Friday, October 29, 2010

Of puppies and parvo...

As I had mentioned in a previous post, Ziggy and Delilah had a litter of pups several months back. She had 8 puppies!! Four little boys and four little girls, with two of them looking very Australian Shepherd-ish, one looking like a true mash-up of the two dogs, and the other five looking like some variation of with a random white marking or two. When the pups were about 4 weeks old, Delilah started acting differently. She wasn't eating much, and was acting tired. Postpartum depression? Worms? We didn't know what was going on, so we got some canned food to mix in with her dry and she ate more...then abruptly stopped eating a couple of days later. At the same point in time, she started ignoring her pups. Her pups started having really foul-smelling poop. We took her to the vet no knowing what to expect.

She had parvo. Apparently there had been a bout of parvo running around Fresno that was effecting an extraordinary number of dogs, both vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. The vet said that she had about a 50/50 chance if we did subcutaneous fluids every 4-6 hours and gave her medications. The pups, however, were a different story. He said we'd likely lose the whole litter, that they had already gotten it and they were too young for the shots anyway. He said we'd just have to sit back and watch as they died, or we could bring them all in to be put down. This was devastating news. We weren't sure to tell the boys as puppies started dying, or if Delilah died. We had to treat the yard, and do three separate quarantines: Delilah, Ziggy, and the pups. We had plastic totes all over the utility room, trying to separate the pups who were really acting sick from the ones who weren't. We called around to different societies and shelters for advice...was there anything that we could do? Put the pups down, they all said. There's nothing that I can do. I was defeated and angered at the same time. Surely there is SOMETHING that I could try!

I talked to a friend who is as into herbs and alternative remedies as any herbalist, and asked her advice. She steered me into a couple of directions as suggestions...she had an idea of what worked well on humans for intestinal ailments, but wasn't so sure about dogs. It gave me a little hope, though. In the meantime, the pups had been started on "puppy mush", essentially puppy food soaked in puppy formula and blended to the consistency of a thin pudding. They were eating a little, but it was hard on their weakened guts. I went to the local health food store and picked up a bottle of raw colostrum and started syringe-feeding the little buggers about every 4 hours, coming home on my lunch breaks to help my husband with the never-ending tasks of starting Delilah on her bag of fluids (he didn't like jabbing her with the needle...this is where being a nurse came in handy), giving her the medications, cleaning up the nasty parvo poo, starting a load of laundry to wash the blankets and towels that the pups were laying on, and feeding them.

A couple of days into the ordeal, I found a gentleman on the internet who had a similar experience as ours. He had given his pup turmeric. Yes, as in the spice found in curries, etc. I read about it in depth, investigated turmeric, then decided to give it a try. I went back to the health food store, picked up more colostrum, a bottle of turmeric capsules in the most pure form I could find, and went home. The ladies at the store were had lost her pup to parvo, and really took an interest in our situation. The capsules were large. I couldn't poke them down the pups throats. So I sterilized one of the needles from Delilah's fluids and used it to puncture the capsules. Then my husband would hold the pup, I'd squirt the turmeric (which was in an oil base) down its throat, then follow it quickly with the colostrum. My fingers were yellow for about two weeks...they looked like the fingers of a 40-year chain smoker. We gave turmeric to Ziggy just in case, even though he wasn't acting sick. We gave it to Delilah, who was so weak that she could barely lift her head. We thought we were going to lose her and the pups. She wasn't making urine for about two days...I was sure she was just shutting down. Then slowly she started turning around. She lifted her head. Then sat up for a minute. Then peed!! Her kidneys were working! The pups were starting to eat a little more mush, and the poo stopped smelling foul. There was no more blood in it. We were turning a corner!

We continued with the treatment plan...Delilah on her meds, fluids, and turmeric, Ziggy on prophylactic turmeric, and the pups on colostrum and turmeric 4-5 times/day along with the mush. After about a week, Delilah ate some boiled chicken and broth. The pups graduated to soaked kibble from mush. Everyone was alive, and about half of the litter was actually thriving. And my fingers were very, very yellow.

One of the shelters called us back to check on us after about a week and a half. We gave them the update, and they couldn't believe their ears...both mom and all eight pups had not just survived, but were doing great! They asked for the breakdown of what we did, and we told them. They were a no-kill shelter, and this was exactly the kind of thing they were looking for to try. Our vet called and asked if we lost the litter. We told him about the colostrum and turmeric, and he called it coincidence, then yelled at us and said "Don't you know you're not supposed to give dogs milk?!" We won't be going back to him. The ladies at the health food store said they'd pass it on to anyone who asked. Eventually we found homes for all but one of the pups, who we kept for ourselves. Delilah and all of the puppies made a full recovery!

It was a very, VERY long two weeks of treatment, sadness, frustration, then ultimately, triumph. We had defeated the odds by looking back to nature to heal. So if there is anyone out there who does a search for puppies and parvo, I hope you find this page and give the treatment a try. I was skeptical at first, but took the approach of "can't hurt, might help"...they were all on death's door with no options, so why not give it a try? And it worked!! Pass it on. Log it away in your memory in case it happens to your dog or a friend's pet. Here's the basic breakdown of what we did:

* Turmeric capsules, one per dose, 4-5 times per day until the stool is no longer bloody or diarrhea. Then decrease dosing to 3 times per day for at least a week. Linked is the turmeric we used.

* Raw colostrum, 10 ml, 4-5 times per day after the turmeric. Linked is the colostrum we used.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hahaha...back from vacation??

Yeah, I suck as a blogger here lately. I'm just so incredibly tired. I'll get my whining out and be done with it...I'm over 30 weeks pregnant now, working full-time, going to school full-time, and trying to relieve my hubby at home when I'm off. He works so hard trying to keep the house and kids under control and presentable, and I know it's a never-ending and thankless task. We're homeschooling this year, so I'm trying to help out with that when I'm not working, but the fact of the matter is that I need to do MY school! *sigh* Well, it's not forever. I just need to plow on through these next three years and think about my goal...midwifery.

So I'm in my first semester of school, working toward my Masters' then ultimately to be a CNM. It's really good, I'm just trying to balance it all and retain as much as possible. I LOVED our time at Frontier for orientation! I got to meet all of my classmates and teachers, and really appreciate the wealth of history behind the area and the school. It's truly amazing, and Mary Breckinridge was an amazing woman. I feel honored to be a part of the school.

Work is going well enough...I'm not doing the back-up supervisor thing anymore, so I'm back on the floor. I was also offered a "desk job" being the Neuroscience/Spine Center coordinator. I haven't accepted yet. It might be nice...less physically demanding, 8-hour days, weekends off. But do I want to deal with all of the politicking? It would be good for me in the long run...good for my resume, good experience for when I'm starting my own practice and/or birthing home. I just don't know if I want to expend the mental energy that I know it's going to require, get off the floor, etc. I like patient care. I don't know...I guess I'll make a decision soon.

I can't believe my baby is six years old!! He's such a sweet kiddo, and I'm truly blessed to be his mommy. Speaking of being a mommy, we found out that we're having another boy! We've chosen the name Connor. He's an active little guy, and we're looking forward to seeing him due date is right around Christmas. I found a wonderful midwife, Detrah Hele. She is a wonderful lady, and I'm so glad I found her! I'm at my every-two-week appointment stage now, and I enjoy seeing her more. I'm planning a homebirth this time around, and we'll have a birth pool as well. Whether or not he's born in the water will be a down-to-the-minute decision based on what feels right at the time, but I'm sure I'll be soaking in there for a while at the least. I've been bulking up my cloth diaper stash, selling the stuff that we didn't use much and buying more of what works for us, which seems to be BumGenius One-size and gdiapers with cloth inserts. Daddy likes them and will use them, so that's what we're going with. I've bought some wipes from my pal over at Stitches in Cotton to replace my worn-out and dog-chewed ones. I'm almost ready! Only think is that I think all of my newborn clothes are still in Florida. I'm going to have to have my family go check the storage unit for me and ship them if they're still there.

Our Delilah had a litter of pups several months back. We ended up keeping one, a little guy that the boys named Charlie Jack the Pirate Dog. No, I'm not kidding. That's his name. It's on his tag. The whole thing. But we just call him Charlie Jack. A few weeks after she gave birth, she and her whole litter came down with Parvo. I'll write a separate post about that, but the long and short of the story is that we used turmeric and cured them all! Only Delilah had antibiotics and IV fluids...she was near death's door when we took her to the vet, we just didn't know how sick she was! But that's another story for another time.

Homeschooling. Wow. I want to say kudos to my mom and every other homeschooling parent out there...this is no easy task, and he's only in first grade!! We have a throw-together curriculum that seems to be working nicely. We're using Math U See, Handwriting Without Tears, McGuffey Readers (which I learned to read from), and The Story of the World. I'm looking for a science curriculum that I like, then we'll have the bases covered. In the meantime, we're just doing it free-style. Deklan is taking very well to it, and does a great job most days. He mostly just has to learn to take his time and do things right the first time...he's a hurrier. Gavin is jumping in and learning a bit here and there, and he loves it! He's a smart little cookie, and we'll start kindergarten a bit early with him, starting next year. As it is he can say his ABC's, count to 14, and is tracing shapes and letters (not very well sometimes, but he sure tries!). Now Trav just needs to start school and we'll all be in learning mode!

Time to go make supper...I made a huge pot of gumbo and have eaten it three days in a row. As much as I like gumbo, I am not eating it four days in a row. :)