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.

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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.

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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.

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