Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spreading The Word To More Vets That Distemper Is Cureable

A series of informational pamphlets are in the works to reach more vets and owners about the hope that exists for dogs with Distemper and how they can be proactive in the diagnosis, treatment, and the aftercare of their pets.

These pamphlets can be printed on just about any computer and/or a xerox machine and the advantage is that any number of people in any country will be able to access them, print them, and distribute them at the touch of a button.

It will be important for informational materials to be as user-friendly as possible so that vets and owners will feel comfortable using Dr. Sears' treatment.

Oftentimes people are overwhelmed by the mass of reading material written in small print with long paragraphs and no pictures, and at a time when their dog is in crisis wading through such long documents might seem insurmountable.

Thanks to everyone who provided pictures of their dogs for the pupose of creating this material, we now have a growing database of pictures of not only those who have died of the disease,

but those who are successfully cured with the use of NDV.

Pictures are worth a thousand words and these dogs speak for themselves!

Concise pamphlets presented in an easy-to-understand format are now being created for distribution and we will need all the volunteers we can get to take these over to vets' offices. Please contact me if you are interested in helping with this task once these are written and laid out.

It will be increasingly important as more dog owners hear about this cure to locate more vets spread out around the country and beyond who will be willing to perform the CSF procedure for dogs with ODE (Old Dog Encephalitis). As this phase can be extremely debilitating, involving the brain and spinal cord and progressive demyelination, this part of the treatment is vitally important to the dog's survival and quality of life.

Tragically, there are still many dogs for whom this half of the treatment is out of reach because they don't live near a vet who is proficient in spinal taps. Not all vets learn this skill in veterinary school as not all achools require it in order to become licensed for general practice. Carmella's regular vet only saw it demonstrated in his curriculum but never had any hands-on experience.

I cannot stress enough how important it is once the disease is diagnosed to move ahead expeditiously. Distemper, especially after it shifts to the central nervous system can be brutal and unforgiving and its damage can be irreversible even after the virus has been killed if not treated before significant neurological impairment sets in.

A good rule of thumb once you confirm your dog has the disease is to treat it as though you're best friend, wife, husband or child were bleeding to death. Yes, it is really that urgent.

Don't be lulled into a false sense of security if one day your dog seems to be slightly more playful, or appears to be in a holding pattern. He or she might not be showing any neuro symptoms today, but tonight at 9:00 pm when no vet is available, at 2 in the morning, or 12 noon, things could suddenly change for the worse and then it becomes not merely a day-by-day thing but minute-to-minute.

This is the message that we need to convey. Dogs can be saved and miraculous recoveries can happen, but this is not a disease in which to wait and see the symptoms is appropriate.

Earlier I looked on Google to see what other sources were writing about Distemper testing and was disappointed to see that the Brush Border Smear was conspicuously absent from the mainstream literature readily available online other than the two groups currently supporting Dr. Sears' methods.

Much time is wasted, as many are tested with one antibody test or other types of smears after another, taking too long before receiving the results and too often render false-negatives. Many vets hold off on treatment until they see a smoking gun (which with most of the other tests may or may not ever happen, and by the time the diagnosis is confirmed that way tissue, organ, or brain damage may already have occurred).

One of my goals is to have the process for this test widely and readily available to all vets. I recently heard a dog owner say that their vet had never even heard of the test. That has to change if we are to get an effective program put in place promoting early detection and treatment.

The most reliable test to confirm distemper is a Brush Border Smear.

It’s very fast, very cheap, and very accurate for DX of Distemper.This test can all be done inside the VET Clinic with no problems and also poses no danger to anyone in the clinic or out. It is a very safe technique. Call your VET to see if they can do this procedure, and if not, ask the VET if they know of anyone in the medical field who can do it, hit the web or phone books and locate someone who can do this for you.

1) Use a urinary catheter, empty the bladder, flush with saline, and collect some of the last saline.

2) Spin down the saline and remove the cells.

3) Prepare a slide with the bladder transitional epithelium of the inside lining from the bladder and dry stain with diff-quick. This is a very common stain used by most medics or lab people who use medical microscopy.

4) These cells ALWAYS have inclusions. So easy to collect, easy to stain (quick dip), and instantly diagnoses, showing inclusions in these cells which will stain a beautiful carmine red color in the cytoplasm of infected cells and para nuclear.

5) About 90% of the bladder cells will be positive for inclusions in the early stages of Distemper.
These inclusions will NOT be present in long-term distemper cases.

6) If negative, then your dog either has Kennel Cough, Respiratory Herpes, or Toxoplasmosis.

***Note that once dogs develop neuro symptoms inclusions may not always be found in the Brush Border Smear, so in that instance one cannot rule out Distemper.***

In some cases not even a spinal tap analysis may detect the virus and can only be confirmed by brain biopsy (which is not very feasible in a live dog).

When tests are inconclusive and clinical symptoms warrant, it is safer to assume the dog has it and treat, than to be sorry by waiting too late.

Other Tests:

Rarely, inclusions can be seen in the red cells.

I have never seen inclusions in the conjunctiva.

An IFA test of the conjunctiva to test for inclusions is available. I have no experience with this test.


It is best to initiate all the tests and then give SERUM or NDV immediately.

Don’t wait for test results to come back. Time is of the essence. Wait for the test results AFTER treating.

If wrong, your dog will suffer no adverse reactions.

If right, you are ahead of the game; stopping the Distemper virus before it does significant and possibly irreversible damage.

(A.W. Sears DVM)
For further clarification please contact

People need to be as urgent and insistant about this as they are for the cure for Breast Cancer. If you think this is only important and relevant for dog owners think again! Dr. Sears has said, and many other researchers throughout the world agree, that much of the same biochemistry inherent in canine distemper and in its treatment provides the building blocks for MS in humans.

If saving dogs doesn't particulary linterest you get involved for the benefit of people you love who have or might develop MS disease in the future!

The veterinary profession and the human health profession run paralell and so the key to your dog's health may someday be instrumental to your own.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On To New Frontiers! More Donor Dogs Needed

The Facebook Group (and the entire Distemper Cure community) continues to grow. New vets are beginning to take interest, we have a good bit of data now, and it seems that the need for serum is becoming ever more apparent after the loss of two puppies under 12 weeks of age.

Unable to obtain the life-saving serum which was the first-line substance for treating puppies in the body this young, the owner, with the proper veterinary approval, had to go to plan B and give them NDV in an effort to save them because time was running out. All this was done strictly by the book.

Although the serum might have bought the two pups the time it would take to travel to Atlanta for the CSF procedure, and the owner was willing to pay for it, it did not arrive, one died, and then the other; another example of just how quickly Distemper can strike a dog down and how little time there is to waste.

In times such as these even one day's delay can mean death. The owner did the best she could, and followed all of Dr. Sears' instructions, but this was out of her, (even out of his) control.

Now we are mobilizing our forces to solve this problem of access as quickly as possible. Although we are not likely to have more than a few dogs now and then in special circumstances who cannot be saved by the bird-based NDV thus it is highly unlikely that the demand will ever exceed supply, however, it is the season when the number of Distemper cases increases significantly and we need to be ready to meet the need when and if another similar case presents itself.

When that time comes these especially vulnerable young ones' owners will need to know exactly who to obtain the serum from, and those offering it will need to be prepared to get it to them right away.

We are working on developing serum banks and will begin raising money toward that end at some point so that even those for whom money would be a barrier to treatment will not be out of luck. I know that both Dr. Sears and Dr. Adams would want it that way, as the owner will already have expenses piling up most likely for his or her vet's services.

The founders of this treatment meant for it to be widely available and during the years he practiced, treating dogs in the body, Dr. Sears did not always charge for every single service, as he was doing this because he believed in it, and the good deed spoke for itself in the eyes of the owner, and their beloved pet relieved of suffering, once again restored to health, happy, and enjoying life. The results are their own reward. Besides, a dog is a dog whether it belongs to a rich family or poor one, and they are all just as worthy of our help.

That is what Dr. Sears' life's work is all about, and you can't really put a pricetag on that even though for logistical reasons we are tackling the task of putting a fair price on it for the purposes of the Foundation's future dispersal of funds.

Applicants who want to ask that their expenses be paid to create serum as an "approved serum bank" will be required to comply with certain requirements set forth by the organization, and will be bound by signed contract to follow those requirements as a condition of their arrangement with us.

We are looking for people (owners and their vets) who exemplify the spirit of Dr. Sears' and the late Dr. Adams' work, people who although they might be reimbursed have it in their heart to do this for other dogs and would do it even without pay because it's the right thing to do. These are the kinds of people who would give bone marrow to someone they don't even know when a drive was organized, or who would pull together an effort to raise money for a boy with a deadly form of cancer just because they care.

The actual cost of serum production is not as steep as you might have thought. Below is a quote from Dr. Sears, and he would know since he developed the technique.

"If you provide the donor dog then you are looking at an office call and the price of the assistants time, and the glass bottles (usually free). Need a jugular catheter also. Total cost if you provide the dog is about $100-$150. 00."

If you think you may be interested, let me know, read more about the process and criteria for the dog below, print out, and run this by your vet:


1. Dog- use a 10-12 month old mixed breed dog, 60-90 lbs, 27.27kg to 40.91kg, young and healthy.

2. Do full lab work-up to eliminate all possible health problems; specially- blood born diseases.

3. Must be previously vaccinated against all local diseases.

4. Do not use breeds or individuals known to have immune deficiency problems.

5. Make up Newcastle virus vaccine 1000 dose vial. (Use only the 6 cc of diluent vial that comes with the NDV or Saline if Diluent is not available). Inject 3.0cc of Diluent or Saline to the NDV vial. Discard the balance remaining from the Diluent vial. The La Sota strain or B-1 are most common. Other strains of this virus should work as well but do not use Killed Virus NDV Vaccine. Use Modified Live NDV. This virus is your cell immunity inducer.

6. Place IV Catheter in dog.

7. Inject 2.0 or 3.0cc of Newcastle virus into the I.V. from your vaccine bottle depending on the official weight of the dog. (Treat dog with I.V fluids accordingly) (Do Not use Corticosteroids)

8. Induction of Newcastle’s disease virus for cellular immune serum (cytokines) may only be done once on any dog. The second time around, only antibodies to Newcastle’s disease are produced. These are of no use and can cause an adverse reaction.

9. Timing is absolutely essential for taking serum against distemper. Take blood 11-12 hours post injection (11-12 hrs post injection= Anti-viral factors=Very effective against Distemper Virus in VIVO.) Timing is important. (Interferon, antiviral, regulatory, anti-inflammatory cytokines all have different times of production).

10. All procedures must be sterile. Just prior to the 11-12 hours post- injection, anesthetize donor dog (approx. 5-10 minutes before).

11. Place Jugular catheter.

12. Start I.V fluids.

13. Withdraw blood between the 11th and 12th hour and inject into 10cc blood vials [sterile no additive vials] and allow the blood to clot. All VETS please take out only up to maximum amount from donor dog. Remove blood just short of putting the dog into shock. That can be determined by the color of the gums and respiratory rate. What is amazing is the speed with which a healthy dog recovers. Fluids of course help recovery. We could take about 250 cc whole blood from a 90 lb dog and get about 100 cc of usable serum.
(A.W. Sears DVM 6/8/09)

14. Centrifuge immediately after clotting for clear serum. Do not allow RBC’s to lyse.

15. Remove serum and place into sterile bottles.

16. Place serum bottles in baggies and store in refrigerator. Bottles of serum can be stored for up to five years in a refrigerator; longer if frozen.

17. Cryo-precipitates may form after refrigeration. Mixing causes clouding. This is not harmful.

18. May be filtered out with a .02micron filter. Keep sterile.

19. All my donor dogs have survived. I have not lost any. (A.W. Sears)

Note: Revisions may be made as new data becomes available.If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Alson W. Sears DVM for further clarification at

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Secret Life of Trees

The other day I was reading through some of the various online groups' e-mails I belong to and saw a call for entries into an online exhibition called "The Secret Life of Trees". This intrigued me because I have always felt a special kinship with trees, so I read further.

Amanda Makepeace with Worldwide Woman Artists (also on Etsy), has put together a very lovely variety of art in several mediums, among them, drawings, paintings, fiber, and jewelry. (My piece is Hemlock Wreath Reflecting Mountain Stream), the heavily fringed bracelet with quartz crystal briolettes.

You are sure to uncover some buried treasure you haven't seen before!

I'm getting ready to enter a few more soon through Cafe;

if I can find out how to submit jewelry dimensions in their image upload and item description form. The way it's worded is definitely geared more toward larger-scale artwork rather than jewelry. It literally won't let you save unless you enter in whole numbers; exact inches, centemeters, etc; no fractions (even if that is the true size of the piece). I'm not one to lie or misrepresent my work, so I hope there is a cohesive way of conveying the true measurements in "jewelry terms" that will be comprehensible to those looking to buy.

As part of my current marketing plan, this is my year to enter as many exhibitions and competitions as I can that I feel my jewelry might fit. With the economy as it is a career artist has to think outside the box.

My goal this year is also to get at least one piece of my jewelry published in a trade magazine. That is one experience I have not yet had and I hear from others that it's a great way to bring in interested buyers.

This blog article would not be complete without some adorable pictures of Carmella.

She is almost over her mange completely and her coat is growing back in nicely, even on her flanks where it was the worst. Only a little area near her tail is still red. She feels nice and soft now and has more pep in her step. I have the impression that her immune system is finally normalizing (Thank God!). I was really beginning to wonder if these residual immune issues would ever resolve.

More is happening in the fight to save dogs from Distemper; some hopeful, and some not-so-hopeful. As in any war we lose a few along the way. The ones in underdeveloped countries have the most difficult time obtaining NDV because facilities tend to be much more primitive and the regulation of drugs and vaccines varies from country to country.

Next hardest are the situations in which the owner doesn't have the money or credit to travel to one of the main vets doing this treatment, and doesn't have the staying power to convince any of their local vets to use it there. Unfortunately also family can influence the main caregiver into ending the dog's life before he/she has a chance to try the treatment. This is particularly sad because in some cases the logistics can be worked out but there are the ties that bind in that caregiver's closest relationships that ultimately result in the sacrifice of their beloved pet.

On a positive note, there is one more case in California right now with two puppies under 12 weeks old now trying to arrange obtaining the serum from people in Texas. That sounds like it will have a successful outcome as long as arrangements are made without much delay. These puppies must have the dog-based serum (not the bird-based commercially manufactured NDV) because they would not be able to tolerate the bird-based substance. I suspect it's because it is too foreign for their as of yet not-fully-developed immune systems to assimilate and adapt to.

Suzanna Urzuly (also from California), the one I wrote about earlier who drove all the way to Texas to have her dog treated, is very happy to report that her dog, Hunter, once 80-90% blind now has 100% normal vision just a few weeks after the CSF procedure! Here is Hunter before treatment.

5/7/09 Squinty, unfocused eyes

5/7/09 Discharge from eyes and nose

5/7/09 Cracked and crusty nose

And here she is afterwards! Look at the difference in her eyes.
5/20/09 eyes brighter and clearer-getting better; a new lease on life!

5/26/09 even healthier; eyes bright and wide, more playful, coat shinier, more muscle-tone
If all goes on schedule we should hear of another success soon with the two young puppies! Carmella continues to be a shining example that lives can be saved, that a dog's quality of life can be beautiful, and that such lives are worth saving! Her face absolutely glows in this picture!