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I am posting this because when I was looking for hope on the internet less than a month ago, there was very little to be found. If you are searching for answers because your fur child has been diagnosed with canine distemper, I am not a veterinarian so this is only my experience, but I am here to tell you to not give up.

I have a pug puppy who is currently 15 weeks old. My bf bought her from a pet store (I know..) the end of Jan 2020 as he has always wanted a pug. She was a measly 3 pounds when we first got her. A week after bringing her home, she was diagnosed with Giardia and an upper respiratory infection. We suspected issues because she had severe diarrhea, would not eat much on her own and had a clear nasal discharge. She was put on Flagyl and given fluids because she was so dehydrated. We went back to the vet two days later. The Giardia was still prominent and she now had pneumonia. She received new antibiotics, Clavamox, and given more fluids. During the following week, she began showing signs of respiratory distress with horrible hacking and fast breathing. We took her into a steamy bathroom several times a day and performed coupage multiple times throughout the day as well to help bring up phlegm. We were feeding her wet food through a syringe, as well as water carefully when needed. We used Pedialyte mixed into her water to help her stay hydrated. Her small nose was so clogged that we also used unmedicated nasal spray (recommended by our vet) and this seemed to help. At this point, we thought that there was a good chance she wouldn't make it; we had lost a puppy previously to pneumonia. On Feb. 17th, we took her again where they performed a nebulizer treatment to help her clear her airways. Her Giardia had not cleared up, but good news, she was finally gaining weight! She now only weighed 3.8 lbs. We were taken off other medications and given Panacur and doxycycline. We went back the next two days for several more nebulizer treatments and continued with the coupage and consistent feedings through the syringe. She was no longer dehydrated. She started worsening again, so we were switched back to Clavamox. She was beginning to improve, finally! Her hacking was slowing and her weight was steadily increasing. At her next visit, the vet decided to do a canine distemper test given she had not had recent vaccinations due to her health and several other puppies from the same store had tested positive. Five days later the results came back and we were devastated! Most information online is bleak, but we still thought she would make it through. She continued to improve, and we eventually stopped antibiotics completely. Fast forward to today...we are only two months into having her with us so we are not out of the woods completely with this virus. BUT, she is acting like a normal, healthy puppy; hyper, eating constantly, drinking plenty of water, and normal BMs. We have not noticed any neurological issues so far. Last we checked, she is now weighing in at 5.8 lbs, but I'm guessing she's more now! She hasn't been to the vet in almost two weeks and we couldn't be happier.

The emotional and physical toll that this has taken on us is unexplainable. Our hearts are still healing from losing our first puppy, and we thought we would lose her too. So, if you are going through this, please do not give up on him or her. Give them their best chance and be prepared to care for and monitor them 24/7. As always, speak to your vet if you ever suspect any issues. I believe that early detection of her pneumonia may have saved her life.
 

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Good for you. Hard as you worked to support your puppy, you deserve to have it work out, and I hope she continues to develop normally.

However your tale is less one of how to deal with this disaster than one warning never to put yourself in a position to ever have to deal with such a thing. Get a puppy from a good breeder who vaccinates and continuing proper puppy immunizations yourself (if you worry about over-vaccinating, like I do, you can get titers 2 weeks after the first or second puppy vaccine, expensive but not as expensive as treating the diseases. Or from a rescue or shelter that has dogs checked for health and vaccinated.

I know dealing with good breeders is a royal PITA as a lot of them are royal snobs when it comes to people who just want a healthy pet. Rescues can also be difficult because they vet homes so thoroughly. Even so, it's worth the trouble to avoid what you went through.

I admire you, Rachelelizaa, for your dedication, and am glad you saved one of those infected pet shop puppies. The one puppy I took in when I was doing rescue that was diagnosed with distemper had never been vaccinated and died. It was an ugly death for him and ugly experience for me.
 

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I hope you will spread this message not as one of hope that dogs can get through distemper but as an example that buying a dog from a pet store or third party seller is totally irresponsible and should be stopped.


We dont have dogs in pet stores or via third party here. (unless they are smuggled in and that gets jail time) My vet is about 40 and he has never seen a case of distemper.
He's lucky because I have and I know the awful heartbreaking scene it brings as it raveges a dogs body. Parvo is another killer that can so easily be avoided and yet through lack of hygine and bad selling practices it still kills too many pups.. The anti -vacc brigade have a debt here too.. They scream about vaccinations being evil and yet often offer little information on things like Titre tests or the dire and often fatal consequences of non vaccination.

Oh and buying a pup frm a pet store isnt rescue. You are putting cold hard cash into the hands of puppy farmer and condemming the parents to a life of misery.

Im glad your pup made it but spare a thought for her mother who is most likely locked in a wire cage, pregnant again and again so that people can 'rescue' her pups.
 
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