Puppy surviving with canine distemper but not getting better (Help! I'm desperate)

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Puppy surviving with canine distemper but not getting better (Help! I'm desperate)

This is a discussion on Puppy surviving with canine distemper but not getting better (Help! I'm desperate) within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello, I'm kinda desperate about my puppy... short story, he's an adorable puppy who 'survived canine distemper'... Long story: We had a litter of four ...

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Old 05-26-2018, 09:47 PM
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Puppy surviving with canine distemper but not getting better (Help! I'm desperate)

Hello, I'm kinda desperate about my puppy... short story, he's an adorable puppy who 'survived canine distemper'...

Long story:

We had a litter of four puppies, they were born at the first days of this year. Everything went well, until.. roughly two months ago. The pupies started having a weird diarrhea and appear sick. We took them to the local vet and he treated it as giardia and verminosis. In a few days they looked much beter, however, in less than a week all of them stopped eating and they started showing signs of the same problem again... one of the girls also developed rash-like (pustules) lesions on her belly region, along with 'snotty eyes' and anorexia. We took her to the vet again and he said it was the giardia coming back due to their immune system being weak, and he also precribed predinisolone for the girl as she had what he called 'scabies'...

Well, it only got worse. In five days she was having seizures by the morning and died after agonizing hours of trembling in what appeared like convulsions and finally coma followed by death. Apparently the prednisolone precipitated the neurological phase of the distemper we didn't knew she had.

The local vet saw her dying and was sure it was canine distemper despite the fact we have no means of doing bloodwork in the region... sadly in the same day I noticed two of the boys were having pustules on their bellies too... I promptly asked for help only to be told there's nothing to be done.. they had no neurologic signs of distemper at all, and still no vet would help me.

To be honest, we live in a very backwards, poor region of the world, so I can't really take them to a good vet and hospitals in my condition, even so I tried to take them to the vets around and all of them have been adamant that he has canine distemper and they won't take them in or help me as its highly contagious... some of them told me to just let they die.

Sadly, my reality, but I've been alone on this ordeal and basically nursing and keeping these dogs alive... its been a month since the little girl died, and I think I managed to 'cure' one of the boys, but the other one is not getting better. I need help.

To sum it up, in my long online research I found out about vitamin A antiviral properties and I have been injecting it for weeks on his hind legs which made him look much better, I also have been giving him oral thymomodulin to enhance his immunity, and sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (Bractrim, antibiotics) to keep him out of secondary infections... its madness but I've been medicating him for basically two months. I'm sure he would be dead by now if I hadn't done this.

I feed him cooked meat and eggs and I'm making sure he's hydratated. He has little appetite these days.

Long short story, he was doing fine and apparently improving along with his brother, even thought he was a little thin. Until a week ago when I stoped injecting vitamin A (I thought he was free from distemper, we're not even sure anymore..). I also cut on the antibiotics five days ago... I was afraid to keep doing it, but he started having a fever and trembling if there were any wind. Yesterday I gave him antibiotics again and he improved a little, even so I see little hope of him surviving much longer if it continues like this... all of this medication, and his age... I don't know what to do!

I'm desperate for help. I know people would rather me get them to another veterinary, but I assure you, I tried. I'm doing what I can with my knowledge (I'm a biologist), but its beyond me now... I won't give up, but its becoming increasingly difficult to keep him alive. I'm scared of doing the wrong thing, but I'm completely alone...

This is a cry for help.

What would you do in my place? Is there anything I should look for helping him, any sort of medicine or food that could help? Should I go back to vitamin A injections?

My puppy's current data: He's 5 months with no race (mutt), with approximately 5 kg (underweight for his size). Right now he's thin and small next to his siblings, he's very fragile and has little energy, his eyes are 'snotty' and his belly has some old pustules but not as bad as it uses to be. The pustules look like 'pyoderma' lesions and he also has a weird smell.. he has trouble sleeping and feels cold all the time (I have to cover him up with a blanket)... he's getting worse everyday.

Last edited by fenixfire; 05-26-2018 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:56 AM
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I don't have any advice because I don't know about these things but I did want to say it sounds like you are doing everything you can and know how to do and it is good these dogs have you to take care of them, and I will pray for this little puppy.
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Old 05-27-2018, 03:07 PM
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Even with the best vet care, here in the U.S. distemper is not good and very, very, hard to cure. It often leaves the pup with permanent neurological damage if the pup gets the second stage with seizures. Considering that your pup has progressed to that stage it's prognosis is not good. Everything I've read says that distemper has no cure, what the vets do is supportive care, with antibiotics, anti seizure medicine, and medicine to control the vomiting and diarrhea. I hope your pup survives, and I hate that you are going through that with them and that no vet in your area is willing to help you. Your best bet may be to contact one the the veterinarian colleges, explain what is going on, and ask for their advice.



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Old 05-29-2018, 09:56 AM
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Ok, thanks for the attention. Yesterday I managed to talk to a willing vet and he thinks the puppy is perhaps healed from distemper, but suffering sequels and all of the damage it did to his body, including leaving him with a weakened immune system.. he only told me to give supportive care such as fluids and keep on the sulfamethazole antibiotic.... but today I notice his health is declining. He barely eats, only if its very good (taste-wise) food such as raw liver beef and sometimes raw muscle beef, I keep giving him eggs and stuff but... he's getting diarrhea again which saddens me immensely...

About the stage of his disease, I'll be honest... I'm not even sure he got to the neuro stage yet. He's not having and never had seizures or muscle spasms... what I notice is only that he's weakened and has trouble running (when he rarely tries) and getting up, its like his 'legs are a bit stiff'.... his posture also is looking a bit stiff and sometimes slightly 'hunched over'...
It could be due to so many injections he got on his hind legs (quadriceps) but I'm not sure... I'll try again today and see if any vet is even willing to take a look at him...

Perhaps I gave him too much vitamin A and he's getting side effects from its overdose, but I'm sure it saved him from distemper back then... let's see what happens. I stopped any form of vitamin supplements with him for now to see how he reacts to it.

I'll keep trying until the end, because not even euthanasia is an option, they don't do it here.... its taking care or see his conditions getting even worse. I'm a sad mother and feeling all of those things for him is making me depressed... I'm sorry to talk like this, but this is the truth. Thanks for the help, I might try and make a better text explaining what went with him and contact these places later..

I'm glad and thankful no one judged me here or on other forums I asked for help, since its quite common for people to not understand those things. In my situation I know I'm doing the best for him which I'll do as long as I can.

Last edited by fenixfire; 05-29-2018 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 05-29-2018, 10:35 AM
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If you find anything that he will willingly eat, that's what you should feed him, at least until he rebuilds strength. You can worry about correcting his diet later, right now you need to control weight loss, and help him build strength.
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Old 05-29-2018, 05:29 PM
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Thanks a lot, I'll keep feeding him whatever he wants until it gets better... I wish I had a good scale to check on his weight, but for now it seems he's fairly stable yet underweight and emaciated.

Last edited by fenixfire; 05-29-2018 at 05:32 PM.
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