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Question on Distemper - Aftercare

2401 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  GSDLoverII

The thread link above will give you a bit of background on Samantha and her story.

The wonderful news is after months of ups and downs - Samantha is doing so well that the attending vet will issue a health certificate and clear her for a solo transport.!!!

What was originally thought to be neurological signs of the disease a few weeks back (i.e.: stumbling, weakness - never seizures) is now believed to be purely weakness. An updated full blood panel was run and all was within normal range. The vet started her on some high protein food and vitamins and improvement came!!

Took awhile to get rid of the nasel and occular discharge, longer than I would have liked, but again the vet was willing to switch some medicines and she responded.

Now, I am trying to determine the best after care foster situation for her (even harder finding that ideal foster home). One that will allow her to continue to heal and grow stronger, as well as one that will prevent, as much as possible, other animals.

After speaking with several vets - it is felt that the ideal foster situation would be for Samantha to be the only dog for at least 3 more months. She has been in quarantine at the vet's in GA since the end of April.

I think she still has a road ahead of her, but right now, that road is looking much brighter than it ever did.

The vet tech who has been with her since Day 1 will be sending me an updated picture of Samantha and I will share.

There are several experienced rescue people who have stood firmly behind Samantha and I have to believe she felt that. It feels very strange to have cared so much about this little girl and be miles and miles away from her. We were so worried she was all alone and had to trust in her care, while trying to be her advocate, balancing the decisions.

I have basically zero experience with distemper and I am scrambling to learn more about aftercare. Does anyone have any experience/knowledge that might help me help Samantha a bit more?

Thank you.

PS I want to be clear- this was the girl that was pulled without rescue commitment. But, any foster would be through a reputable rescue - details will be worked out and all her foster vetting care will be continued to be paid.

My hope is that Samantha will one day find the forever home that she has been fighting for. She is young and has a lot of life to live.

Thank you to everyone who has kept her in your heart.
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I have no clue but I did want to say its great seeing you back here.
Awww, Samantha! SO happy she made it. Thanks to the group looking out for her!

When I picked up a puppy on a transport for an overnight we thought she had distemper. She was kept in iso at the vet and then my mom fostered her with no other dogs allowed near her until she was cleared-but she did not really have distemper, so that is different! But she did do that initial aftercare as if she did have it-keeping her from other dogs, being sure people with dogs were careful in going home to theirs, and not taking her out to places where she was exposed to/exposed dogs to her.

I am glad it doesn't sound like there were any neurological effects!

One thing my mom did with her foster was to do a lot of training with her to keep her mind moving and have people who didn't have dogs visit her to do the socialization part at home. She was a very high drive dog who loved to learn so that helped-I taught her a couple of tricks while she was sick in iso!

When it was time for her to meet dogs, we had to be careful because she had not been around them during a key time and had kind of a hard-charging personality. She met Kramer first, gave him a little attitude and he let her have it (not what I was hoping for) with a big, fat bark in the face and postured to let her know he was fired up and ready to roll. She was so smart that she realized that was not the thing to do, and I slowly introduced her to my other dogs and dogs at Meet and Greets who were NICE. She never did like to deal with dogs who were not automatically nice. She loved Trish's Caja. If her temperament hadn't been as solid it could have been a problem, but if I remember Samantha looks all GSD and is from the south so she has two in the plus column!

So the socialization with dogs and people part is something I think of, even more than the health part.

For that, I am always ready to plug the Vetri-Science DMG. LOVE that stuff!

I would even wonder if treating her more like a senior with the immune system boosting and supplements for a while would help?

Coconut oil, Invigor by Honest Kitchen, Prozyme and vitamins are things that I use with my old pair with their joint stuff.
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Jean - you are my go to woman on health!!

Excellent post and information!!

Thank you!!!

Now, I just need to find that special foster home. But, I will. She made it this far and did all the hard work!
I am so happy to hear this, I was afraid to ask for fear it would not be good news.
Wonderful! Cant wait to see her new picture!!
Thank you Darcy for standing by her and loving her- you are a very special person and angel to her!!
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Glad to help a teeny bit.

I was just looking at some stuff: Maybe some CoQ10 would help? I need to check Kramer and Nina's vitamins to see how much they are getting of this stuff!

I have never heard of this brand but it sounds like I should be taking it myself!

or maybe even better?

Welactin: made by Nutramax-good company (Cosequin)
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Jean: Looking into this information now and will see if I can send some to the vet's office in GA and get Samantha started on it. Darcy
I am so glad Samantha is doing well enough to be transported I have enjoyed watching this girl get better and better!!!

Distemper is a nasty and I think often overlooked disease....we have seen more than we would like down here and its one that spreads so quickly. However, it is one that I think is easier to quarantine since its aerosolized and dies quickly when exposed outside the host, unlike parvo which is so much harder to get rid of. I think after care would be much like with kennel cough, not to be around other dogs until she isn't shedding the virus anymore, but the foster home will not have to worry about disinfecting their house or shoes or clothes like with parvo.

I haven't seen any specifics on how long the dog will shed the virus and be contagious....only the phrase "several months", did the vet give you a specific time frame? Are their any tests that can be run to see if she is still shedding the virus?

I think she will start to improve by leaps and bounds once in a home where she can relax and get good food and supplements!

Thanks for working so hard on her Darcy.....the number of dogs that would be dead without you is mind boggling!!!!
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my kitty is on it helps...he's about 15 lbs. and gets 30 mg. a day.
Originally Posted By: Avamom

I haven't seen any specifics on how long the dog will shed the virus and be contagious....only the phrase "several months", I know... that is the part that is frustrating, I was told 3 more months to be on the safe side.....did the vet give you a specific time frame? Are their any tests that can be run to see if she is still shedding the virus? That is the million dollar question it seems.... still working on that.
no more distemper vaccinations are needed, ever, and I would think that they might be dangerous.

Scullcap is a great herb to tone the nervous system, and alpha lipoic acid is also a great supplement for the nervous system.
Thank you LisaT.

It is my understanding also that Samantha having had distemper will now be immune to it for life.
Originally Posted By: Darcy1Thank you LisaT.

It is my understanding also that Samantha having had distemper will now be immune to it for life.
That's my understanding too. However, on some board (this one?) there was a distemper survivor and the vet insisted on continuing to vaccinate. So this is a case where the owner really has to be on guard.

I actually wonder if the distemper and other virus that she tested positive for might have been vaccine-induced. Those are live-virus vaccines, and it is a known side-effect, but most medical types will discount that possibility. I've seen a couple of pups on this board come down with severe distemper after their vaccinations. The two I'm thinking about didn't make it though.
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Vaccine-induced is what many of us thought and I pursued with the attending vet. The "argument" back was 2-fold:

1. The Canine Respiratory PCR showed she tested positive for 2 of the 7 viruses tested for------positive for canine distemper and adenovirus type 2. The attending and specialist interpreted the results as true since they believed she would have tested positive for all 7 (or at least the majority) as opposed to 2, if the results were a false positive due to the 7/1 received at the shelter;

2. The shelter was known to this vet's office to have had distemper in the recent past. (Something the shelter did not share before the pull)

A rescue friend sent me this link to look into also: Any feedback?

Homeopathic Treatment for Canine Distemper
Homeopathic (natural/herbal) approaches have been show to be effective in treating and preventing distemper. This would include supplements designed for treating canine distemper itself and others to boost the immune system. A good commercial source of information is PetAlive Vi-Pro Plus to Naturally Prevent and Treat Distemper in Pets
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PS. I should also add that I had a complete Chemistry and Hematology Panel re-run on 6/2 (a month after she was diagnosed) and all levels were within NORMAL ranges, with the exception of PLT (platelet) - 44. K/ul (normal range is 175.-500.)
Low platelets - can be caused by a tick disease, but also a common vaccination side effect. Hmmm.....

Personally, I think the best way to treat vaccine-induced problems is with homeopathy. I worked with a vet who knows this stuff, and I would be nervous recommending a product. I know when my dog had effects from her lyme-vaccine, the homeopathic lyme stuff was not good for her -- she needed different remedies.

You might consider talking to Marina here:
(I can't get her home page to load, it's a new site). She has managed a few dogs I've known, and one a cancer case that lived many many years.
There is a wealth of info on this message board about distemper, parvo, lepto and other stuff.
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