Thursday, August 21, 2008

Chicken...Buck Buck Buck!

And I'm Not Talking About What's In The NDV Vaccine

Photo: Courtesy of
maker of smudge sticks, other herbal preparations, and eco-friendly items

Dr. Brantly came sheepishly to the phone this afternoon, intent upon making his point, and with voice quivering he said, "Hello? Ms. Carlington? Are you calling about Bear?"

"No, Carmella, " I replied thinking that not enough sleep and too little coffee was possibly muddling his head for a short second.

"Oh, yes, Carmella." The doctor seemed to snap his mind back into focus.

"So, have you had a conversation with Dr. Sears yet?"

"Nnno...?" he hesitated. "I haven't called him just yet. I'm still planning to though, just mainly to get information, ask questions, and discuss with him. " There seemed to be a "but" coming and there it was. "I, I, um really don't feel comfortable doing the injection at this point. After all the reading up I just don't know whether it would be safe unless she were faced with imminent death."

"Well according to Dr. Sears she will be sooner or later even if she's not going to die immediately. I'd rather she not die at all until she would normally. I don't want her to continue to get worse and then have a lingering horrible, and certain death in which she suffers."

"She might not". He sounded as though grabbing at straws, and in fact he was.

"Do you mean you think her immune system could fight off the virus in her brain on its own?" I asked dubiously.

"Yes, it's possible. Some dogs have static symptoms like seizures or jerking and still do quite well."

"And you're saying that antibody tests show that those dogs have killed the virus; that it's no longer detectible?" I had him there.

" Very few vets will even do a spinal tap to test the CSF for antibodies. We really haven't gone that far to see how those dogs did. Just based on their symptoms, they seemed to not be progressing."

"I'm not sure what you're mainly worried about. Is it doing the spinal tap or the injection? Are you worried that you might hit the chord and paralyze her?"

"No, that is a risk, but it's not that. It's the way the NDV's shelf-life is preserved that I'm worried might not be good to be injecting into her spinal canal." He also expressed a fear that she'd go into shock, and I said that from what I've learned from Dr. Sears if you run IV fluids that will handle that effectively.

"You're worried about the preservatives they use being harmful?"


"Well have you read the formula to make the dog-based serum from scratch? That wouldn't be filled with preservatives". It was beginning to look as though the man was quickly running out of viable excuses.

What now? I thought, and there it came...predictable.

"Yes, but I still don't feel comfortable doing it. It's still too experimental". The last desperate defense of a man who had no defense. So is everything, I thought, until it becomes commonly used. What kind of logic was that, I wondered. Certainly not scientific. If all the techniques used now in other deadly diseases had been simply tabled indefinitely because they were "experimental" chances are we'd be an endangered species by now, and so would our dogs.

Then a brilliant idea struck me as if fired from a gun. Last night I had been searching on Google to look up Distemper research and it became apparent that the drug company that manufactures NDV, Merial, had done quite a bit of research on Canine Distemper, but mostly in Ferrets.

"Merial seems to be quite interested in Distemper. They had links all over Google as I was reading last night, and people who own ferrets seemed to be a strong advocacy group for that sort of research. I didn't find as much in dogs, but what if some vets were to team up and submit a funding request to Merial for grant money to do a clinical trial? It seems to me that would put alot of this fear to rest, and once an offocially recognized study were done vets could stop freaking out about it. If there is real merit to this and it is the only real cure for Distemper don't you think it deserves a chance?"

"Yes, that is a good idea, but it would probably be the academics; neuro vets with the big credentials; those in research facilities who would be the best ones to submit a proposal. Places like UGA have all the equipment, MRI, CT, and contrast for guided imaging."

"Yes, or ones in private practice specialty clinics like Dr. Johnson."

Dr. Brantly agreed. He sounded relieved to put this responsability on the academics and the specialists.

"Well, maybe a task force with those as the lead investigators and including other vets who are interested could be put together. It seems to me that the only way that vets in the community will get used to this is by being directly involved, because there are only so many neuro vets to go around. I found exactly two board certified ones in Atlanta; Dr. Johnson and one other, a woman in Sandy Springs, and about 4 in Athens around (or on staff of ) UGA. I did find out a few names and I'll be contacting them too."

"I did contact a vet in Alabama who has had great success using the dog-based serum."

"Well, good! What about having her treat Carmella?"

"She has only done the first part (in the body; not in the CNS), and she also is afraid to attempt the tap procedure."

"Well that's exactly why a clinical trial really is timely. If vets don't use it then what good is having a cure?"

We left it that I would send him any relevant research that implied this would be safe and effective, and that he'd call me to let me know if he thought of anybody who did feel comfortable doing the procedure, and he asked me to let him know if Carmella got any worse.

When he and I got off the phone we both knew the unspoken truth; that he could not scientifically guarantee me that she wouldn't.

When I checked my e-mail there was a message from Dr. Sears.

"Just about any vet can stick a needle in the Foramen Magnum without an ultrasound or MRI. Find one that will try."

In response to the fact that Dr. Johnson was working on Interferon he had this to say, "As to interferon, it does not work. Does not interrupt the distemper virus. We tried that years ago. There are now 9 different interferon's and none of them work against this virus. They do work against some but not this one. Induction with NDV sets off a variety of Cytokine's, many of which we have no names for. They just work. Especially against distemper."

And his response regarding shock happening: "Absolutely, once the NDV is introduced into the spinal space shock occurs. So what. If an IV line has been placed before anesthetic then fluids can be given and the shock is under control. Treat or death is the eventual outcome."

Regarding the trouble I've been having finding a vet to commit to this procedure, (I had to leave a few choice statements out in the interest of decorum, LOL, so as not to alienate other vets who might end up being important allies), but I can include some of it.

"I was able to find a Vet in primitive Indonesia. I cannot believe that there isn't a vet with needle savvy in all of Florida (he meant Georgia). I have now treated 4 dogs (in the CNS). One 36 years ago, and 2 10 Mo's ago, and 1 three Mo's ago. The 2 in Indonesia are both alive and without secondary symptoms at this time, Daveyo's dogs.

Hopefully yours is next.

Doc Sears"

Carmella still needs your help. Her bill is growing. Your purchase from my Etsy store is much appreciated. I'd like to thank the few individuals who have recently bought jewelry in the last 2-3 weeks. I just tonight added a new pair of earrings to my Carmella Collection. Remember that with love and action, all things are possible!

Carmella Collection- Lillies of the Valley (earrings)


T.Allen-Mercado said...

My heart goes out to you in your quest to save Carmella. I will certainly let any perspective jewery buyers in on the cause and direct them to your shop whenever possible.

Cherry Lane Jane said...

I hope you will find someone closer to home that can help her! poor thing

Giftbearer said...

Thanks for your support. Carmella was jerking again tonight after I finished writing when I went in the other room to check on her. This time her leg and shoulder were jerking pretty hard and I was beginning to worry it might turn into a full-blown seizure. I'm writing a few more of those vets tonight in hopes that maybe one of them will go ahead and not waste any more time.

The Empty Envelope said...

She's a beautiful girl! I will be checking out your shop!

Giftbearer said...

Thanks so much empty envelope! Hope you find something you love! It would be a blessing.