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Archive for October, 2010

Cocoy and his Fights

Awareness

Sadly, we have to just realize life is short only when one of the people closest to our hearts would die. For me, the word death is so much dreadful, unimaginable and is the saddest part of life. And I am still afraid of death, maybe because I haven’t fulfilled anything yet in life and is not ready yet. I would sometimes wish I am an immortal individual and just watch life pass by… but I guess its just a part of a fantasy world.

Just like humans as a living thing, any breathing mammal is considered a crucial life… must be treated with importance, even everything works as a cycle.

The Canine

cocoy pup

Meet Cocoy. A half-dachshund breed.  Our canine family who was given to us by a friend, whom we took care of, even at his delicate age of 1 month, he had to experience such a shock.

Barely three days after we got him, we just took off to buy his things, and when we got home we are unaware he already fallen from our high stairways. We determined that as a high energy cute pup had climb off the obstacle and got off the room, played with the towel that hangs on the handrail, and eventually his small body shoots between the spacing of the handrail to the other way and fall to the lower steps. He experienced convulsions, excreting urine involuntarily.

Fortunately, he overcomes it, able to recover, and gradually grew up but skinny. I then started to realize that when you give love to a dog, he could feel the care and he would then start to fight for his life, because he knows someone cared.

After 3 months or so, he was struck with Parvo Virus. He excretes stool with blood, was lethargic, and wouldn’t eat. I couldn’t wait. I checked for a nearby vet and rush him to it. Good thing he was rushed no sooner, or he’ll die of it, told me by the vet… three days after the confinement on the clinic, he was already barking endlessly…

The Third Fight

I don’t know why, is it because he was partly pure-breed with low immunity, that he was easily stricken with disease? A year after, he was now suffering with distemper, a week after he was neutered from the vet along with our other mixed-breed black half-Labrador dog.

When he was showing symptoms of respiratory disease, I was praying it was just that and could easily be cured. But our vet told us he was certain that it could be distemper. He gave us 5 days to observe while giving Cocoy some medications. On the 4th day, Cocoy has his energy back, jumping and playing with me. On the 5th day, suddenly his energy fell. And from there I could say we already seeing the signs he was starting to fall from his feet when standing and swaying of his hips when he was walking.

We went back by the 8th day and had his follow up check up. They gave me another 3 days to observe. Until, he could barely walk up and down the stairs (imagine an elderly with rheumatism going up and down the stairs), I went back and finally told me to have him test for distemper. The results came out positive for Parvo-Distemper. And that day… Cocoy just couldn’t stand up anymore, and would just lie down most of the time.

 

Hope

It was quite hard to digest the truth, especially when the vet told me that the disease has no cure and could eventually lead to death. It took me like 1 day or 2 before I searched an information about distemper on the net. And from there I found the Kind Hearts in Action site, where hope is given to distemper dogs. I skimmed the site and saw that there was this treatment that is done overseas. I wrote to the author, giving brief info about Cocoy and somehow asked for help if treatment could be brought here. And yes, treatment has been already not knowingly been practiced here locally… the author wrote back with some information directing me to the vets, the clinic, and the case of Icy.

The treatment, was a hope for distempered dogs, though the recovery effect has a small percent of chance. Either the dog would fully recover and live for more than a year, or the dog would recover but suddenly breakdown and die. For me, it is a risk I am willing to take… because I would like to try all possible things just for him to extend his life, at least, I tried. Rather than waiting for him to die eventually, without doing anything.

A Plead of Help

I would like to take this opportunity to ask for your help, we were looking for a donor dog, for our Cocoy.

For a brief background about the treatment from what I understood (on the website KHIA and from the attending vet of Cocoy from VIP):

  • The treatment consists of two methods: (could be one of these or both depending on the stage of distemper)
  1. NDV* – where dog donor is required. Serum is made from the dog donor and injected on the dog with distemper, to kill the virus. (more information: http://kindheartsinaction.com/2009/11/05/anti-distemper-serum/)
  2. Spinal Tap – for dogs that already experience seizures (spasms or uncontrollable shaking of legs and/or head; neurological stage). This develops eventually with untreated dogs. (more information: http://kindheartsinaction.com/2009/11/05/treatment-of-neurologic-distemper/)

NDV is done if the dog is experiencing the early stages of distemper, first few days from the first sign of distemper. NDV and Spinal Tap is done if the dog is at its late stage of distemper,  neurological phase.

Usually, if its off-season for distemper (season where major dogs were struck by the virus), the VIP clinic have serum reserves that they could use availably without the owner look for a dog donor. When we took a visit to the clinic, to our dismay, they had no reserves… and that made the process difficult for us.

*I would like to elaborate this process, which, what are the requirements for a donor dog to have, and what the donor dog would undergo.

Donor Requirements

This requirements were given to us by the attending vet of Cocoy from VIP, donor dog must be:

  1. 20 kgs. and above – 15kgs. and up is good but the larger the dog, the better
  2. healthy dog – check for skin problems, and pinkish gums. The dog will be further checked by the clinic upon presenting, full-laboratory check up, as far as I know. When the dog is healthy, the recovery process of the dog is fast (from draining blood from him).
  3. intact dog – un-neutered dog
  4. dog must be 1-2 years of age
  5. 5-in-1 vaccination is up to date – an updated vaccinated dog would lower the chance for him from getting diseases from other dogs while in confinement on the clinic.

From the reqs. it is understood that we do need large breed dogs, a mixed breed or mongrel is also ideal.

Donor Procedure

What would the donor dog undergo upon arrival in clinic would be more or less, as follows:

  1. A full-laboratory check: weight, skin problems, worms, blood-born disease… etc.
  2. Anesthetized, inject the La Sota vaccine to the dog.
  3. 11-12 hours waiting, in between those hours, the blood would be extracted from the donor dog
  4. Serum would be made from that blood

And from the serum, would be injected to the distempered dog.

If the link I’ve given above (NDV treatment) was read, it was noted by the last line of instructions:

19. All my donor dogs have survived. I have not lost any.

As a pet owner, I know this kind of assurance is important, but taking a word of it I know isn’t easy. But as far as I could say, a numbered, if not a lot, of dog donors have already gone on the procedure through the VIP clinic, and so far, I haven’t heard any complaints about it.

If we could find a donor, we would bring the dog to the clinic first, and after the procedure, the donor would be brought home, before we would bring Cocoy to the clinic and wait for further instruction from the vet on how to admit the dog without contaminating other dogs. I say they were careful, as we were instructed before, to let the dog stay outside the clinic while waiting for the doctor. It is been known as you might already know, that distemper is highly contagious and can be transmitted via air.

The Samson

Hopefully we could find already one. It was already more than a month since Cocoy has first showed his respiratory symptoms (estimated by the 4th week of Aug) 😦 and we haven’t yet got any donors yet. We tried asking relatives, and even thought we already have one until we brought the dog to the clinic and discovered that the dog isn’t updated with his vaccine (the first vet overlooked this criteria and only gave us the first 4 requirements).

For a few days last month, he shows already subtle signs of twitching, from often to frequently occurring. But good thing, this strong canine of ours, as days passed, the twitching stopped. When we first visited VIP, they gave us maintaining medications for Cocoy to take while looking for a donor, so up until now, we were still giving him his medications.

Amusing but still hoping, you can take a guess about his current condition. He stopped walking (paralysis of hind legs) a week after the first stage of distemper (respiratory). When I first saw how he struggles to stand, it is a sight I could barely take. But… he now could stand and balance for a while, take a walk and pee or poo, though still falls on his feet and sit from time to time. There… it goes hope.

But on contrary when he was still unable to walk to which he has large appetite,  lately he got a little appetite, eat only what he wants in a minimum. Though he drinks a lot of water. Explains why we always wake up in the morning with all the dried-sticky pee scattered on the floor. As always, from the very day he was paralyzed, his pee was involuntary and couldn’t be controlled. He also developed some skin patches on his body, still starting out, but I’m afraid this could go severe. Physically, he is as thin as a stick, even with the vitamins we gave him. His back eventually lowered, with his spinal only sticking out. Incredibly thin.

Here Cocoy is, still going strong, given to him is care and love as his source of his strength. If he doesn’t give up,  I do not want to give up either. Together we plead, to help us to fight this another challenge in his life, and conquer the odds of fate, let them know that not all give up easily. We are ought to sway the fate ahead, and defeat what it is to make his life shorter. If we might, please help us find a donor dog, and help to save another distempered dog.

Thank you for reading.  🙂

Disclaimer: The facts presented isn’t as exact as they seemed to be. I have laid out these according to what I understand and experienced on hand. It is still advisable to confirm the facts with the experts themselves; the vets in VIP, Ed Bond (author of KHIA site).

Thank Yous: My heartfelt thanks to those whom I wrote to and extends their prayers for Cocoy. Frankly we were at the near of giving up since as we still haven’t successfully got a donor. Hopefully this time through this post, it could reach someone with a kind heart.

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Updated: Added recent pictures of Cocoy