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  • Con Slobodchikoff, Ph.D.
    Slobodchikoff is President and CEO of Animal Communications, Ltd., specializing in pet behavior problems and in educating people about the behavior of animals.

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June 17, 2009


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Christine Mikitaw

I adopted a puppy from the shelter in Feb. She had pneumonia when I got her. She then developed the nuro stage of Distemper. She went from walking and getting around just fine to not being able to walk at all. I did diapers and the whole thing. It is quite the emotional journey!
My puppy was under vet care from the onset of her clumsyness. She was on antibiotics, steriods and Powder Vitamin C everyday (IF you are facing this please look at using powdered Vitamin C)

I hung in there for her- I didn't see otherwise an option and under advice from friends started taking her swimming. I CAN'T STRESS TO YOU ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT SWIMMING WAS.

She is now fully recovered and ONLY on Vitamin C everyday. She eats Solid Gold dog food and I have her on their vitamin supplement also.

If you have a dog in this condition please please please give them a chance, they CAN come out of it!

I also have another dog and I do believe that she was as much help getting the puppy recoverd as I was. I really think it gave her the drive to keep eating and wanting to get better.

I have a series of videos up on youtube if you would like to see for yourself her progress. She is a VERY special soul. I am so proud of her.

"distemper puppy swimming as therapy 4"
on youtube

Please feel free to contact me if anyone has any questions about my journey through distemper I will be glad to share. [email protected]


I rescued a doy (lab/shep mix) female on June 9th...I already have a silky terrier age 9. The new dog immediately developed kennel cough, loose stool with blood, runny nose with green discharge, pads of feet hard, nose hard, etc. ,etc. After two different vets and spending $800.00, I started to suspect distemper. Her back legs also seemed weak. We of course love this dog and now she is back at North Shore (hospital thru adoption) being treated. She has not had signs of seizures yet - we want her to come home but I am afraid of what lies down the road. I went to visit yesterday (almost a 2 hour drive) and she seemed ok. It was very sad for me as I had to leave her there and return home. I am praying and hoping her distemper was caught early enough and she will be ok. This is heartbreaking. I will post again when I have more news. They are treating her with an antibiotic iv. My other dog seems ok right now but I'm going to take him to the vet to see if there's something we should put him on to be proactive.


i had just lost my 2 months old chow/german mix. im so sad =( i will miss her


My 13 year old son and I went on Friday and adopted an 11 week old puppy from the animal shelter, he was rott/lab mix and was so precious. They did an exam and a booster for distemper/parvo before us leaving, that was his second booster. They told us that he had a bit of a runny nose but that it was clear, we got home with him and noticed him having seizures straight away, I called back to shelter and they informed me that his litter mates had coccidia which is an intestinal parasite, said they had checked him and he was negative but still could have it. He was fine and happy other than the seizures he had just had so I prayed that he would be ok, he was fine all day Saturday, fine all-day Sunday until that evening, he started seizing again with my 13 year old son which was very traumatic for him, was fine again after. Monday morning, he was coughing, sneezing, wheezing, vomiting, diarrhea with blood, wouldn't eat and had a fever, with the shelter being closed on Monday's, I took Luke to my vet, he told me all the possibilities, treated Luke for coccidia, round worms, gave antibiotic injection and some special food. Luke continued vomiting and having diarrhea, coughing, just miserable, my son later called me at work to say that Luke had had seizure after seizure for over an hour, I got home and decided to have him put to sleep. I am very sad to say that he had destemper and with all the treatment possible, it was too far gone, he would only have had a 10 percent chance of surviving. It hurts even after just having him 3 days, he was so sweet, I have to tell myself that he at least felt loved his last few days and had a family that was wild about him, he even slept with us. You will be missed Luke, we love you!

Leona Porras

I am sad to say I am going threw this right now with are baby girl Harley.her story began when a friend wanted to breed her female with are male we agreed and we wanted pick of litter.We where so excited to hear the 4 puppies where born the day after my Birthday Feb18,2011 We where so excited we ran over to see them and.We piocked the only female which was wonderful for me with all boys including the dog I was happy to have a female :-).We went and seen her alot and the day we brought her home I went and got her toys and pick bed and bling coller oh and I had to paint her nails pink to lol She became love very fast she blended into are family perfectly and the kids feel in love with her as well.My husband named her Harley Well her troubles began when she has wattery eyes I just thought it was alergies she was happy still so I was not concerned well a week or so passed she got a cold I thought anyways cause she got a runny nose and started caughing and since hubby is layed off right now I tried my childrens liquid antibotics but she seemed to get worse a few days she woke us winning so We figured oh no she done went and eat something and it stuck in her tummy well the next day the winning got worse I took her out to see if she needed to potty and thats when the neighbor had told me there 2 puppies had died a few weeks ago from parvo I freaked out called my mom and burrowed 100 and took off to vet the sad new had me balling in the office I didnt know what to do all I knew was I was told she had about a 10% chance of making it threw it so I got the antibotics they gave and brought her onme at 1230pm today and now here I am at almost 3 in the morning Im dead tired but scared to leave her my Husband is laying with the door open on her pin finally feel asleep and they snore off and on till her winning starts again then he will rub and talk and cry with her I have cried so much I dont know how I grew to Love this baby so much but I wish I knew what to do and as a mother I feel helpless oh I forgot her twitching in one foot had started today at vets bit now has got worse and she will yelp every once in awhile I don't know how else to help her I gave her childrens benadril to help with wattery nose and eyes I am giving her vitC EmergenC brand I mix it like it says and she has been drinking it she still has regular stool and eats and I want to be hopeful I do my kids wanted to set down my her kennel tonight and pray she get better so we did and they just started crying one ran off to his room and the other to my arms and I try to be strong so I wait till I went got into the shower and beg god please spare her and theres where I stayed and cried We love this puppy I just wish I knew some other things to helkp her get rid of this and her be ok so if anyone has anything they know worked please Ill try it ........

crate training puppies

I'm not aware the kind of disease for puppies. I'd better check my vet to immunize my pup for protection. I was greatly shocked by this blog. I was really glad to read topic concerning this.


i just lost my puppy a week ago due to distemper. the pain is still fresh and i still cry a lot. i remember the sufferings he we went through. we are not aware that it was already distemper. 2 days before he died, we brought him to the vet because he suddenly became unplayful and we thought something was blocking his throat. initially, vet's diagnosis was kennel cough. though the vet also told us to oberserve our puppy for the next 3-5 days as this can also be a sign of distemper. what we have to watch out is the mucous that will be coming out of his nose. his last 2 days with us was full of sufferings, antibiotics didn't work. he is having a hard time breathing, not eating nor drinking. his stomach suddenly became bigger than usual. he was already on dextrose bec he is already anemic. he was confined at around 11am. and we all thought he was going to be ok, but after another hour, he had seizure.. and that was it. if only we are aware that there was a vaccine for this kind of disease, we could have prevented it. but despite all that, i know we have given our beloved puppy all the best care we can possibly give, including sleepless nights of watching him and hoping that he will recover. we surely miss our lovable choco. we will always remember you choco. hope you're happier now wherever you are.

Myrna Faria

Bonnie adopted my husband and me when we bought our weekend country house. She ran to us and hoped over as soon as we hit the gates. Two weeks ago I saw Bonnie's friend (an occasional visitor dog) with a mucous nose which I cleaned with alcoholado and camphor. I searched the Internet and learned about distemper. Bonnie got vaccinated that same day. I took her home and I thought her depression was due to missing the country. She began escaping the premises. I tried a thin leash, a wide leash, paneling, and nothing worked. This morning she arrived at the balcony, dirty and panting heavily. She wouldn't eat. I bathe her in warm water and dried her. She was dead from a respiratory congestion in an hour. I wish I had left her in her environment. Wild mutts are like wild flowers. I'm so sorry if I did wrong. I just wanted the best for her.

Diana Quezada

Yesterday our almost 3 month old puppy was diagnose with distemper, she was doing fine 2 days ago and after taking her to the vet, and the E.R with what we thought was dehydration, Turns out that this is just one of the many symptom of this deases, it's really hard for us, because we have to put her to sleep, We can't stand seeing our Bella suffer.
We bought this puppy 1 month ago to our daughter for her birthday, upon her begging endlessly, today I'm really sad because my daughter has to experience this loss, I would be lying if I would say that I'm Not going thru the same emotions specially because our Bella was so lovable and playful.

Sweet Dreams Bella


Hi i'm Joyce browsing about online cure for my turning 5months puppy tolits... he was diagnosed to have a parvo virus last week... and this week the vet said he also got distemper... and my 3 other dogs now sneezing as well showing symptoms... pls play for my dogs thank you!

Violet Fernandez

Little MJ’s Story

It all started when I & my boyfriend of 3 years, Andy, decided that we would breed our Cocker Spaniel, Lady, one time to then get her spayed. I had always heard from various Vets that it was a good idea to let your dog at least have puppies one time. I am a total animal lover so what would I love more then to get to raise puppies! Little MJ was born on July 3rd, 2009. He was the last one of 8 puppies. And of course he was the smallest along with one of his little sisters. Within the first week, he's twin sister, as I liked to call them, had already grown to the same size as the other puppies, and MJ had stayed small compared to the rest of the litter. We decided to name him MJ because by two weeks he was the first puppy to be standing up on his little wobbly paws and trying to walk! Mind you they still had their eyes closed. He would get up and tip over and roll around, he looked like he had some ultimate dance moves so he reminded us of Michael Jackson. And that’s how he got his name. MJ was our favorite little pup he was the most lovable little one out of them all. When I would come home I would pick him up and he would just give me non stop kisses and try to put his little paws in my face. When the pups went into the vet for they're deworming all the other puppies were 5 lbs, and MJ only weighted 1 lbs. We noticed that he was really picky when it came to nursing and he had to have either one of the back nipples if not he would not drink milk; now imagine 7 other hungry 5 lbs siblings trying to all eat at the same time. We had to sit down when it was time for them to nurse so we could make sure he ate and didn't get pushed out of the way. As soon as we weaned them MJ was doing much better weight wise although he was still tiny, but a little bit more active, before he would be like a little old man and just sit back while everyone else played. They would try to pick on him so we always kept him with us to protect and him from the little wild puppies. But then he was more active and playful.

On the evening of Aug. 19th, 2009 around 7 pm we placed them in the garage real fast to clean out the kitchen. We had put a baby pen at the entrance door to the garage so they couldn't climb out. My Boyfriend went to go in the garage and was stepping backwards over the baby pen when all of a sudden I heard a puppy start screaming, I ran over to see what was the problem and there was MJ lying on the floor yelling, I told him to hand him to me and asked him what happened he said he hadn't seen him and had accidently stepped on him but didn't even know where. When he handed me MJ, he had blood coming out of his right nostril and his little right eye was shut tight. Panic automatically shot in as soon as I saw the blood. We rushed out of the house and into the car to get him to a vet immediately. My vet was on vacation so we had to look else where. Everywhere we called they were already closed we ended up finding an emergency animal hospital 30 mins away from where we live. On the way to the vet MJ was having hard time breathing but he was no longer crying. I was worried that something had happened to his eye since he had had it shut when I first picked him up. So I bent over in the car to see his face and called out his name. He then opened both little eyes and started complaining to me, it wasn't a cry or a bark it was as if he was talking telling me the pain he was going through. I tried to comfort him the rest of the way. We got him to the vet and the vet said that he seem to have head trauma since he was bleeding from his nostril and gave him some medication for the brain swelling and put him in an incubator for oxygen. Around 9ish the vet said he was walking around but he looked like he had a hangover. So we waited a little bit longer at 12 a.m. when we asked for how he was doing he said that MJ was relapsing so we had to leave him. The next day I called as soon as I woke up to see how he was doing and they told me that they didn't believe he was going to make it, he's oxygen was at 45% out of 100% and his heart rate was 400 when the regular is from 95 to 100. When I called again at 10 am the other DR. tried to convince me that we should put him to sleep and that it wasn't worth to invest money to keep him alive. I told him to do X-rays and see what was going on. Andy and I decided that we would try to do everything to save him. It wasn't fair that the accident wasn't his fault and that he should be put to sleep when he had just started to live his life. It turned out to be he had 4 cracked ribs, and a hairline fracture in his skull. Two days later he was doing a bit better until he started to have convulsions. They told us that they didn't know why he was having them and once again tried to convince us to put him to sleep. But we asked them to give him seizure medication. They did and they stopped, after 5 days of being there MJ was eating and drinking with some help. We told them to take him off the oxygen to see how he kept up on his own to see if we could possibly take him home because what they were doing to him we could do, and we did not want the bill to get out of control where we could not afford it. The next day when we went to pick him up, they told us they believed he was blind and deaf because he had no reactions and he didn't see his food when he ate, as well as the fact he could have seizures for the rest of his life. But we didn't care, there’s plenty of dogs that are born blind/deaf/or even with epilepsy and live a great life we told ourselves. As long as he would receive all the love and time in the world he would be fine.

After $1,100 spent at the vet plus the gas expenses since we visited him on a daily basis, he went to my moms house because she cannot work after she had a serious accident at work, therefore she could give him the attention he needed. She fed him every 3 hours even throughout the night. MJ came to her house like a skeleton weighing 1.5-2.0 lbs. barely able to stand up without falling, you would have to hold his head up when he ate so he’s face didn't fall into the food. But the will to live always remained in him. A week passed and he was already looking different, stronger, better than that first week, all he did was eat/sleep/potty. And as the weeks progressed he showed some progression. A couple of things were for sure, he wasn't blind, deaf, and didn't have any more seizures. He did act like a zombie though, he didn't bark, play, when he would walk he would walk looking down, and just around the room like in a circle. We took him to our vet a week later, since they were back from vacation, so they could have his records and do a minor check up; they couldn't believe he survived, all that it was simply a miracle. I bought him vitamins to help him out as well as to gain some weight although the special meals he had from my mom had already bumped him up to 4 lbs. A week or two later, after that vet visit MJ was doing a bit better on activity wise the vet told us that his progress depended on how well the brain healed; maybe he would stay like a zombie forever or with time he would get better little by little. And for sure little by little he was getting better. Two to three weeks after that visit we had bought him some pedigree pouch meats for him to eat (he had already been eating this meat before and everything seemed fine), in the box there was a swollen pouch like if was rotten or expired, my mom threw it away and opened another one-smelled it, looked at the expiration date and everything was fine. The next day we had to run MJ to the vet because of non stop diarrhea, it turned out to be he had gastroenteritis which is life threatening for a puppy. After being two days in the vet and a $700 vet bill MJ returned home once again. Two day's later we had to take him back because now all his hair was falling off, which was now due to him getting a ringworm, because his defenses had gotten so low with the gastroenteritis. That added up to $150 for the shampoo and defense boost shot only after spending $700 two days prior.

The whole food incident seemed to had triggered something in him because a couple days later he was starting to play a little bit, nothing too big but he would bite your fingers when you laid him on his back something he had never done after the initial accident.

On Oct. 13th we had to take him to the vet again because my mom had fed him a different can of pedigree after he had run out of his other food that she makes for him. This time he's body had done an allergic reaction to the food; I guess from the previous food poisoning he's body couldn’t process some chemical their food has. He was swollen up with gasses and he's breathing was really bad. We had already fallen behind on our bills because of the previous vet bills and we didn't have anymore money to spare. My dad who sees little MJ as he's new baby is the only one that works and makes little money to keep up with all their own bills, took him into the vet to relieve his pain and see if they could give him some medication. Of course the vet wanted him to stay and even told my parents that if they took him he would die. But that it would mean $700 more. Because they would want to run blood work and god knows what else, when we already knew what the problem was. They ended up putting a little tube in his anus to release some gas and sent him some antibiotics. As strong as little MJ is, he pulled through the night and was back to his little self, and this time even a little more progression was made, he started to wiggle his little tail for the first time!

The real problem started when MJ began to have Seizure's October 27th, Tuesday night, he was perfectly fine lying down between my mom and dad playing with my mom biting her hands, he went to sleep and 45 mins later he woke up with a seizure. After that first one he wasn't back to his old self and he was pretty drained, he didn't want to get up or anything. Two hours later he had another one. Yesterday morning, he had another one at 7:20 am after that one around 3:30pm my mom called me bawling because he had had three more back to back. And you could hear him in the background crying. My coworker told me to ask my vet if I could make payments because I have fallen so behind with all his vet bills and vet visits that it has taken me off track financially and as I mentioned my parent's are in the same condition. The vet told me that they didn't accept any payment plans. After I had spoke to my mom I called the vet office crying asking if I could possibility give them some collateral until this Friday when I got paid maybe then give them half the money and two weeks later give them the other half. They told me to bring him in and we would work something out. Andy and I took him in around 5:30 the vet looked at him and noticed he had some cervical pain, but they still have to run varies test to see what is causing the seizures. The quote she gave me was for him staying there from wed to Friday and test and blood work and what not was $415.00 more or less. She also told us that it could be something neurological and that would have to be treated by a neurologist. I applied for care credit which is a credit card for vets but I was denied because I needed a stronger voucher and I had no one. The vet told me I had to leave some type of deposit in order for MJ to stay. I called my dad to see if he had anything he could lend us till Friday, and he told me all he had was $2.00. And on the other hand we have nothing as well, all we had was $30 on a credit card to put gas until Friday. The girls in the front tried to talk to the vet and see if maybe by leaving collateral he could stay but they didn't accept it. They explained to me that many people had done bad things before to the vet money wise. And I understood her decision. With no money to give for a deposit we had to take little MJ home. Yesterday evening he had a total of 22 convulsions in less then 48 hrs and spent all night crying. My brother had $70 he could lend us and my dad took him in this morning with a $70 deposit. It turns out to be that MJ had gentic distemper. And the previous times he had to go into the vet as an emergency was all due to the virus. Although we all thought that he was in the clear after he fought so hard against the virus and made it through the roughest time. With only 10 more days till the 30 day period mark of the virus. MJ went into the vet Saturday morning and was found dead Sunday Nov. 15th, 2009.

I shared his story with you, so you can see how hard little MJ had fought to stay alive.

MJ had the chance to turn four months on Nov. 3rd, 2009. This was longer then what anyone would have expected. He was the most special loving little creature I had ever came across. Everyone that met him fell in love with him. I would just like to take the chance, to thank Dr. Perez and all her staff at Panda for always being there and giving us support, and fighting along his side till the end.

amy dendorfer

We rescued a beautiful 10 month old Golden Retriever from a pound. After 10 short days of bringing home this happy puppy, she developed a cough and was diagnosed w/kennel cough. She was put on antibiotics. She then stopped eating and eventually stopped drinking. This was a concern, so we took her to an emergency pet hospital. They too confirmed she had kennel cough. After 3 emergency room visits and two visits to our vet, after the diagnosis of pneumonia, trouble breathing, fever maxing at 106 degrees, multiple and daily grand mal seizures, after having a vet tell me that she didn't have time to answer all of my questions because of "life threatening" situations with others (little did she know, THIS was one of those situations as well), after meds for seizures, pneumonia, high fever with no improvement, the doctor told us, "Don't let this poor little dog suffer anymore." We chose to put her at peace. Two days after Bella passed, we received a call. Bella had the dreadful disease, Canine Distemper. We later learned there was one other case just a month before ours from the same pound. We also learned that most dogs/puppies come into a shelter/pound with no background of immunizations. If this is the case, why wouldn't a pound vaccinate any dog immediately -- especially knowing they had a prior incident of this disease? Why did this pound wait 7 days and vaccinate her the day she went home with us? To think that a simple vaccine may have saved her, breaks my heart. Over $2,000.00+ in medical bills, several days of stress, countless visits to vets, animal emergency clinics, would we do this again and do all that we could to save such a young, beautiful puppy? Absolutely! Rest in peace my Bella. Although in our lives for just a few short weeks, you were loved and we are thankful to have been a part of your life!



One more thing:

In vitro, ribavirin, an antiviral effective in treating measles and other viruses, has also shown effective against Canine distemper virus.



This could absolutely be distemper. A family member JUST lost his puppy two days ago to distemper. Please do everything you can to save your dog.

My family member did not have the chance to do what this site says may be a cure (it all happened so fast), but you should try:

Also, very high doses of Vitamin C have been shown to help. Magnesium can help with calming him down and the neurological symptoms. And Vi-Pro Plus can also help:

Do EVERYTHING you can to save the poor pup. You still have a shot at saving him. Don't give up!

Best wishes,


we have a mini schnauzer, 14 weeks old who we had to treat for pnuemonia.He was on 2 different antibotics and a diuredic to help clear up the chest mucus. For the last 4-5 days he has been doing better each day and seemed back to his normal self, very playful! But tonight he had what I would call a siezure,than ran in circles and into the walls just cring. It took us awhile to calm him down. Could this be distemper? Any advice would be appreciated


Our neighbors bought a puppy a week or so ago and started to show the symptoms you described and it turned out to be canine distemper. They ended up taking the puppy back to the breeder. They already had a dog in the house hold so hopefully nothing was passed on.

I've never heard of this disease until then, good job at raising awareness and great post!

Randall Johnson

Thanks for posting this important reminder and for giving a clear description of the symptoms and treatment. Although I haven't lost puppies to canine distemper, my heart goes out to anyone who has suffered the pain of losing them, regardless of the cause.

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