So yesterday my update was really not an update, so let me give a true update on our health status.  Everything seems to be holding the same.  We still have not had more vaccinations.  We will wait until our next PCR test and decide then.  Cooper's behavior still sucks.  No other way to say it.  I know, I know... he's a puppy.  I forgot how it is.... but man is he cute & sweet!

For those of you in Houston, we all know yesterday was the election for city mayor.  No doubt the next mayor will have unbelievable big shoes to fill.  Bill White was on most counts an excellent mayor and I wish him well (and my support) in his bid for governor.  However, I do think that Anise Parker (the winner) is not the best choice for issues concerning BARC.  I know she has at least a dog, but owning a full breed is not the same thing as being involved with the rescue community.  Gene Locke definitely was the better choice for BARC.  He had at least a plan.  That being said, without the BARC issue, I probably would have voted for Annise.  I guess I've turned into a "litmus test" voter.  : )

And on the subject of BARC, there is a new director.  Read the article at the Houston Press.  I will spoil one aspect for you though.  The guy's experience is from being a regional SALES manager for who? who? 24 Hour Fitness.  REALLY?  No offense to the new guy (maybe he's a genius) but COME ON.  I have a membership to 24 Hour, and other than the personal trainers, the people that work there are not that trustworthy or particularly compassionate.  Especially sales.  I mean these are the King Douche-bags of the world in my opinion.

Oh, for those that don't about the Lyla blog (another dog with distemper), there was a very sad update yesterday.  Check it out. Lyla, CDV, and me.

What We've Done

Have you voted?  Remember today is runoff day in Houston.  Anyways, I've been lazy with the blog writing since it became the holidays.  I did get an email regarding various requests on what I did and didn't do for Cooper.  I'm taking the lazy route out and just posting it down here.  It was written on Novemeber 17th.

Cooper seems to be recovered.  I say seems to be because although he has had no outward signs of the virus since early October, his last PCR test for the virus was still positive.  The vet says that it can take months for it to clear out.  He is of course still in the time frame for the neurological hitting, but that is getting less likely.  Christmas is kind of my target date for breathing a sigh of relief.

As to treatment... like most people it was mostly palliative.  He got lots of IV fluids and antibiotics for secondary bacterial infections, including pretty bad pneumonia.  However, my vet and I did do 2 alternative courses of treatment.  First of all, within the 2nd day of the pneumonia, I started him on a supplement called TranferFactor Plus.  It was recommended to me by someone online, and I figured why not.  It sounded like it would likely be an empty bottle of hope, but I now believe it helped.  My vet also did his own research and I think he talked to or communicated with a vet in Austin who had successful experience with the human grade of the supplement and distemper.  Cooper is still taking it, but only one capsule a day.  The second treatment we did started after the pneumonia cleared.  It is an iv injection called immunoregulin.  I have no idea whether it helped or not, but we did it anyways.  

Some other things... for most of the worse part of his illness I was staying at my parents house.  My mom being who she is kept his room clean to the point of craziness.  She covered the floor with sheets because the room was carpeted and changed them daily.  Also I do believe in high quality dog food.  He has been on Wellness Puppy since I got him.

I should add that there are several things we did NOT do.  We did not (and still have not) boostered him with the vaccine combo that includes distemper.  It is a partially live vaccine and we are being overly cautious.  He also was not fixed until a few days ago.

Moo Cow Lotion

Cooper and I are back home now. We spent the last few days at my parent's house so that Cooper and Sherlock could meet.  I was pretty worried about them getting along, but no worries.  They are best of friends.  In fact, its pretty shocking to see them play.  They take rough-housing to the next level!  Where do they get the energy?  For hours they wrestle and chase each other.   An unfortunate result of the rough play though is Cooper has totally shredded his paw pads.  I assume the hyperkeratosis from the distemper is partly to blame, even though he didn't have that condition too severe.  Some paws are worse than others of course, but the poor guy seems to be sticking to the couch today.  I went and found some stuff called "Bag Balm" and have been putting that on the pads.  I will update how it works.

PS: Thanks Steve for humoring me and driving me around looking for what amounts to cow udder cream... : )

Calmer Now

So we have turned a corner in awful behavior land.  He is doing much better.  Granted, when I am home he is permenently wearing a lead so that he can be corrected, but that's how it is.  He's getting the idea.  I did have to tie him down to a piece of furniture yesterday... and boy did he fuss.... but eventually he was calm and normal.

Maybe he's just not been feeling good post surgery?  I guess most guys would.

I Think He Wants 'em Back

So, a post-surgery update.  Cooper is really awful.  His behavior sucks big time since the surgery.  My biggest beef is with the nipping, especially when he is hyper.  I've mentioned some of the things I've tried, like a can full of coins, spray bottle of various noxious liquids, and even a dog whistle.  All of these things except the whistle make him MORE hyper.  The whistle stops him, for moment.  He's usually not calm enough still to command to sit.

Ugh. I'm very discouraged.  I'm not a quitter, and its not like that's an option, but I want this "phase" to be over with.  I wonder if this is a male dog thing?  Individual personality? None of our females were like this. 

He Was Broken?

Its been a while, so the short of it is that Cooper is now 'fixed'.  The vet and I decided he was healthy enough.  He is now home, and seems to be totally fine.

As to the vaccinations.... we have still only had the rabies booster.  I am too nervous about giving him the distemper vaccine until maybe January.  Ideally I'd like him to be clear of the distemper on his next PCR test, which we'll do in December I guess.  In the meantime, Dr. Shows is trying to locate a solitary Parvo vaccine.  The issue is that in modern times, most of the vaccines are combined into one serum, and my vet doesn't carry the vaccines separated.  Oh, he's also grown a ton. Well, it feels like a ton. He is at 39 pounds now! How that happened, I don't know, but it seemed like it was overnight!

Behavior. Oh the behavior!  In general he is quite well behaved.  Unfortunately he has shown some signs of either aggressiveness or eagerness on the leash when other dogs are around.  I could really use some advise on this.  My vet thinks it might just be me... as in he's feeling protective.  Well, its something we are working on.  The rest of his training is going well.  He is great when we do beginning commands like sit, stay, and come.  I'm hoping the leash barking will get better as the training continues.  Out of necessity because of the virus, he's also led a pretty sheltered life since I got him too.  That can't help.  He did meet and play with my dad's dog Sherlock last week.  That went well.

An Open Letter

Dear Mr. Cooper,
I'd like to inquire why you find the need to eat my carpet and shoes. Maybe you like bitter apple spray? I'm not even sure how you even reach my bras. They are left to dry pretty high up, but in order for them to work, the straps are needed. I would also like you to cease and desist pillaging my dirty clothes. I typically like my panties to have the crotch in tact, as well as my jeans and pajama bottoms. Really? Is this how you want me representing myself to the world? Crotchless?

I also need your cooperation when we go walking. As I'm sure you would agree, you would not like to be barked at when you are trying to take care of your business, so I ask you to please consider following the golden rule and do unto others.....

Finally, I enjoy your company tremendously, but prefer that when we play you pay closer attention to where your toy ends and my skin begins. It hurts.

Your cooperation in these matters is much appreciated.

Love, the mommy

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

I'm Tired

I'm soooo tired the past few days.  I hope I'm not getting sick.  Cooper had another Immunoregulin.  He is still improving and growing.  His "true" personality is showing it seems.  He is quite the demanding fellow... and isn't afraid to bark to get what he wants.  He has dug up the carpet in two places now.  He also tore up a good part of his bedding.  Ever since he became Mr. Destruction, I've been keeping him in the bathroom with his crate pushed up to the entrance.  I have to also then put a baby gate on top of the crate because he jumps like a grasshopper.  I'm guessing he has some sort of separation anxiety.  LOVELY.  Based on my experience with Onyx, he is not going to outgrow it.  I'll need to work with him on not getting anxious when I leave.  Those that knew Onyx know I'm well experienced with the separation anxiety problem.  It took years, but Onyx got over it.

Still Improving

Cooper is still doing well and there are still no signs of any neurological problems.  We have for sure 2 more Immunoregulin treatments scheduled, and then we'll see.  I'm nervouse about the vet giving him the Parvo/Distemper vaccine.  I'm afraid of the distemper vaccine kicking something on in his immune system. The vet says its fine, but it makes me nervous.

I saw this morning on the news an organization called Pup Squad.  They are having an event today downtown called "Barkitecture".  I'll probably go check it out, although I'm feeling quite lazy.  Anyway the organization sounds fabulous.  It is made of former BARC volunteers who wanted to help the puppies in particular.  Fabulous!


So we are well enough to have our rabies shot.  He supposedly had it at BARC, but you know how I feel about the odds of that!  We also had our immunoregulin treatment.  All in all we are trucking along.  Oh, I did pull a live worm out of his butt.  That was "cool".  He's been dewormed again for like the 3rd time.

I came home today to find a surprise at the top of the stairs..... for some curious reason Cooper decided the carpet was not up to his standards so he dug it up.  Literally its in shreds.  Now, the carpet is old and needs replacing, so I'm not as mad as I could be, but it was shocking to see none the less.  Yikes!

Ghost Dog

Not much to add about Cooper lately. We are trucking along, no problem.

My posting today is a long overdue one about my dad's dog Sherlock. He is probably one of the most beautiful dogs you will ever see. We guess he's some sort of la
b/weimeraner/dane mix maybe. Anyway, he is a rescue from Louisiana. He is only a year and a half and spent the first bit of his life tied to a tree. Anyway, my story is from last Monday. Cooper was just finishing at the vet. My mom and I were both there, so she took Cooper home and I went to Taco Cabana to get fajitas. Once I turned on my parent's street, what do I see? My parents' neighbor tackling a collarless Sherlock to the ground.

So the great chase begins. I pulled over and thought (ha) that Sherlock would be excited to see me. NOPE. He took off running. I followed in the car (I have a white MINI Cooper that he barely fits in). Man, can he run. 35 mph maybe? It was annoying. Every now and then he'd stop, but then take off. Now, this isn't my first time to deal with a running dog, so I went for my tried and true strategy of running the other way, NOPE. So we continued. I thought to myself, "I have food... surely he'll come for food." Well let me just say the chase escalated to my throwing tortilla chips and even taco meat out the window to no avail, all the time dropping some unladylike words out the window. I even tried playing dead in the street (with a taco of course) but he didn't care. I did eventually catch the s.o.b. All that running meant he needed to relieve himself.... so I slammed on the brakes and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. I wish I had taken a picture of his face at that moment. It was a classic "oh crap" expression.

As it turns out he had slipped his collar while on leash with my dad. Technically he shouldn't be on his regular leather collar but his Easy Leader or choker, but that's how it goes. He is now micro-chipped of course, and if we could GPS chip him, I think we would. Jerk. : )

Not A Fun Weekend

So. I've been pretty bummed about the still positive PCR test from Cooper's urine.  I did talk to the vet and he said it is possible that the urine will come back positive for quite a while.  Ugh.  So why was the weekend not fun, you ask?  Could it be the weather?  No, that was quite awesome.  Lack of sleep?  No, I slept like 20 hours so far.  Maybe its all the diarrhea I've cleaned up? DING DING DING!

It started yesterday.  Let me say that throughout the distemper he has only had minor tummy issues.  I don't know whether this is distemper connected or if its some other bug, but he was going every 30 min to an hour..... literally wherever he was standing.  Now the good news is that it wasn't much each time, but it did become bloody, probably from inflammation.  I had to go to Petco and buy more of that stain remover.... Nature's Miracle.  Anyways, the diarrhea seems to have stopped for now.  Needless to say, off to the vet tomorrow.  I hope its not giardia.  That is apparently really hard to get rid of, but fits his being a stray.

I came across another blog of a woman going through the distemper curse with her rescue.  Check it out. http://lyla-cdv.blogspot.com/.

Bad News

Okay, its not that bad, so calm down.  He is still with us.  However, his PCR test results are in, and distemper is still showing up in the urine. BUMMER.  So we keep on doing what we've been doing I guess.  He'll still do Immunoregulin on Monday.  Look, I logically knew he likely would still have a positive result, but I was really hoping.  I'm not sure what this means for him being contagious either.  We don't go walking because of this (and if its in his urine I guess that's the right call).  I just don't know.  He needs the rest of his vaccinations as well, but I don't want to do anything to his immune system while its still fighting the distemper.  Ugh.  Stupid virus.


As I've mentioned, I've tried to repeatedly contact BARC about Cooper's distemper.  The furthest I've got is leaving a message on some unnamed person's voicemail.  A few days after leaving that message, someone from BARC called me and left a message, but it was a "you didn't show up for your neutering.... we want to see how you are adjusting" type deal.  Gheez!  Talk about disorganized.

Waiting For Results

Cooper had another PCR test on Monday.  We are waiting for the results.  Last time it took 3 days, so hopefully by Friday we'll get the results.  Here's hoping to negative!

Learning Stuff

Cooper is still hanging in.  We go to the vet tomorrow for more Immunoregulin.  It will be the last twice a week treatment.  We will go once a week after Monday, which is good, because I feel like it makes him breathe hard for about 2 to 3 hours after treatment.  I ordered the second bottle of the 4life Transfor Factor Plus.  I think I need to retract my previous doubt about the product.  My vet did find some data that shows it is at least coincidentally beneficial for distemper.  There is no way of knowing of course, but we are still neurological problem free.  I ordered the product from Judy's Health Cafe.  Please visit them if you are interested.

Our vet had an open house this weekend.  It was great!  Lots of vendors and I got to see the pretty spiffy isolation ICU area that Cooper was in.  Pretty nice.  The vet is feeling "cautiously optimistic" now.  I have to admit, I am too.  Of course, any sudden movements make me nervous!  I am almost constantly thinking to myself, "did his paw moving indicate a tick?".  I guess it doesn't help that I have MS myself.  Maybe it does.  I don't know, but since I have weird little ticks and shaking, I guess I look for them in Coop.  Anyway, we are doing another PCR test this week too.  Using urine and/or blood this time.  A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that looks for viral DNA. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how that works, but I know it involves heat/cooling a sample.  It sounds pretty cool.

Yesterday was a political deal at BARC.  I really wanted to go, but got a very late start.  I think I slept 11 hours!  I'm interested to hear how it went.

We spent today at my townhouse in the Montrose.  It is nice to be home.  We practiced the sit command, and I think he's got it.  I guess stay and come will be next.  I need to go get an Easy Leader.  Oh... Cooper is a BARKER.  Ugh.  I can't stand that.  I hope my neighbors don't want to kill me.  I guess we'll need to work on "quiet" or "enough" as well.  Maybe he'll grow out of it or neutering will help.  We don't walk outside of my patio because I'm afraid of him being contagious.  I think the risk is minimal at this stage, but just in case.  So, maybe once we can exercise fully, it will help the barking too.

Big Thanks To All

I am very touched by the supportive emails I am getting.  One of those was from a local (Houston) rescue group.  She shared with me that her group has also dealt with the distemper issue.  I applaud and admire her for the commitment to taking care of these souls.  Good grief!  I would be a mess!  Anyways, please consider adopting a dog from Red Collar Rescue, if you are thinking about adding to your family now, or in the future.  At the very least, please consider donating to this group.  It is the real deal.

On a lighter note, Sherlock and Cooper met finally.  It was unplanned of course!  For those that don't know Sherlock is my dad's dog.  He's a rescue too (and what a story THAT is).  My parents have been helping me out during all the trials and tribulations of Mr. Cooper.  My dad is retired, so he watches him during the day.  It has been a full time job I believe keeping Sherlock (aka Shirly the horse) and Cooper separated.  Why you ask?  Well, Sherlock has been vaccinated of course for distemper, but like any virus there are different strains.  Sherlock cannot wait to play with Cooper! 

Hanging In There

We are still doing ok. No real significant change. I am back at my parents' house, but didn't bring my laptop, so I haven't been online too much. Monday we had our second immunoregulin treatment and go for the third tomorrow.

Some sad news: the other puppy that was adopted out from BARC the same weekend as Cooper passed the other night. Seizures. An employee at my vet had adopted/fostered him. Keep the poor guy in your hearts. The owner is heartbroken as you can imagine. So. I am now significantly freaked. I bet they have the same strain since they are from the same place. Great.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

One Eye Open

Well, we had a worrisome moment. He was breathing really hard. He was panting while sleeping and his heart was racing. I was wondering if maybe we should go to the emergency vet. But then.... The gas started. I mean awful, stinky gas. So we went outside for a potty break. Diarrhea is making a come back it seems. Hopefully that was the cause of the panting.

I've also seen an increase in him doing this weird gasping. Its like he's got something in his airway and can only breathe through his nose. It reminds me of sleep apnea or something. It scares the crap out of me. I doubt I'll be able to sleep well now. At least tomorrow is a vet day.

In Town For the Weekend

So, we came home to my house for the weekend.  He seems sufficiently okay for me to start having some life again.  Although, I am worried that the hyperkeratosis on his paws is still active.  They aren't getting worse per say, but places get better, while new places have thick spots.  So now that I'm here I need to Lysol bomb the place and wash everything I can.  I've read the distemper virus doesn't live long, especially in sunlight and heat, but just in case.

We go back to the vet on Monday for our next Immunoregulin treatment, so I'll go back to Katy probably Sunday night to stay at the folks.  I'm pretty lucky to have them close by.  My dad has been helping by watching him during the day when I'm at work.  He's run him to the vet a few times too, so he's certainly being cared for!

Shower Curtains

Today he went to the vet.  There was some confusion on my part about how long it would take, but he made it there.  He had his first Immunoregulin treatment.  The vet also sent home probiotics for Cooper's tummy and anti diarrhea medication.  He hasn't been bad with the tummy really, but something is definitely "off".   He has now been on antibiotics for a lengthy time, so maybe that is why.  The Immunoregulin is supposed to be some sort of immune system booster.  It is give as an IV shot.

We are trucking along!  Keep those fingers crossed.....

Oh, he pulled the shower curtain and rod down.  


No change really. He is very playful! I'm starting to feel more positive.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


I've kind of run out of steam. I am so depressed about the whole prospect of Cooper having a seizure at any moment. Its like an invisible knife is swinging over his head. Last night he was having trouble breathing and I wasn't sure whether it was tremors. So, sleeping has been difficult for me. Today he seems fine for the most part... his rash is back though and he's itchy.

I'm also torn between what to believe about how bad the strain is he has.... I mentioned previously that in my research, the hard pad stuff is a bad sign. Dr. Shows says not neccessarily. I believe the rash he has had is also part of the virus (again based on my research), but this supposedly means a favorable prognosis.

I am still pretty ticked off at the whole BARC thing. I haven't mentioned yet, but I was pretty disgusted with the vet that I saw when I was checked out of BARC. I now fully believe she had to know he was a suspicious distemper case because his kennel card had mentioned fever or something of the sort a few days earlier. He also had a skin rash, with psoriasis type crusts in places. I also pointed out to her his goopy eyes. She said it was "allergies" and gave me an antibiotic. (yes, antibiotics for an allergy). I know now these were all early warning signs of the distemper. That being said... I'd probably have adopted him anyways. So no regrets, just complete sadness that this is happening. Human beings are pretty questionable stewards of this planet, in my opinion.

I've attached a link to his kennel card. I'm too lazy to figure out how to put it properly, so you may not see it directly.

Our Vets

I've mentioned a few times now my vet. The clinic we go to is Kingsland Boulevard Animal Clinic. They are quite awesome. They have been our family vet since 1983 or so. I personally love Dr. Shows. He listens, is compassionate, knows his stuff, and is open minded to new treatments. I also believe that they have "picked-up" part of the bills here and there for Cooper.... or they are cheaper than I thought. Little things, which makes me eternally grateful!

I also think I misspoke earlier in the blog. I think Cooper had a "PCR" test as well or instead of the titer test. I don't know. All of this gets kind of on the fringe of my understanding, but from what I interpret, the PCR test test for the presence of the RNA of the distemper in the specimen (ie, Cooper). This test came back positive.

Vet Check-Up

Yesterday we went to the vet for a check-up. Everything seems to be stable. I am starting him on Hearguard, since he is healthy enough now. Dr. Shows and I have been in discussion about some alternate treatmeants, including Interferons, supplements, and even my MS medications. Next week we are going to probably start something called "Immunoregulin". It sounds similar to the interferons. My viewpoint is to do anything that might make his immune system stronger, since that is the only chance of beating the distemper. Right now we are in the lull between recovery and possible neurological signs.

Yesterday was a radio interview about BARC. I missed it, but will try and find it online. I've exchanged an email or two with the president of the No Kill Houston group. Check them out, especially the report on BARC.

More to say, but it will have to be later.

Good Times

Well, no updates in a while because things have been going well. Cooper has one more day of being wormed. I don't think his paw pads are getting worse, and everyday his cough is getting less and less.

Since he was sick most of the time I had him, I'm seeing his true personality. I've discovered some things about Cooper:
1) He is related to plastic man. It doesn't matter how high or far an item is on the cabinets, he can reach it. Well, I assume its him.... maybe he has an invisible helper.
2) Tissues are yummy.
3) All pillows, stuffed toys, and clothes are very sexy. I'm not going to say it... if you have ever owned a male dog, then you know.
4) He defies the Law of Conservation of Matter. More "matter" comes out of him, than goes in.

I am still trying to reach BARC. Yesterday I was on hold for 40 minutes. I gave up. Part of adopting from BARC is agreeing to return to have them neutered. Well, my deadline was yesterday. Ummm, news to BARC: my dog will never set a paw pad on your premises again!

Ewe.... Gross!

Well, we have a new symptom! Cooper also has worms. Hopefully he is healthy enough to be dewormed. We will go to the vet on Monday. I think this is the first day he has not run a temperature either, so things are stable.

On the down side, I think his paws are starting to thicken. This is called "hyperkeratosis". This is further indication of the distemper, and that the virus is maybe getting a good hold on my puppy.

For those that don't know, distemper is an awful virus. Survival rate is 20% to 50%, at best. The virus works in phases. It first usually goes for the lining of the lungs, creating bad pneumonia. Also, the nose and eyes run and drip like crazy. Case in point, all last week Cooper constantly had snot stuck to the sides of his face. It was gross. Anyway, after the lung attack, if the animal survives, then stomach and/or skin issues come into play. Finally, the neurological systems are attacked, which usually is just about as bad as it sounds. I just hope that Cooper does not reach that phase. I hope beyond all hope that his little white blood cells and killer cells kick the distemper's ass to the curb. For more on distemper, read here.


Cooper was nebulized today. He is doing much better, but I know that this virus likes to hit in cycles. This sucks.

Oh, tried calling BARC. Was on hold 15 minutes, then gave up.

Bad News

I am so ticked! The vets did some sort of epitheleal test on Cooper, and the results came back that distemper is confirmed..... : ( I am very bummed. It was one of those things that I knew was the case, but HOPED I was wrong. The virus is TOTALLY avoidable. Cooper was picked up by BARC on August 20th, and was "supposedly" vaccinated that day. There is no doubt that he got the distemper at BARC. Also the titer test showed he was not exposed to any other virus. I believe if he truly was vaccinated by BARC, then those would have turned positive. Grrrrrrr.

Good news is his pneumonia seems to be clearing. He is being taken off of the IV antibiotics, and switched to pills. Tomorrow he will only need to go to the vet for nebulization.


Today I received an order of supplements that were FedEx'ed to me. They are called 4Life Transfor Factor Plus. They are probably crap, but I found some other people bulletin boarding that they had success with it and distemper. Since little Cooper has been in the hospital everyday this week, I'll try anything.

Cooper has severe pnuemonia. He has been in the "hospital" since Tuesday. Since prognosis is not good, I have been bringing him home at night.... so he has some happiness.


So, the reason for this blog is mostly for my own personal journaling. I adopted a new puppy on September 5th from BARC (aka Houston's pound). BARC has been plagued with tons of problems, I thought mostly political, but as I have found out, the problems extend to basic competence. Why? Because my new puppy, Cooper, has distemper.

This has been a nightmare. I am determined for him to survive. So, this BLOG is my way to vent and maybe in a small way inform people that the problems at BARC extend beyond the salary of the new director.

Cooper The Survivor (I Hope) | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates