistake and did not withdraw the blood serum at the same time as reported in the article. With the change in timing, the serum he created did not have Interferon. Tests from Cornell University confirmed that his sample did not contain Interferon. However, before he got that result back, he had already treated a distemper dog with the serum and it completely recovered. Obviously, some other new material or combination of materials had saved the dog’s life. But Dr. Sears does not know what that material is.

What is Dr Sears’ serum?

The serum is created by using a donor dog, which is injected with the NDV vaccine. The donor dog’s immune system is triggered to create a disease-fighting material, which is still unidentified. But at a crucial time, blood is drawn from the donor. The serum is made from this blood and then can be used to save a dog in the pre-neurological stage. The NDV-induced serum does not include the NDV virus. If used within the first six days of symptoms, the serum can stop a dog from ever having seizures.

Is the donor dog hurt?

No. When done properly in a veterinary clinic and monitored by a vet, the creation of the serum does not hurt the donor dog.

Can I use this to treat my dog without a vet?

No. These protocols are meant to be used by vets treating their sick patients. You should not be treating an animal on your own and without veterinary guidance. If your vet is not interested in using these treatments, contact us and we can make a referral to a vet who is.

But why doesn’t every vet use this treatment?

Because this is not taught in veterinary schools, and it is not yet published in a veterinary journal. It has not yet been accepted by the veterinary community. But that doesn’t mean it is not valid. We believe this is a previously unknown ally in our battle against disease. And it was discovered by accident, by a simple veterinarian in a California desert community, not at a major research facility or university. In the 1970s, Dr. Sears tried to present his discovery to a veterinary conference in Las Vegas, but he was told to “sit down, that’s impossible.” So, he sat down and then spent years quietly saving hundreds of dogs from this disease. His work drew no attention until it was published on a Web site in 2000, and it has only been in the past couple of years since his retirement that other vets have quietly picked up his work. We understand the reluctance of vets to try these treatments. They have not yet been proven or published yet. But we are gathering statistics on their effectiveness. It will be a long road before these treatments attain publication and acceptance. But we are working toward that goal. We have faith that this will happen eventually.

But this is so wonderful. It’s a miracle cure, isn’t it?

Whoa. Don’t get ahead of yourself. If the dog is treated within six days, there is an excellent chance of recovery. But so many people find out about these treatments late.  This is not  a resurrection technique.  It cannot save a dog who has been on the brink of death for weeks and return them to health. And with the spinal tap treatment for the neurologic distemper, you must remember that the seizures usually do not go away immediately. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months. But what we believe has happened is that the virus has been stopped, giving the dog a chance to recover. But remember, there is always the danger of pneumonia and other diseases that can kill your dog. Also, please realize that every dog will react to this differently, just as they react to distemper differently. Factors that can affect the outcome include age, the strength of the immune system, neutering, loss of T-cell function and the genetics of the virus and of the vaccine. Even under the best of cases there will be those who do NOT respond. We aren’t promoting a miracle, but we can offer hope for distemper dogs.

What happens if I don’t get my dog treated within six days?

Then you are likely to see the neurologic phase begin. Thanks to the spinal tap treatment, there still is hope for your dog, but the odds of success start to drop. Dr. Sears says that when he was in practice, the survival rate of dogs treated with the serum within six days of symptoms was in the high 90s. But so many dogs do not get treated in time and go into the neurologic phase, and the serum cannot help neurologic symptoms. The spinal tap is required, but the survival rate for dogs treated with the NDV spinal tap is about 50 percent. The longer you wait, the more the odds of survival drop.

And who are you?

We are Save Dogs From Canine Distemper, a project run by Kind Hearts in Action, a nonprofit based in Los Angeles to rescue and find homes for stray dogs. The project director for Save Dogs From Canine Distemper is Ed Bond, whose dog, Galen, was saved by Dr. Sears in 1997. When Galen’s story was first published on the Internet in 2000, Dr. Sears finally posted the protocol for his NDV-induced serum.

How do I order the serum?

The serum cannot be mailed or shipped within the U.S., but vets can make the serum in their clinics, store it there and treat dogs brought to them.  We do not sell any veterinary product ourselves, but we do sell DVDs of Dr. Sears’ lecture on canine distemper in Houston. Proceeds from those sales help save the lives of dogs, promote the treatments and make the push toward getting this discovery submitted for scientific trials and publication. Kind Hearts In Action is a 501c3 charity.

How do I find a vet who can perform these treatments?

E-mail us at ed.bond.new.york@gmail.com. Tell us how old your dog is, what symptoms you are seeing, how long you have seen them and what region of the world you live. Vets using these treatments have saved dogs in Florida, Texas, Southern California, Alberta Canada, the Philippines, India, Hong Kong, Romania, Italy, Hungary, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Also, before you panic, please get a diagnosis that you have a distemper case. The fastest way to diagnose is through the Brush Border Smear. Anyone who lives in the Philippines should also check out the blog from Clarisse Quitco-Tanner about how her dog Icy was saved: http://clarissequitco.multiply.com/photos/album/51/Icys_Canine_Distemper. ALSO: Please stay in touch with us and let us know the outcome of your case. Let us know whether your dog was given any of the NDV treatments or not. Let us know whether your dog lived, died or is still struggling with problems. We appreciate videos and pictures that show dogs before and after treatment.

What other diseases in dogs does the serum treat?

According to Dr. Sears, it has also cured dogs of herpes. It may have a beneficial effect on dogs with canine influenza. However, that depends on what strain of the virus that is attacking. However, we know for certain the serum and the NDV treatments do NOT cure parvo.

Tell me more about Dr. Sears

Dr. Al Sears was born in the Canal Zone of Panama. He went to the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Davis and spent 40 years practicing small animal medicine in Lancaster, Calif. He retired in 2006. More information: http://alsears.wordpress.com/

So, who is Ed Bond?

Ed Bond is the project director on canine distemper for Kind Hearts In Action, a 501c3 charity in the U.S. He also runs a group of websites on behalf of Dr. Sears. He became involved in this issue after his dog was saved from distemper by Dr. Sears in 1997. He has been an activist for this cause since December 2008, when he started the Save Dogs From Canine Distemper cause on Facebook. He now manages information about Dr. Sears and his treatments on Facebook, WordPress, Twitter and YouTube, as well as a discussion board on post-NDV spinal tap issues. However, he is not — and does not claim to be — a vet, a scientist, a researcher or an expert. He is a former journalist, using the tools of media and the Web to spread the story about Dr. Sears and his treatments, as well as documenting the outcome of as many distemper cases as possible. Ed Bond can answer many questions about the NDV treatments as Dr. Sears has explained them to him, and most of the information needed to use the treatments are on these websites, which are reviewed and approved by Dr. Sears. However, when questions become too technical, Ed will refer you directly to Dr. Sears or to another vet. More about Ed Bond.

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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.

Three puppies saved in Colorado

Ptarmigan & Annie Oakley

Received Aug. 12, 2011

My name is Laurie. My boyfriend and I adopted two puppies from Texas that have been exposed to distemper. We are located in Vail, Co. The puppies have been coughing and sneezing for almost 3 weeks now (since we received them). Our little male puppy (6ish months, maybe a lab/Dane mix??) woke up this morning with a cracking nose And coughing up mucus. He also threw up his food after a car ride-could be car sickness or an upset stomach from clavamox or a distemper symptom. They both previously have had a clear liquid coming out of their nose but nothing more than a watery nose that dogs get. They had a little bit of eye discharge but that has since stopped. Their poop was runny but they are on probiotics that seem to be helping. They have not had seizures. They had their 1st round of shots..we are torn about getting their next set with them showing symptoms?? Our little girl puppy is better than the male. She is a 4ish month old pug mix. They both still act like happy, playful pups. Not lethargic. We rescued them because they were about to be put down. We don’t have much money but want to do everything we can to help them survive and have a life they deserve.  …  They have not been diagnosed but did spend their trip to co  with an distemper infected puppy that passed away this week. Thanks so much for your help!!

Laurie Lilley
Vail, Colorado


Received Dec. 4, 2011

We treated 3 puppies with the NDV treatments.

We fist gave all 3 of them the straight vaccine, then when the serum came we treated them all with the serum.
After 3 weeks, 2 of the puppies started showing neurological signs (after seeming almost 100% cured) so we immediately did the spinal tap on both and gave each of the puppies(all 3) another round of the serum.  This week, we gave one of the puppies that had the neurological distemper another round of the serum (his nose is drying out again).

All 3 of the puppies are alive and well, thanks to the NDV treatments.  Though we are still waiting on pins and needles, they all are acting like healthy little pups without a worry in the world.

Both puppies that had the spinal tap have remaining twitches, however, after receiving the procedures the rapid progression ceased in both.

We soo greatly appreciate all your hard work in getting this treatment out there.  Our pups are finally living a life they deserve.  If it isn’t bad enough that they were all strays in a kill shelter hours away from death, they came down with an “hopeless” virus when they finally had been saved from the needle and given a chance to live.  You helped make believers out of 4 people that just wanted to save some lives from euthanasia, and 4 vets that were 100% skeptical of the treatments we were asking them to preform.

We thank you!! As do our children, Ptarmigan, Annie Oakley, & Sully.

Laurie Lilley
Vail, Colorado

Mojave survives neurologic distemper

en español

I adopted Mojave (Moe) in June 2011 from a Border Collie Breed Rescue program. Moe was found wandering in the Mojave Desert and breed rescue picked him up from a shelter in that area. Moe was covered with foxtails, not neutered, and apparently had never been vaccinated for distemper as a puppy. He subsequently received all of his immunizations (including distemper) upon being picked up by the rescue folks. However, Moe was unfortunately exposed to distemper in the shelter where he stayed initially.

About 10 days after I adopted Moe, he came down with double pneumonia and a collapsed lung. My vet was hoping that this was not a complication from distemper, but we had no way of knowing that at the time. Moe’s infection cleared up after several weeks of intensive antibiotics, IV hydration, and breathing treatments.

Approximately a week after Moe recovered from the pneumonia he began to have tremors in his hind legs. We went back to his primary vet who suspected that these symptoms were distemper related. A blood test was drawn, but the

Moe and Shasta

results were not to be available for several weeks. At that point we saw a neurologist who confirmed the diagnosis of distemper based on Moe’s symptoms. She videoed him for teaching purposes since distemper is not common in adult dogs and basically told us to go home and say our goodbyes to Moe. I found that unacceptable!

Fortunately around the same time one of women from rescue told me about the Newcastle serum vaccine. She told me at 8 in the morning and at 11 am the same day Moe and I drove to see Dr. Slaton at Westlake Village Animal Hospital. Dr. Slaton is awesome! He spent time talking to me on the phone while I was making the 400 mile drive and explained the spinal tap infusion treatment in great detail. When we arrive Moe was checked in and scheduled to have the infusion the next morning. All went well, we drove home three days later and now the Moe dog you see in the videos is our recovering warrior dog!

Conventional veterinarian medicine does not accept this treatment as valid. I wish more doctors did because the Newcastle vaccine discovered by Dr. Sears does work if administered in time. Mojave is living proof of this!

Pam Nabors
Nov. 9, 2011

Please tell a friend about canine distemper

Thanks so much to everyone who has helped Project Carré.

Our current Microgiving fundraiser, which has added $940 to our total so far, will be wrapping up Nov. 3, and we need help getting out the word to people who have not dealt with this disease. While we’ve raised more than $3,000 in the battle against canine distemper, we still need at least $2,000 more just to get started.

So many people who have helped know about distemper firsthand.

You know what it’s like to watch as a beloved, furry member of the family gets these flu-like symptoms, then later starts twitching in a leg, shuddering in the head and eventually starts having seizures. Along the way, the pads of the feet get hard. Walking becomes difficult. The nose, already stuffed with mucous, dries and cracks. All the joy in being a dog falls away. It is no wonder so many vets will recommend euthanasia as a kindness to these animals.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Dogs can be returned to health: running, playing, hunting animals in the woods, smelling, living life to its fullest. I’ve seen it happen with my own dog, and people from all over the world have written to me about their success stories.

We’ve got pictures, videos and owners accounts to show this.

However, this remains a little-understood disease.

For most owners, distemper is just one of many diseases that their pet gets an inoculation for during a routine vet visit. Distemper is just a remote hypothetical to them, and they need someone who knows about this disease first hand to explain what it is and why it is so important that a cure be approved.

I’ve put together a Q&A that you might show to your friends and contacts or that you might use to talk about distemper and why a cure is needed. You can find it here.

Please share this with your friends, or send them direct to the page on Project Carré.

Bear in mind just how unique our cause is. How many nonprofits do you know of fighting a disease, trying to find a cure?

We are a cause fighting a disease and we ALREADY have a cure. All that remains is to prove that it works.

With one smart, focused effort — backed by enough donations — we can put an end to this.

Dogs will no longer have to die of canine distemper.

Thanks,

Ed Bond

 

Copyright © 2011 Kind Hearts In Action Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
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Q&A on distemper

Questions and answers for people who have not experienced canine distemper. These are based on questions I’ve been asked over the years. Post your own questions as a comment.

So, canine distemper, that’s like rabies, right?

Wrong.

Rabies and distemper are separate diseases caused by different viruses.

“Rabies is spread by infected saliva that enters the body through a bite or broken skin. The virus travels from the wound to the brain, where it causes swelling, or inflammation. This inflammation leads to symptoms of the disease. Most rabies deaths occur in children.” [PubMed Health.]

Distemper is often spread through the aerosol discharge from the nose of an infected animal. It does not transmit from dog to human the way that rabies does. It also does not increase the anxiety, stress and aggressiveness of the victim. Both diseases include seizures among their symptoms, but while rabies is a threat to humans, canine distemper only attacks dogs. The distemper virus affects every system and every organ of the dog. The symptoms of the early stages of distemper include a gunky/runny nose, dry eyes, dry/cracking nose, dry/cracking pads of feet, vomiting and diarrhea and fever. In the latter stage, the virus attacks the nervous system, causing seizures. However, the disease does not attack every dog the same way. So, symptoms don’t come in the same order.

I heard the only way you can be sure it’s distemper is when you see seizures.

No, there are ways to tell. And you don’t want to wait that long. That’s the stage where it is hardest to save the animal’s life. One way to diagnose distemper is by checking the cells of the bladder through what is called a Brush Border Smear. There is also a new lab test that can tell the difference between antibodies from an active infection rather than from a vaccination.

What’s it like to have canine distemper?

I recently asked Dr. Al Sears this question, and this is what he had to say:

“Have you ever had the flu? You’re dizzy. You sit up, and you get dizzy. You’ve got diarrhea. You’re vomiting. You can’t eat. You can’t drink anything. You’ve got a fever. You’re sweating. You’re laying there in bed, just wishing you could die. How does that feel? The difference for dogs is the majority of them go on to stop breathing. When you have a real bad case of the flu, you almost wish that would happen. That’s basically how I’m sure how those dogs feel. I’m sure in an acute case, they wish they were dead. I’m sure the majority of them go on to die, but that’s only because of organ failure. God, it affects every organ of the body practically. …  Your eyes are all full of mucous. You can’t see. Are those dogs comfortable? No they’re miserable. They’re in severe pain and they don’t like what’s going on. They’re hurting. …  You can have hardpad, which makes it almost impossible for the dog to walk. Consider somebody shaving off all the skin on the base of your foot and then ask you to walk across the room. You can’t do it. Think about the dog that gets bad teeth, loses all the enamel on their teeth …  Or the ones that lose their ability to make tears, so they can’t even blink. These are all secondary problems that occur.”

Why worry about canine distemper? I thought there was a vaccine to take care of that.

There is a vaccine that can prevent the disease, first developed in 1950, but the disease continues. Without an accepted treatment, unvaccinated dogs still get sick and die. There are hotspots of distemper all over the world. In the U.S., it is most common in the South and West. It keeps spreading because of outbreaks in shelters, hitting stray dogs and puppies. Contact with wildlife also spreads the disease. But nobody seems to be keeping statistics on the disease, so no one really knows how big a problem there is. But we’ve received thousands of e-mails from hundreds of people begging for help from around the world. We’ve maintained a page on stats that we have tracked through our site.

Why should I care if strays and shelter dogs get distemper?

Because you, or someone you love or someone in your community, may someday fall in love with a stray or a shelter dog. It happens. [That’s what happened with me.] People bring home a dog that seems healthy, fall in love with it, and the children in the home get attached, all before the first symptoms hit. Eventually, a vet may make the diagnosis of distemper, and it hits with the finality of a death sentence. But then, owners are told that a few dogs might survive. This gives a false sense of hope, and they struggle to save their pet with the accepted protocols — antibiotics, fluids and supportive therapy — but to no avail. The animal dies after the family has gone through hell — and a lot of money — to save their pet. We believe they could have been spared the pain, misery and financial expense with an early diagnosis and a vet who had a ready supply of NDV-induced serum.

I don’t hear about distemper in my community. So, it’s not a problem here.

Distemper can crop up literally anywhere. For example, it is not very common in the Northeast. But in the past three years, we have received requests for help on distemper cases in Buffalo, Syracuse, Scranton, Pa., New Jersey and the New York City area. Unfortunately, vets in the Northeast have been very reluctant to try the NDV treatments, and we have yet to save a dog in the Northeast. Eventually, it can come to your town.

I thought only puppies get distemper

No, it can hit any unvaccinated dog, at any age.

I read on the Internet that there is no cure, and no absolutely no proof that NDV can cure dogs of distemper.

It’s accurate to say the treatment has not been proven. But all we are asking for is a chance to prove that it does work. This is a new way to fight disease. When Edward Jenner injected cowpox into an 8-year-old boy in 1796, he had no guarantee that it would save him from smallpox. When it did, it opened up new possibilities in fighting disease. Alexander Fleming did the same thing in 1928 when he discovered penicillin when his lab samples were accidentally contaminated with mold. Dr. Sears’ protocol may have unlocked a new weapon against a disease, even though we don’t know what it is or how it works, yet.

Ed Bond

Oct. 25, 2011

Have more questions on distemper? Please post in the comments below, and we’ll answer them here.

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