Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another Dog Treated With NDV in the CNS Survives!

The Boston Terrier I wrote about in my earlier post has just had the procedure on Friday, October 24th, 2008 in Texas! Today he is alive and doing well! This is another victory for dogs everywhere, as it will make the job of the next owners seeking this life-saving treatment alot easier!

His owner had this to say in a recent e-mail:

"Thanks for supporting us through this. Carmella's successful treatment and Dr. Muller's willingness to share his experience was a huge help."

Little by little more vets are beginning to see the merits of Newcastle Disease Virus Vaccine for the treatment of Distemper and more vets are being added to the list of those willing to treat. This is really exciting! Distemper no longer needs to be a death sentence if it is detected and treated early enough with this method. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Dr. Alson Sears really should get the Nobel Prize for this discovery!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Carmella's New Fashion Statement

Things have been pretty uneventful lately for the most part but finally there are a few things of interest to report.

I got Carmella a muzzle at Petsmart for those times when I want to leave her out of the kitchen for awhile with me while I'm in the computer room or when she is on my bed and I don't want her to chew me or the computer wires.
I'm hoping that this will get her out of the habit of chewing (especially on people) when she figures out she can't do it. I put it on her right when she gets too rambunctious and starts chewing and nothing I say is getting her to stop.

I've noticed that although she tries to get it off and looks kind of disconcerted for awhile, eventually she does stop trying to chew.

I'm hoping that if I pet her when she can't chew me and repeat that often enough it will break the habit altogether at some point.

Today when I was outside with her throwing sticks for her to fetch she really chomped down on me pretty hard while she was jumping up into the air indescriminately trying to grab anything she could even if she could not reach the stick. She almost bit through my shoe once.

There are these berries she loves to eat that grow on the ornamental edging grass that surrounds my back porch and she alternated between eating those and chasing sticks. Luckily they aren't poisonous. She seems to like those even better than her dog food, LOL. I think she might be a vegetarian by nature. It's interesting that she loves things like apples and berries.

A woman posted on one of the Distemper messageboards who is from Texas and she and her husband have a small animal shelter. Several of their dogs have Distemper and one dog has died from it. They are worried that all the others might catch it too because they have not been able to get a vet to do the NDV injection into the Central Nervous System of their own dog, (a Boston Terrier) who was diagnosed almost a year and a half ago.

I gave her Dr. Muller's contact information and they have been in contact but so far their local vet who did the part of the treatment for the body has not been willing to inject the NDV into the CNS, so her dog has been getting worse and worse. He has signs of impending blindness and is starting to have some problems with coordination.

Since she is not able to travel here, I sent her some listings of vets in Texas and also told her to point out to the vets there who are reluctant to do this that Carmella is a living example proving that this treatment will stop the disease and that there can be no negative effects as long as the procedure is done as directed.

If any of you readers live in Texas and know of a vet who might be willing to try this please let me know and I'll pass that contact information onto this woman. It will be great if her dog can have the same chance as Carmella to overcome this disease, and it could prevent her other dogs from catching it also.

I am working on developing a list of vets who will do this so that when newly diagnosed dogs come along they can get help quickly without having to wait until it's too late.

A few days ago I made a small sale in my Etsy shop; a pair of my Haiku earrings made with nicely polished wood, oxidized copper wire, and (in this pair) Turquoise.

I am now down to 3 pairs remaining and I would love to sell the rest of them and make some new ones. If you like these and are interested in a particular stone at the bottom please don't hesitate to ask. I am glad to do special orders. These are great if you want something really nice for a good price. They are reasonably-priced enough to get a pair for several friends and/or family members. Just think; you could have alot of your holiday shopping taken care of.

I offer free gift-wrapping to those who would like it throughout the season. Just convo me on Etsy and let me know in the comment section when you purchase that you'd like them gift-wrapped. I just bought 3 nice rolls of ribbon today in moss green, rich bright red, and a white with sparkly irridescent blue and pink speckles.

I also got an interesting knitting spool that is a little wider than the wooden ones I have for wire and am planning on trying some new and interesting things with that while I wait for my rubber stamps to be completed, and in-between construction of the seedpods.

One more donation has come in for Carmella's vet bill recently. I will need to put another payment towards it again soon, so thank you everyone who has contributed, and those who haven't, keep it coming! Every little bit helps. You can also buy jewelry for your loved-ones in my Etsy store, and/or buy a $5.00 ad slot on my blog to help Carmella.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Seedpods and Sowing Seeds

I've been catching up on some things I haven't had time to do while I was looking for a vet to finish Carmella's NDV treatment. Updating the blog for the art jewelry team I run, The Art Jewelry Collective, posting about the latest trend among jewelry supply companies to cut corners in response to the failing economy, and working closely with my Website Committee chairperson to arrange for what we need to do to get our new e-commerce site up and running in time for holiday shoppers. This is a big deal especially because sales on Etsy have slowed, not only for me but for others as well, and we really have to ramp up our marketing strategy and have everybody pull together to make this season profitable for all. We will be fighting increasing gas prices, higher food costs, lay-offs, and foreclosures; all events that cut deeply into the budet of our potential buyers.

It would be the easy way out to do the same as the supply companies are doing but I won't and I will encourage my team to stay strong and believe in themselves even at times when one can hear a pin drop. I am wearing a little thin with the latest dry period myself, but I know that the last time this happened I began to make my most expensive line and lo and behold somebody bought two high-end bracelets within just 2 months of each other. I'm sure there were some who thought I was nuts for taking such a risk, but it paid off in the end because although I have jewelry in price-ranges from $8.50-$900, it was not the line at the lower end that people wanted (although I made that line with the same standards of workmanship as the other).

With a little thought and planning I feel that I can do that again this year with my new pictorial line and the seedpods I'm currently working on, and if the team follows my lead and comes up with their own exciting and daring designs they too will see the fruits of their labor. Once the website is completely built and up and open for business then all members will need to throw the skills they have into the common pot to advertise and promote it. Then we may be pleasantly surprised at the kind of sales we bring in. Our street team is growing larger and larger and there is alot of manpower there to be tapped into if each member gives of themselves.

My seedpods are coming along, although right now they are very delicate with their paper lantern-like covering. They need to be coated with 15-20 layers of fine silver (metal clay) slip and must be fully dry between each coat so that previous coats don't flake off. The drying time is what is the most time-consuming. Right now I have 3 coats on them.

You can see them from several different perspectives here, from the side, from the top, and head-on. If you have never seen metal clay in its un-fired state it looks alot like spackle or plaster.

The wet slip is applied with a paintbrush over an organic item from nature such as a leaf, stick, or pod. It is best to mix in just enough water to make a mixture that's about the consistency of thickening pudding or slightly thinner depending on what you're trying to cover. You want it to be thick enough to adhere well but not so thick that the surface is too lumpy or loses the detail you want to maintain of the object.

If you want to fill gaps and perfect the shape of the piece you're working on you will need it thick enough so that it does not roll off the gap; just the right thickness to fill it in as it dries. Using a hair dryer can help dry your object faster, but if your slip is fairly thick it may still need to dry for a few hours or even overnight to be sure it is dry underneath as well as on top where you can see it. Often it looks dry but moisture can sweat through and still come to the surface over a period of time if you're not careful. As the water dries the layers compress and it seems as though you've made little progress, as each layer when dry is quite thin, but after about 3 or 4 layers you will notice the piece taking on some weight.

Doing hollowforms can be tricky and takes practice, and firing them can be challenging, the deeper they are the more diligent you must be in making sure all sides are heated fully. Some people use several microtorches at the same time to do this if they do not have a kiln. When firing on a stove on top of a metal grate or screen the piece must be turned periodically. If you're adding other parts to it, multiple firings are necessary to ensure durability.

I still have not heard back from Dr. Norwood regarding the anticonvulsant for Carmella and whether he made contact with Dr. Sears or Dr. Muller.

On one of the Distemper messageboards there's a woman from Texas whose dog has had the NDV given to treat the body but now he needs to have the part Carmella just had; in the CNS. I've been in contact with her and am trying to get her hooked up with Dr. Muller so that he can talk her vet into it locally. She doubts that she can travel to Atlanta, but may do that if there is no other choice and her dog gets worse. She thinks her vet can be talked into it if Dr. Muller explains that it was not any harder than doing a spinal tap, however I had one or two vets I thought would say yes eventually and they didn't. Had I not found Dr. Muller when I did I may have only had two choices; Indonesia or the Phillipines (and there would have been no way I could have come up with the money fast enough for such a trip). Even so, I would have traveled within the US just about anywhere if that's what it took. I hope that this dog will make it and end up another success story like Carmella. Apparently Dr. Muller is out of the office until Monday, but I hope he'll get back to this woman and her local vet soon.

Carmella has been very feisty today and wanted to wrestle so I figured I'd indulge her so that she'd get tired and calm down. She was tackling my foot and chewed a hole in my pants leg. Luckily these pants aren't new or I would have been pissed.

I took some more pictures of her tonight in the kitchen, most of them of her with her mouth gaping in one position or another, or of her chewing on her rawhide chew stick.

After about an hour, finally she was exhausted and crashed. She sacked out below the oven, her right paw jerking.
Even so, I think I notice a slight little bit of improvement! Usually when she has been asleep for a long time it is really severe, but tonigh I see a slowing down of the movement and some pauses in-between. It goes through periods now where it is not as severe. If so, then we are already about 3 1/2 months ahead of predicted! Keeping my fingers crossed that the improvement continues! Be sure to watch Carmella live on Carmella-cam!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Document, Document, Document

Now that Carmella is beginning her recovery stage I've been giving some thought to what needs to be done to document her improvement for the medical journal article to come. I am so excited that Carmella is going to be a part of saving other dogs' lives and want us to do this right so that her case history will be taken seriously by the vets who will be on the review panel of whichever journals it will be submitted to, and vets in practice, after publication.

We're still trying to locate a lab in the US that can test the strain of Distemper in her spinal fluid. The portion for that test is still sitting in Dr. Muller's refrigerator or freezer while we try to work out the logistics. Luckily frozen it can stay viable indefinitely.

I spoke with the pathology lab at UGA and got a much better reception there than we had in the clinical section earlier. There happened to be a vet there who has spent most of his career studying Distemper and he was quite interested when I told him about Carmella and the treatment she had. Although he didn't know anyone but the same Italian source I had who tests for the strain, he seems to have relationships with several major Veterinary research centers around the country and he may be instrumental in pitching this treatment to them, which in turn could get somebody interested in doing clinical trials. I gave him Dr. Sears' e-mail and the link to his dog-based serum and we exchanged e-mail addresses.

He was unaware that the CDC had Canine Distemper on their list of Bioterrorist agents or that they'd documented 13 seperate strains, and was a little shocked, stating that they are mainly an agency for humans and that Distemper can't be caught by humans. I said that was my understanding too, but I have always wondered why they had that on a bioterrorist list. Who knows, maybe it was about potential threat to our food supply, not directly to us. I'm not sure if cows and chickens catch it or not.

Then I called The University of Tennessee. It took a few calls back and forth to reach the right person, but a woman vet called me back from their imunology lab and told me that they don't do the test there either but that she'd try to help me find a lab that did and that I should hear from her tomorrow. She thought she remembered something being done along those lines in Colorado. I hope she does have a good lead there because that would be much cheaper than sending it all the way to Italy!

This blog will keep an important record of Carmella's progress, but I have been thinking also that in addition to the other tests Dr. Norwood and I spoke of the other day maybe she should have regular MRIs to show any changes in her white matter that is damaged by the disease, causing the jerking. If brain and nerve tissue can be regenerated then advanced imaging techniques such as MRI could really show dramatic improvement, and one thing about pictures is they are hard to dispute.

Carmella was bursting with energy today. I think she felt better than I did as the first half of the day I was feeling very groggy, had junk draining down the back of my throat, a headache, and my stumache was churned up. I had this achey, itchy feeling too throughout my body. I needed to stay in bed to get that under control and Carmella was especially feisty and kept wanting to go out of the kitchen.

She was chewing on me again as though she had such an insatiable urge to chew that her toys and sticks weren't enough. My bare feet seemed to be a magnet for her needle-sharp teeth. Sometimes she reminds me of a shark always with her mouth open looking for some flesh to bite into.

I went out several times with her into the back yard and threw sticks for her to fetch. Eventually she grew bored with that and set her sights on chomping into an arm, hand, or leg.

She seemed to have lost her chew stick that she'd been working on for the past month, so I got out another one for her and she set about breaking it in.

That baby bird smell is gone now. It seemed to last just about 2 1/2 months. Too bad because it was a nice smell. She doesn't smell bad now, but the baby bird smell was especially sweet.

The necklace donated by Tracey sold on Ebay on Sunday night for $22.00, and another donation came in via the blog donation button yesterday too. I sent off another payment today toward the vet bill.

Those of you thinking of doing some advertising, don't forget you can purchase ad space on my blog for only $5.00. Those little banners stay there until they bump one by one off the list, and there are lots of slots left to be filled.

The woman from the rubber stamp company got back to me and I sent her the specs I wanted to see some of my pictures in round and some in square or rectangular shapes.

I'm really looking forward to getting started on my new line.

In addition to the pictorial fine silver jewelry I'm planning with Carmella on it and some other scenes I found some really neat seedpods on a tree over the weekend that are going to be covered in fine silver and made into jewelry as well. They are great for Halloween, as they look like lanterns or gourds of some sort. Their natural color is a kind of burnt sienna or burnt umber which I think I will try to re-create with liver of sulfer when I put on the patina at the end.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back To Dr. Norwood

Carmella saw Dr. Norwood for the first time in over a month. I got her up early this morning and she had her first bath since she had been diagnosed. She can finally now get into the water without fear of disease-progression. It was still pretty new to her and so she was a little nervous about getting rinsed off and then dried with a hair dryer, but got through it and felt spry and renewed, barrelling down the hall in the house, and when my ride got here to go to the vet she bounded up for that rare ride in the car.

When we arrived a little early there were several other dogs in the waitingroom, and my friend who lives near me brought her cat at the same time to have her claws clipped. The office is divided in half in the center of the room with a seperate entrance for cats and the other for dogs, so we had to sit across the room from each other and shout over the central office cubicle in order to talk, so we did little of that.

A small Bichon Frise came in and Carmella whined and pulled at the leash as though it were a rabbit she wanted desperately to get to, and then a large black male dog entered not long after that appeared to be part Labrador and possibly a little bit of Newfoundland. Both he and Carmella were straining and wimpering loudly, wanting to play. Christian soft rock played from a speaker mounted at the top of the counter, and I noticed that they were also selling scented candles as a sideline. I suspected that the economy left them with less regular business, so they were trying to supplement what losses they had taken due to that. Felicia came over and petted Carmella and commented on how good she looked. Then said to me, "You are one of the most determined women I've ever met."

"Yes, but Carmella really is a miracle" I responded.

It wasn't long before Carmella was called back, and Gwen came in and took down the information about what her current situation was. I reminded her about the anticonvulsant and that Carmella needed to be wormed again (I'd seen one crawling right out of her yesterday), and asked if Dr. Norwood had said any more about publishing her case history. She said he hadn't said anything else to her since the day the drug reps had come.

Carmella jumped up on her and darted around the room in excitement. She seemed to be able to feel the love coming from her and from the other staff and she remembered all of them. Gwen took her into the other room where there was a scale and weighed her. She weighed 31 pounds (1 more than last week). Her weight has more than doubled in the time they'd been seeing her!

After awhile Dr. Norwood came in. He had cut his hair and looked refershed from his trip to Aruba. Around his neck hung a large shark's tooth on leather string. He was not wearing his usual glasses. He came in smiling and Carmella went over and jumped up on him right away. He asked how she was doing and I told him she got through the procedure with no problems, that Dr. Muller used saline with the NDV instead of the delutant, and that aside from the usual jerking everything was going well.

Then I asked about his publishing and he said that he would like to do it jointly with Dr. Muller rather than seperately, but that he hadn't gotten in touch with him yet about that, that he was going to soon.

He said as for the anticonvulsant that he could write a prescription and I could get it filled at a regular pharmacy since the same drugs are used in humans.

I asked about a minor thing about Carmella's nose (some intermittant snorting that developed over the past few weeks that sounded related to congestion) and he said that most likely it was allergies but if it got any worse to let him know. He said there was not much they could see up the nose without putting a scope up it anyway.

Then he left the room to look at some books regarding Phenobarbital and Klonapin, saying he'd come back with a prescription.

I waited for some time and he did not return. Then the male vet tech came in and told me that Dr. Norwood had decided not to prescribe an anticonvulsant after all, but would just monitor to see if there were any seizures that came on later. My mouth fell open. I said didn't he know that myoclonis is a form of seizure, and he said that he took it to mean a Grand Mal seizure. I told him that having had this myself in the past and both me and my son seeing neurologists this had been explained to me by doctors as a form of seizure and that they do prescribe anticonvulsants for this too. I asked why Dr. Norwood offered to give Carmella Klonapin before she was treated and now that we don't have to worry about masking it that he does not want to do it when it's appropriate. I told him on no uncertain terms that Dr. Sears, the Distemper expert had recommended it and that he was not going to be happy about her not having it, that the jerking was interrupting her sleep, and I'm sure it's exhausting. He said he was just passing on what Dr. Norwood told him to tell me and kind of shrugged. Then I asked if he remembered about the worming shot and he looked like a deer in the headlights.
He flipped through Carmella's chart absent-mindedly. "Didn't she just have it?"

By that time I was starting to really get annoyed. "Yes, over a month ago. A worm just crawled out of her butt yesterday, so she needs to be treated for it again."

"They get those from fleas. Have you seen any fleas on her?"

"No, not recently, but she did have a few before I got her on flea drops. She's on Vectra 3D. Also she's on heartworm preventative that's supposed to also cover other types of worms. " I described what came out of her yesterday as a white worm with a triangular head.

"That only protects against round, hook, and whipworms, not tapeworms. That sounds like tapeworms."

"Gwen wrote that all down and I told them over the phone that she had worms again and needed it again. Are you not reading the chart? Also, would you please have him come back in here (Dr. Norwood)?"

He said OK and then went to get the worming stuff from the back.

He took a long time. Then Gwen came in and said they were getting ready to close and could I come out to the waitingroom, and I told her I was waiting for Carmella to have her worming shot and to talk to Dr. Norwood about something else.

"She hasn't been given that yet?"

"No, the vet tech didn't seem to know anything about it. I had to remind him. Somehow he's not getting the message of what's been written down here."

She went back and hurried him up and soon he came in with the injection. Gwen held Carmella and he gave her the shot, saying it might sting a little. Carmella wimpered slightly and then it was over.

I went out, settled up my bill with Felicia at the front desk, and then saw the friend I'd come in with standing near the side exit door.

"Aren't you done yet?" That seems to be her mantra. This woman has gotta-go-gotta-go syndrome. It doesn't matter where we go, she's always "gotta-go."

Gwen said, almost; that I just needed to speak with the doctor for a minute.

I went back into the room and Dr. Norwood entered soon after. We had the same conversation I'd had with the vet tech regarding Myoclonis and he claimed it was muscular, not seizure. He said he'd show me the book. In a minute he came back with a medical book to show me the definition of myoclonis. Although it did not list a cause it alluded to it, referring to a "disorder involving motor neurons" and that it "originates in the CNS." I pointed out how all that is true and it is not mutually exclusive of seizure, that upon EEG patients with myoclonis show seizure activity in the brain. He may have meant well but he didn't seem to fully understand what causes myoclonic jerking. Granted he is a GP of veterinary medicine but I think my human GP would know the answer to that question. The issue is really that he has never had a case of myoclonic jerking, only seen Grand Mal seizures.

Then I also told him about Carmella's incessant need to chew on people all the time and how it coincided with the time period in which the jerking began. He responded that we don't have any way of knowing whether it is due to something that resulted in the brain or not. He seemed to feel that if he didn't know then he was going to assume it was behavioral. I said that I'd trained many dogs and that she was very intelligent and I'd successfully trained her to do other things, but this so far I've been unable to break her of. I also said that it did not seem to transfer to long-term memory if she stopped once in awhile. She'd go back to it again as if she'd never learned not to the next time.

Then he brought up the possibility of liver damage. "I don't want to fill her up with drugs", said Dr. Norwood. "I usually give this to dogs that are having convulsive falling down, foaming at the mouth type symptoms. I usually give it for a full year."

"Dr. Sears says it will take 4-6 months..."


"...before we'll see any improvement in the jerking and that she should be given treatment for neuro symptoms in the meantime until the NDV started allowing her stem cells to create new myelin. He says this will help all neuro symptoms. He might not even think a whole year is necessary."

"Let's just see if the treatment works and that's all we can do" Dr. Norwood said edgily. "I can show you the protocol. It says for seizures. Maybe he just meant as a preventative."

"Talk to Dr. Sears and lets get this clarified."

"OK, I'll talk to him on Monday".

If it looks like it will be OK to prescribe it can you call it in? My friend was going to pick up her own medication at the pharmacy today so we thought we'd get Carmella's at the same time, but it's always iffy as to when she can bring me out here."

"Yes, I can do that. I'll call him Monday and let you know."

I thanked him and he asked me to schedule another check-up for Carmella at 6 months. We agreed that she might aught to have antibody tests to confirm a clean bill of health in the body and another spinal tap through Dr. Muller every year for the next 3 to confirm the virus is gone in the CNS.

My friend, V had taken her cat home and then come back and was waiting for me in the parking lot. The door was locked and I had to get Gwen to unlock it for me.

"V left to take her cat home."

"She's very antsy" I said motioning out the exit. She's waiting out in the car."

"She doesn't like to wait around?"


I came home, put Carmella back in the kitchen, and went to Sams Club with the same friend, came back, and let Carmella out in the back yard to run around while I vaccuumed and mopped the kitchen floor. It was kind of hot and stuffy in the house so I opened the front door and turned on the ceiling fan. When the floor was dry I let Carmella back inside. I washed a load of dog towels and her two black cushions. Now everything smells fresh. Carmella's fur is nice and soft, and she's all comfy and cozy.

Be sure to take a look at Carmella-cam and watch her live in the kitchen. You may catch her doing something really cute!

Next order of business is to try to find a vet school that does the test on the strain of Distemper found in Carmella's cerebrospinal fluid. There's a researcher in Italy who told me he'll do the test for free and I'd just pay shipping but it turns out shipping to Italy for something that needs to get there soon is around $111.00. Also, they may consider sending active Distemper virus through the mail a bio-hazard. Their list of prohibited or restricted items to that country is pretty extensive and open to pretty broad interpretation. Uh...I think I'll pass on sending it there, LOL. I'll keep checking with US university vet schools. Maybe Auburn does it (in Alabama).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More Love For Carmella

Jennifer of BrownBag Studio has generously donated for Carmella's vet bill this lovely necklace made with Swarovski crystal set in brass in a hot Vintage Victorian style. Flaming orange Carnelian faceted ovals dangle at the bottom and the necklace is draped with several layers of antiqued chain. This will make an elegant gift for that special someone on your list!

The Coronation Gift - Necklace in Swarovski Crystal, Filigree and Stone
(To purchase click on the link below)

Thanks, Jennifer and I hope this is only the beginning of a great season of sales for you!
Carmella's fur is starting to grow back on her neck and it looks like peach fuzz, a light cream color, and is very soft.
I am keeping her active, as this will help her to create the necessary pathways in the brain for new myelin to form and build her coordination. The brain needs challenges in order to stay nimble just as the body needs regular exercise. Many studies on disorders such as stroke and Alzheimers have shown that keeping the brain stimulated can slow the effects of aging, increase overal function, and create new neurons.

Carmella has fallen a few times in the kitchen today, and there is a possibility that over the next 3 weeks she could have some minor setbacks, but then it should level out.

I will probably contact Dr. Norwood about starting her on an anticonvulsant soon. That should help her jerking until the brain heals and takes care of it on its own, and also calm down the nervous need to chew on people.

Even so she let me hold her several times today without trying to eat my hand, so that may be progress!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Necklace To Benefit Carmella
Art PAINT HoRSE * Western CoWGiRL * Necklace Heart

Tracey of Wildhorsemoon has listed a necklace on Ebay, the proceeds of which will be donated to Carmella's vet bill. Check out the detail in the mane in the close-up above.

Made of polymer clay with painted acccents, this necklace was hand-sculpted and includes Turquoise nuggets.

If there is an animal lover on your holiday shopping list (especially one who loves horses) this will make a great gift and it will go to a great cause at the same time!

This auction runs for just 6 more days, so bid as much as you can and if your finances are such that you can't then be sure to tell all your friends about it and promote wherever you have the opportunity.

Thanks Tracey for your generous contribution, and thanks to all who bid on this necklace!

I would like to pay off Carmella's vet bill as soon as possible and sales have been slow for me lately, so if you haven't done so there are several additional options if you'd like to help with these expenses.

*Click on the donation button at the top of my blog in my sidebar

*Purchase a $5.00 ad here by going to "Are You In My Top Spots" (click on heart)
*Buy handcrafted jewelry from my store

As Carmella recovers you can be a part of that process by reducing the financial burden of these medical expenses. Blessings to you all from Carmella and I!
With Love and Action All Things Are Possible!

Carmella's antibody titre test came back today positive for Distemper in the CNS. Briarcliff Animal Clinic called me around 11:00 am EST this morning to let me know. She was saved just in time! Had she not received the CSF procedure when she did I am quite sure it would be just a matter of time before she'd have died.

What is She...Really?

It's hard to believe it's already Saturday, October, 4, 2008. Carmella has been doing her usual routine; chasing sticks in the back yard and bringing them back, then wanting to chew them up. Her jerking is about the same, definitely no worse, and she barreled over to greet the bulldog next door as it approached the fence, now curious to see Carmella a little closer.

There was a kind of surreal feeling today. I can't really tell if Carmella is gradually calming down or if it's my imagination, but she still seems to want to chew on me most every time I go near her, especially when I come into the kitchen. In the picture below you can see the bruises on my arm from her chewing on it.

I'm still wondering whether that has something to do with the virus's affect on her brain or if it is just her personality. Most puppies can be trained not to do that eventually and I used to train dogs for a dog breeder years ago, some of them pretty stubborn, and I'm not exactly an ameteur, so I wonder what gives.

This brings me back again to the question of what breeds Carmella is mixed with. She is quite unusual-looking and I keep wondering whether she really might have some wild dog-like animal in her because the chewing on people is something characteristic of wolf hybrids and other non-domestic canids. At six months of age she has all her adult teeth, so she is no longer teething. The way she does it is almost absent mindedly or reflexively, not really the type of thing younger puppies do while roughousing. Generally that kind of play is not constant and has a beginning and an end and then they'll lie down next to you and be calm and done with it. For the most part Carmella wants to do it just about anytime an appendage gets in the vicinity of her nose.

I have heard alot about Coyotes going into Cobb County and showing up in people's back yards, and I know for a fact that Coyotes are able to breed with domestic dogs. My cousin, Mike used to work in an animal behavior lab and they bred Beagles with Coyotes as one of their projects and the look was amazingly similar to Carmella with the big ears that had points veering inward and they were shorter and stockier in stature than a purebred Coyote, but leaner than a beagle and more German Shepherd-looking. They displayed the same behavior as she does when someone would go into their pen. They'd jump up with their front paws and sort of cling to the person and gnaw on them.

I also wonder whether Coyotes are more resistant to Distemper? Their DNA would be different, so they very well might be hardier in dealing with certain diseases.

Some friends of the family used to have a dog named Leader when I was a child and went to visit them at their summer house in New Hampshire that was thought to be half wolf and half Alaskan Malamute. He was a huge animal with blue eyes and an icy, vacant stare and he had many of the same behaviors as Carmella, trying to grab your leg and chew on it or jump on your head, clinging with his paws as if to challenge you in a strange type of play (although he was alot bigger than Carmella is now). I remember that training had no affect on that dog. It seemed to be so ingrained in instinct for him to do that that he was oblivious to the word "No!" and pushing him down only worked for about 2 seconds. Back then he was taller than I was when standing on his hind legs, so pushing him down was quite a chore.

Carmella's jaw is quite different. It's hard to tell in most of the pictures, but if you saw her in-person and looked at her proportions you would see what I mean. Her lower-front teeth are razor-sharp but unusually small for the size of the rest of her body, and her mouth is quite short. Also, the amount of force is what you would expect from a dog with a much longer or wider, stockier jaw.

I remember when I saw the Coyotes at the research center and the hybrid puppies the jaw was alot more like a fox than a dog. They had small, very sharp teeth and the bottom jaw was very narrow. I am dying to get Carmella DNA-tested. I wouldn't be surprised if she has some Coyote in her. She looks alot like a Dingo, but the jaw really looks more like a Coyote, and Coyotes have been sighted in Georgia, so it's a very real possibility. Carmella also has a very strange bark. It is somewhat hound-like but also somewhat husky-like but not quite either. She can only bark in a regular way a few times before it breaks up and becomes a type of howl.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Home-Safe and Sound-Distemper Virus Gone!

Carmella is home and bursting with life, thanks to the two vets who had the courage and compassion to think outside the box and to do whatever it took to make her well!

She looks a little funny with her shaved neck, but the hair will grow back.

When I came to pick her up the nurse who'd been assigned to Carmella, Cecelia, came in and said, "I just want to tell you, lady that you should give yourself a pat on the back for what you're doing for this dog. She is a sweety, and I don't think many other owners would have gone as far as you did."

I asked her if Dr. Muller had done the procedure on the other dog with Distemper and she said she didn't know and I told her I hope he did soon because I want others to be saved too. As much as I love Carmella I can imagine how much others in the same situation want their dogs to overcome this disease and they should have the same chance.

Dr. Muller was off today and will be out of the office next week but Cecelia asked me to call on Monday and she would find out about a follow-up appointment for Carmella.

After I had dinner and fed Carmella her kibble I opened up a big Granny Smith apple, as promised, peeled, cut it into sections and gave it to her as a reward for getting through all this. She gobbled it down enthusiastically and I took some very cute pictures of her.

It seems fitting that she should get an apple given the apple's symbolism throughout history of the acquisition of knowledge, and of stepping out on faith, and her eating it was almost a sort of communion which indicates new life, nourishment, (and on an even more global level) opening the door to new frontiers.

Carmella's expenses are adding up, so your donations and/or purchases are still needed to help with her vet bill. Please use the donation button in my sidebar, purchase handcrafted jewelry from my Etsy store, or buy a $5.00 ad on my blog like the banners you see to your right in the area which says "Are you in my top spots?" through Scratchback.

Also, please share the information here with your vets, let them know that this cure is real and that the demand for it is growing. No dog needs to die of Distemper or become irreperably disabled any longer if vets do this early enough in the disease process. If you work for or with a shelter please tell them about this option.