To recap for any new readers who are just joining me, my puppy, Carmella, who I adopted from a local animal shelter has Distemper and has been cured of the virus in the body with Newcastle Disease Virus Vaccine, the LaSota strain (manufactured by Merial), a discovery made by Alson, Sears, DVM, but still needs an injection into the spinal canal in order to kill the virus in the brain and Central Nervous System. The second injection must be done directly into the spinal canal because NDV does not cross the blood-brain barrier from the body. While searching for a vet with the experience and willingness to work in the area called the Foramen Magnum (the area where spinal taps are done at the base of the skull), Carmella has developed myoclonic jerking, some incoordination in balance, and stiffness in her right front leg. This has gotten worse over the past month.
Each vet that refuses her the procedure who is capable of performing it allows the virus to continue to do further damage to the brain, and each day she waits brings her a little closer to paralysis, grand mal seizures, and ultimately, death.
One of the excuses used by a number of the vets I've asked has been that this is still "experimental", yet so far none are jumping on the bandwagon to advocate clinical trials and further study, even though there is quite alot of empirical evidence that it works. I would love it if some vet would read this blog and decide to go ahead and help her out of the kindness of his/her heart in spite of all this, but so far that hasn't happened.
In one of my previous posts, I outlined some of the National Veterinary Ethics Board regulations, and it is pretty clear that vets who may be afraid to try this for fear of liability have really nothing to fear, as the regulations would actually support them in doing it, thus saving a dog's life, removing suffering, and advancing the current understanding of a possible cure for Distemper.
The continued failure on the part of Veterinary Medicine to move forward on this discovery becomes a vicious cycle in which the treatment just sits there tabled until somebody takes up the mantle and does what is necessary to officially legitimize it. This leaves dogs like Carmella at a stalemate much as humans with deadly and thought to be incurable diseases are left out of luck when stem cell research is held up because of ominous, albeit unfounded fears and religeous beliefs regarding the "tampering" with nature or "God's plan".
Then there is the agenda of Big Pharma in which a potential cure for any disease threatens to make obsolete current "supportive care" drugs and procedures. Nevertheless, when a cure is on the horizon man is foolhardy to turn a blind eye to it. Even from a religeous standpoint, I don't believe that a loving God would provide us the brains and creativity to come up with this new science and not intend for us to make use of it. That just wouldn't make sense.
After sending out press releases to all local TV stations and to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution I decided this weekend not to wait any longer to hear back from them, but to go to the National media, so I sent out more of these to Frontline, Dateline, and asked for the story submission process for 20/20. The latter's webform was a little unclear as to how stories are submitted or decided upon, and it only allowed 500 characters. My press release was a little more than that, so I'll have to get more information as to where to send it in full so that they aren't left saying, "Huh? Where's the rest of the story."
If the local news picks this up that's fine too, but there's no guarantee that the one vet who finally steps up and volunteers to do this will even be located in Atlanta or in its surrounding suburbs, so I have to be prepared to look further than my own backyard.
Considering that I've probably asked 20 or 30 now in all and still none has agreed to it, the job may take someone so rare that that vet could be located anywhere in the US.
Although stories might not be harvested on the weekend, at least these first National news requests will be waiting for their producers and investigative reporters come Monday morning and they can hit the ground running. I just hope it will spark the interest of the right people and that I'll start getting phone calls next week sometime, as the number of news contacts made reaches critical mass. Maybe the more news agencies who receive it, the bigger it's chance of getting on the AP wire or sent around to various affilliates. I still need to look into how to submit my press release directly to the AP wire, as that will make this notification process alot easier.
If any of you out there reading work for a news media agency; print, TV, online, or radio, please see what you can do to have some influence and ask that they cover Carmella's story. If you would like to have me interviewed by your agency please leave a comment on my blog about how I can get in touch with you and I'll get you or the person doing the story my contact information. If you have an Etsy account and would like to contact me more privately about news coverage, their convo system is another way you can reach me and I can make contact with you or your "people".
This morning Carmella woke up as usual wanting to go out and go to the bathroom, and after she'd done that I let her lie on my bed for awhile. Amazingly she sayed there pretty well-behaved for about a half an hour before she got restless again and wanted to chew things, jump down onto the floor and get into mischief. I'm crossing my fingers that she will get over her restlessness and urge to chew up everything in her path. It was really nice to just have her curl up and keep me company while I looked through my supply catalogues and rested and watched TV. I woke up very fatigued this morning. I think my own autoimmune disease may be flaring up somewhat, so I had to kind of take it easy today. Just making myself lunch seemed like alot of work. I've had to take something for pain two nights in a row.
I plan on watching some comedy on TV tonight and to try to get a good night's sleep.
Carmella's paw seemed to be curling under this evening when I checked on her in addition to the usual jerking.
Earlier today I worked on training her for awhile. She is particularly good at fetching things I throw for her and is becoming more and more consistent in bringing them back each time. She still tries to chew on my pants leg but seems to be gradually doing that less. When I tell her to sit or to lie down she often stops at that moment.
I'm looking forward to ordering these rubber stamps I'm having custom-made, but I have so many designs that I've adapted to black and white that it might take a few days next week for the woman I'm communicating with to finish the proofs. Some of them will be round and some square or rectangular. I was looking through some supply catalogues for some very fine gemstone beads and high-end cabs to go with this new line. There's a bead show next Friday that I'm planning to go to to look for some of that stuff in-person and I also want to pick out some really nice oxidized chain for the necklaces and maybe bracelets.
Many thanks to all who have donated to Carmella, bought an ad here, and to the recent buyer who purchased my "Click Beetle" bracelet, and those who have posted supportive comments on my blog.
If you would like to help Carmella and haven't had the chance yet please use the donation button on the upper right of my blog, or purchase an ad in my "Top Spots" further down my sidebar, or you can start your holiday shopping early and purchase something from my Etsy store. Your help will allow me to pay down Carmella's vet bill more quickly and will help greatly if I end up having to take her out of town to get her treated.