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S. Waters, DVM
S. Waters, DVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 44
Experience:  13 years in the veterinary field, specializing in immunology and infectious disease
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My dog is suffering from the late stages of distemper and Im

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My dog is suffering from the late stages of distemper and I'm getting desperate as to how to help her. She is 3 months old today and she's a Lab. She's had 2 seizures tonight and has horrible respiratory issues. She does not have diarhhea and is eating some but not much. Her foot pads are hard and shedding and she has a rash on her stomach. I've been reading about home remedies and I can find some success stories for Vitamin C or Aconite. Do you know anything about thier reliability? She is currently taking Clavobay, Isoprinosine, Prednisone, and 2 different vitamin complexes. The vet gave her 3 injections today but I don't know what they were. Please let me know if you have any advice.
Hi, I would very much like to help you with your question. I can outline for you what we typically do for distemper in the United States, but I will be honest with you and tell you that I had to look up several of the drugs you mention in your post because I was completely unfamiliar with them. I was fascinated to read about Isoprinosine, which we simply do not use in veterinary medicine in the United States, and I do not know why (this will require more research). All that said, I frequently work in Mexico and see distemper cases a little more often than many American vets. The ability to answer your question is made a little difficult by not knowing what the injections are that your vet is treating with. Did your vet explain to you what kinds of medications he/she was giving? Of the medications being administered, are any of them anti-convulsants? If you like, I will outline standard treatment in the United States and you can compare it to what your vet is currently doing when you get a chance, but I can confidently say that what we do is not necessarily better as we treat these cases much less frequently in this country. Ordinarily distemper is a difficult and frustrating illness to treat, and the only care we can provide is supportive. If you would like more information on what we do here, please let me know, and I will provide it. As for the vitamin C and Aconite, I cannot really advocate these treatments. The vitamin C is not likely to hurt, so I don't see any reason not to try it. However, I believe the Aconite has the potential to be more harmful than helpful, so I would not advocate its use.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for taking the time to answer. I'm really looking for a homeopathic expert but I'll let you know what going on. About 4 weeks ago we brought Lucy home from the pet store. She wouldn't eat anything but we attributed that to stress and waited. By the second night she had developed bad diarhea and vomiting the very little that we could get her to eat. So I took her to the vet and he said she must have eaten something that upset her stomach and prescribed Dexadrol and Kaobiotic, she quickly got much better but still didn't eat much. She then developed a cough and the vet prescribed Enroflaxacin and Prednisone, as well as giving her a pedialite like liquid. 2 days later she began having seizures, about 1 a day. The vet thought it might have been a reaction to the prednisone and lowered the dosage. I began to do some research and thought it might be distemper so I called the vet and he told me to start her on Isoprinosine, just in case. Soon after that, with no improvement I took her in to the vet and he did some blood work. He said the blood test showed that she had a bacterial problem not a viral one (beyond that I couldn't tell you what the results were). And he prescribed Clavobay, and 2 vitamin complexes (Enervit and Pharvit, if that helps) as well as continuing the prednisone, isoprinosine, and pedialite. She did a little bit better and began to eat more regularly. At some point in there I took her back for a checkup and she had a fever and her foot pads were hardening. The doctor gave her a shot of an antibiotic and told me to put vaseline on her feet morning and night and put eye drops in her eyes to help with the discharge. By Thursday she was doing much better and I really thought she was going to pull through but then Friday she took a turn for the worse. She began to have seizures again for longer and harder and completely lost all desire to get up and do anything. She also became very weak and her foot pads are shedding. On Saturday morning I took her to the vet and he finally conceeded that she had distemper. He gave her 3 shots, an antibiotic, something for her fever, and an expectorant. He also sent another expectorant shot home with me and told me to continue her meds. She hasn't shown any improvement and I'm worried about her. I'm supposed to take her back to the vet tomorrow for a checkup. I am normally a big advocate of traditional medicine but I'm getting desperate to try and help her. Traditional medicine isn't inspiring much home. A few homeopathic sites talk about something called Vi-Pro Plus which is supposed to be a miracle cure for $55 a bottle (I'm not a huge believer in miracle cures and I can't get it here anyway) but I've also found a few sites that talk about Vitamin C or Aconite (not both because evidently they cancel each other out). I'm basically trying to figure out if I can try these home remedies while she's still on her meds or if you're supposed to take her off of her meds, which I'm not willing to do at this point, but I don't want to spend a bunch of money on vitamin C if it's not going to work with the meds anyway. I have two kids and we are all going to be heart broken to lose Lucy so I would like to know that I've done everything in my power to help her. I would appreciate your advice.
Hi there, if you're really looking for a homeopathic expert, then I will probably need to opt out, although I have access to some alternative medicine experts' advice which I will share here. This information comes from Dr. XXXXX XXXXXmehouse, who is a veterinary expert in alternative therapies that practices in California. If you like my answer, then please click the 'accept' button. If you do not, I will be happy to opt out so that another expert can step in and take the reigns. I do have some familiarity with homeopathy, but my experience with it is that it really does not help with anything I've seen it tried with. That said, I do believe that herbals can be very effective and have a place in treating these illnesses. I will say on the front of Western medicine that I believe an anticonvulsant is in order as it might help give her some relief from her seizures. I am surprised your veterinarian has not already done this, but it is possible such drugs are not available in Honduras; I'm not sure. According to Dr. Limehouse, Dolisos is a good company for homeopathics to treat distemper. However, he also says you can make your own homeopathic treatment at home. His instructions are to take some of the dog's nasal discharge, put it in some Everclear alcohol...about 3 to 5 ml. This is called the Mother Tincture. Now you want to either dilute it furthur in 10's or 100's. He says to use either a 7C dilution or a 12 X dilution. For a 7C use > 1 drop of the mother tincture in a test tube (red top is ok) and add 99 drops of water. Succus (hit against your palm to shake it) for 25 times. This will be a 1C dilution. Take 1 drop of this and add 99 drops of water. Succus again. Take 1 drop of this 2C dilution...etc until you have a 7C dilution. Then use this as a stock solution using 10 drops to 1/2 ounce of water. Give a dropperfull of this final amount three times daily. If you choose to use a 12X dilution, do the same but take 1 ml of Mother Tincture and dilute with 9 ml of water...etc In addition, he also advocates vitamin C. The dose for Vit C would be what the animal will tolerate before it gets bowel intolerance. In some dogs, this may only be a couple of hundred mgs. It is possible to get an animal to use to Vit C by working up slowly on the dose. Start with a pinch (literally a pinch) of Sodium Ascorbate or Ester C and work up from there. Sometimes doctors will use very large doses given intravenously...10,000 mg, to treat distemper. (Dr. Wendell Belfield suggest this in his book "How to Have a Healthier Dog.) Vit A 10,000 units daily; Co Q10 30 mg (or higher) three times a day; and then a multiple vitamin are the other suggestions he gives. I should add that I don't believe any of these nutraceuticals will interfere with the Western drugs you are giving. Moducare, which is a plant sterol, is another option that has anecdotally been shown to help in distemper cases. Finally, it is very important that Lucy gets lots of fluids. Hopefully your vet is administering these, but oral fluids at home should consist of an electrolyte solution. Pedialyte is an electrolyte solution that we frequently use in the U.S, but I am not sure what is available in Honduras. One other thing I should mention is a Chinese herb called Sheng Ma Ge Gen Tang. I do not know its mechanism of action or whether it will interfere with the other treatments being given, and I also do not know if you can access it where you are. However, this herb was shown in a scientific in vitro study to have an effect against the human measles virus, which is a virus in the same class as distemper. It has been used in Chinese medicine for some time as a treatment for the measles virus. The concentration they used in the paper was 100 ug/mL. We currently have no studies in veterinary medicine showing whether it is effective against distemper or not, so if you decide you want to try it I advise its use with some caution, but I wanted to mention it as one possible consideration you could talk over with your veterinarian. My main concern with that one is that I do not know its mechanism of action and do not know how it will interact with the other drugs currently being used.

Edited by S. Waters, DVM on 10/4/2009 at 9:31 PM EST
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Well I would really like to hear from a homeopathic vet if at all possible but I really appreciate you taking the time to answer this. This is only the second time I've used this site (I didn't know about it before) but is it possible for me to see if any other homeopathic vets respond and if not I will happily pay you for your time. I would happily pay you both but I don't want to put more money into this system if no one else is going to respond. I hope you understand. I started Lucy on Vitamin C today and she is doing relatively better. By the time we left for church at 3 I was convinced she wouldn't be alive when we got home. She couldn't even lift her head. But this evening she's gotten up and walked around several times. She's drank a lot of water and eaten a couple of treats and a whole chicken breast (that's a lot for her these days). I was just following advice I found on different websites. I gave her 15000 mg at once around 12:30, then 500 mg (1 pill) every two hours since then. She has had diarhea once so I'm trying to watch that. I don't want to cause another problem. But so far I"m impressed with the results. She goes back to the vet tomorrow so we'll see what happens. Thanks again for your help.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Sorry, I also meant to say, does feeding her her own mucus really seem like a viable treatment to you? That sounds a little crazy to me but I am no doctor.
Well, homeopathy in general sounds a little crazy to me. ;-) I don't know how familiar you are with it, but generally it entails taking the substance causing the problem or something like it, diluting it over and over multiple times, and then administering it. I assume Dr. Limehouse's suggestion is based around the idea that the virus is in large quantities in the mucus, so you are making a homeopathic preparation of the virus. If it's natural and herbal remedies you're after, like I said I do think those can be very beneficial and have a place in treatment. I am really happy to hear the vitamin C is helping. I'd also be interested to hear whatever else you try that seems to help as I do deal with distemper cases down in Tijuana occasionally. It's a tough disease to treat, and cure-alls just don't exist. I don't mind at all opting out so we can see if any of the other experts here can contribute anything. To tell you the truth, answering the post has taught me a few things, and I like learning. :-)
p.s. Give me a moment while I figure out how to opt out... I'm still somewhat new to JustAnswer. ;-)
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks so much, you've been really helpful. I am more than happy to share any information I get, though I don't really know how to do that. I'm definitely looking more for herbal remedies than craziness :). Let me know if I need to do anything to get back on the questions list. Thank you so much again.
Best wishes!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'm looking for an expert in herbal treatments of puppy distemper - I'm also looking to get my question relisted but I'm not sure how to do that.
No worries, your question is still listed here.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Please stop replying. The only way I know to get it on the list is to reply to you and then make it time you out. But when you respond it takes it back off of the list and says it's waiting for a response from me.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I'm not sure if you'll still get this but we had to put Lucy down today. I'm just glad she's not suffering anymore. Thank you so much for your help. If you reply to this, just so I know it's still an option, I will accept your response. Thanks so much.
Hi, I am so sorry to hear about Lucy. Please accept my condolences. :-( Distemper is a really tough illness to treat, as I'm sure you realize. I know you did the absolute best you could for her.
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