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Dr. Alson Sears
Ed Bond

Canine distemper
Daisy: One We Couldn't Save
DaisyDAISY -- "My neighbor adopted Daisy from a shelter in Baldwin County, Alabama on Dec. 16, 2000. She and her husband just left her outside in the freezing cold without food or water and they disappeared for a few days. We took her in and kept her for five days before we ever saw our neighbors even show up at their house. They agreed she would be better off with us and gave us her adoption papers. The first week she just seemed to have a cold or my vet said possibly kennel cough. The cough got better with some antibiotics, and aside from some twitching and excessive hunger, she seemed OK at least through Christmas. On New Year's Eve, however (this was two weeks after she was adopted and over a week since we had her) she started foaming and seizing. Her appetite was very hearty; she kept her food down and had normal bowel movements. The foaming and seizing got worse and I was frantic to find a vet to diagnose her and treat her, not even thinking it was distemper since her symptoms were so different from Bailey's. Finally, my vet, Dr. Wells, said it was possibly epilepsy. They did testing for epilepsy, rabies and finally, distemper. Unfortunately, it was too late. We lost her in the second week of January. A day later the test results came back diagnosing distemper. Dr. Wells said the distemper must have attacked her neurologically instead of digestively as it did with Bailey. This was the first pet I have ever lost and I was devastated. She was the sweetest and most helpless little creature who had some really bad circumstances at her young age and she will forever hold a special place in my heart. We came to love her so much in her short time with us. I only wish we would have had the cure in time since she really never had much of a chance at life, but gave so much love, even while she was sick. Near the end, though, she was confused and dazed and couldn't even walk without falling down. I don't think she even knew who we were. It was heartbreaking. To know the cure was out there and not have had access to it in time was equally as heartbreaking and beyond frustrating. We truly adored and sorely miss our little Daisy."
 - Susan M. Kovacs
Elberta, Alabama

Unfortunately, not every dog has been saved. Some owners just didn't hear about Dr. Sears in time. Here's some excerpts of emails I've received from these unlucky people.  For their sake, and to save me from getting more of these sad and often poignant messages, please help spread the word.
- Ed Bond

Thu, 29 Jun 2000

"Dear Ed, I read your article and contacted Dr. Sears last night.  Unfortunately, my puppy, Princess passed away at 1:30 a. m. this morning, due to distemper and possibly bacterial meningitis.  Like you, we took her to the vet and had her vaccinated at 8 weeks but the virus beat us.  She had her first and last seizure in less than twelve hours after which she died.  She was a precious little flower and we will miss her greatly.  Her warm little body and her sweet puppy kisses.  We only had her for a week, but I think I will miss her more than any of the other animals I have lost to diseases.  My husband calls me Mrs. Noah.  Keep your website up; if there is a cure, people like me will be looking right here, only sooner I hope. "  Thanks, Dawn in Iowa

Thu, 31 Aug 2000
Recently my girlfriend went to the animal shelter and got a puppy without my knowledge, I was upset at first but the puppy grew on me FAST!  We were happy to be able to give this cute pitbull mix a good home. ...  I got home from work Monday at my normal time, to find Sasha waiting for me with her little bear in her mouth. That night while we were watching t.v., Sasha was sleeping on Erica’s lap, Sasha was breathing heavy.
Erica said "Do you hear her breathing over there?"   Just then she stood up and started to walk all jerky and her little jaw was shaking, saliva ran down her chin all over the couch. Erica was yelling for me to do something, it looked like she was choking, Erica patted her on her back as if to dislodge whatever it was...... I was scared. Before we knew it she stopped and ran over to get a drink and a little bite to eat, like nothing had happened at all! An hour later she had  another,and we rushed her to the E.R.  ... This morning I woke to the phone, it was the neurologist, and I could tell in Erica’s voice, it was BAD! She had several more that night and it had gone from the focal seizures once a hour or so, to every ten seconds.    We made the decision this morning to put her down, we drove there in tears. I paid my final vet bill with the last of my money, and went to see her in a room that was prepared for her. The vet came in with Sasha, and it was so sad. 
She could not stop seizing and I don’t think she recognized  Erica and I at first. She was put to sleep at 9:15 in the morning of August 31,00.  Sasha will be missed DEEPLY!!   I wrote you this to let you know that this virus is not only devastating on the animal it effects but also the people who loved the animal, and I hope one day that Dr. Sears' serum is available to everyone that has a pet dealing with this virus. We were just a little late for Sasha!  I hope people don’t make the same mistake as us.
thank you,
Geoff & Erica(and from our lil' pupperoni)

Tue, 12 Dec 2000 
I have been sitting in front of my computer reading your website, and I have found myself dissolving in tears as I read about your experience with distemper, so like mine and my husband's. We didn't know anyone had even thought of a cure. On November 4 of this year, we adopted a Shepherd mix puppy, 3 months old, from the Humane Society. We named her Koga after an ancient Japanese Ninja clan. She was so quiet, like a Ninja, and gentle, but we didn't know that this was the result of illness. She bore such a resemblance to Tug that I started when I saw Tug's photo on the web site. I have never owned a dog, and it has been my dream since I was a little girl. But the distemper virus likes to wreck dreams.
She developed a bad cough and, after going through an experience remarkably like yours with Tug, she had her first seizure. We had been told after visiting 5 different vets that we should watch for these seizures, and if they developed, there was no use fighting it. She had one of the "gum chewing" seizures, and even though she was eating and drinking, we decided to have her put to sleep on Dec. 2, less than 2 weeks ago.
She was so beautiful and so intelligent, and I still mourn her death, but I thought I was coping quite well; I realized that I am still in quite a delicate state when I found myself weeping while reading your website. It is a wonderful site that has provided a great deal of information. We are waiting for the customary month to pass before adopting again, to be sure the virus is dead, and we are cleaning everything with bleach. We threw away Koga's bed and toys, and we are cleaning baby gates and her feeding station with bleach. We have raked all leaves from the yard where she walked (she was housebroken in one week. She was such a smart dog), and we have even poured bleach solution on the lawn where she walked. We are waiting until after the New Year to adopt.
When one rescues animals of questionable background, which my husband and I like to do, one takes a chance. But your website has given me hope, and I will be less frightened about adopting another dog. Thank you so much for the link to Dr. Sears as well. If this distemper virus tries again to do its vile work, we will be armed with information...and hope. Thank you so much.

Mon, 18 Dec 2000
hi ed
just finished reading your amazing article about distemper
we found a "puppy chow" puppy in front of my school about 6 weeks ago.
he started having seizures last night.
his older sister (7 mos.) is very depressed since he didn't come home after the trip to the emergency room.
i read on your page that once the seizures start dr. sears' serum doesn't work.
of course... your article made me cry so much more... we too now have 2 cats and two dogs...
we'll try to just take care of him for a few more days....
but im worried about the older puppy. she has always been very healthy. do you think i should get her tested?
the puppy had very few signs of distemper. the only ones we can now think of are: loss of appetite, diarrhea, and a mild eye infection. no mucus, no cough, nothing, only the foamy saliva at 2 am, and the first seizure at 4:30
anyway, i now forget why i started writing... to share, to try to feel better, to thank you...

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