Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Forward, Backward, Side Step, Side Step

Today was such a bixed bag of news and developments I'm not really sure how to interpret it.

As has been the case for the past several weeks, I spent most of the day working to actively affect a positive outcome for Carmella. Things seemed to be looking up, then down, and then what can only be described as lateral.

The first part of the day seemed to confirm that Carmella was a very special dog in that the scientific community may (if everything goes as planned) come to consider her an extremely rare example of a puppy whose recovery would meet the stringent requirements set forth for write-up in credible medical journals.

Although over 600 dogs have apparently been cured of Distemper, most of those would not reach the standard of evidence maintained by professionals in the field of mainstream veterinary medicine. A diamond nestled in amongst tons of quartz, it was certainly looking as though at least up until late this afternoon that Carmella might fit the criteria.

That was until the course of her treatment took an unexpected turn. Dr. Sears spoke with Dr. Norwood by phone this afternoon and he did seem encouraged at the improvement she showed, but both he and I were unaware that her Baytril (one of the antibiotics which was combined with Penecillin G) had been discontinued after only one day of treatmentfor the pneumonia that went hand in hand with the deadly disease.

According to the written material in Dr. Sears' protocol, both antibiotics are to be given together in a shot, IM, twice a day for a full 7 days. The lack of Baytril for 6 out of those days may account for why she still had raspy breathing after most of that time-frame and that although improved, the pneumonia was still not gone.

Apparently such dogs treated with the Baytril and Pencillin G combination have quite a remarkable improvement after the full course.

Her pads are much better as a result of the NDV to treat her body for Distemper, but Dr. Norwood told me that he was worried about the risk of joint problems developing from Baytril while she was growing. As of yet, I do not know what the impact of this deviation from the instructions might be, it may just slow down her progress; not stop it. Time will tell. Dr. Norwood is in the process of ordering Zithromax to use in it's place.

Dr. Sears go-between, Daveyo was flabberghasted and went into all-out emergency mode. Currently living for a few years in Thailand, he immediately suggested I give her the injections myself or get a nurse to do that. There it is much more common to do that kind of thing, as their whole system is different than ours and they can get most anything without prescription. Given the set of circumstances where I live, with no car, not many people who can give me rides places, and never having given a shot in my entire life, I'm not sure how feasible it is to do it myself or go looking in facilities where nurses are employed for such help.

People here are so terrified of "liability" even when it's unwarranted, so I just can't imagine such a thing happening in the US. If I walked up to a nurse and said to her "Excuse me, but would you mind injecting my dog for me?" I'd either be carted off to jail or to the loony bin. At the very least I suspect I'd be met with "Are you nuts! I'm not going to lose my license to inject your DOG!" I don't know, maybe I'm a chicken, but I'd rather leave the injecting to the vets. I don't even know how diabetics can inject themselves without stabbing some vital organ by accident. I remember some of the die-hards in the human autoimmune community subculture doing some pretty drastic and often downright gruesome things to make themselves well in the absence of adequate medical support, and that's just not me.

I realize this may result in a longer inpatient stay for her at the vet's, but maybe he'll take some off the bill if it turns out he discontinued the drug prematurely and decides to go back to Plan A.

Tonight I looked around to see the pros and cons of giving Baytril to a puppy and although many sources say it's not recommended, upon closer inspection of the variables in these studies the dosages they used in clinical trials are alot higher (we're talking only 0.5cc of Baytril used on our protocol).

Sometimes doing what's counterintuitive on the face of it is really the right choice, and I seem to be blessed with good critical thinking skills, so maybe to state "it is often not recommened in young dogs" was an overgeneralization on the part of those doing the studies. One must take into account not only what you read in clinical trials, but also what is left unstated or de-emphasized.

If more than 600 dogs have been quietly given this treatment along with the NDV behind the scenes over the duration of Dr. Sears' carreer don't you think we would have seen horror stories rather than success stories? At around age 71 and retired, Dr. Sears still gets so many inquiries he has to guard his phone number so that he can live his life, much like a celebrity ducking out of sight in order to keep ahead of the papparazzi. I had almost given up on his responding to our communications until I heard that he'd spoken with my vet on the phone today.

I found a chart regarding cartilage toxicity in young dogs and at 2.5mg/kg, at 2-15 weeks of age, Labradors suffered no ill effects even when given the drug for 30 days! Carmella would be about 14 weeks old right now.

Another interesting finding (but you have to read the chart carefully to get the significance of it) is that mixed breed dogs tended to be more resistent to joint damage overall. It did not appear that 7 days of Baytril had any deleterious effects whatsoever.

We are still waiting to hear from the neuro vet, Dr. Johnson as to whether he is willing to administer the CSF Newcastle injection/tap procedure. Dr. Norwood has placed a call to him but he was tied up with patients and the receptionist took his name and number, saying she'd have him return the call.

It's beginning to feel like Chinese water-torture as this drags out. I look forward to being able to take Carmella home and have all these horrors behind us.

Daveyo told me that I must be very careful not to get her wet or give her a bath for 1 month after the shot/tap into the CSF; the final leg of the treatment, because her pneumonia could flare back up and kill her rather rapidly. Meanwhile I can use a very mildly damp cloth on her to spot-clean her and put baby powder on her to keep her from getting too stinky, then make sure to dry her completely.

My 10% sale is still going on, so help Carmella get well and buy jewelry!


kim* said...


Terri said...

Love this necklace!

Giftbearer said...

Thank you both. Do you mean the Great Spirit Milestone necklace? That one took me a really long time to make. It seemed it had endless areas to fill in with beads. Two more days left to get it at 10% off if you're interested. Carmella and I will be really grateful.