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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Djanga.. The Rescue

   In January of 2011 I rescued and fostered two puppies..one little baby was just 4 weeks old and the other one we estimated to be about 8 weeks old.  Both were pulled from a local kill shelter and moved to a veterinarian by a fellow rescuer out of New York, and both had been given 4 rounds of vaccinations.  The plan was... drive to pick the little furbabies up foster for a week while we await their transport to New York.


  2 days into our new living arrangement I discovered the older one had a runny nose, a temperature and runny eyes.  I immediately started her on a home made diet and started giving her supplements,  and herbs to boost her immune system, however she continued to get worse.   Meanwhile the baby seemed to be doing just fine.  Both were quarantined in one room away from our other dogs as a precaution.  A few days went by and it was clear that the older puppy was showing signs of kennel cough.  I had no idea what would come next and dove into understanding kennel cough and the ways that we may be able to beat it.

Shortly thereafter the baby started in with kennel cough symptoms and I started searching for information about how to handle it.  My search led me to a Natural Health Store down the street from our house.  Luckily the owner had 22 years of healing animals and people with the use of herbs and proper nutrition. We set out on an aggressive all natural alternative course to healing the puppies.  During this time I did take the girls to the vet on 2 separate occasions so that we could have  lab work done to let us know what we were dealing with. They prescribed a couple of medications to help; however, they said that both pups would need to depend on their immune systems to fight off the disease and it did not look good.   After that the situation progressively got worse for both puppies.  Eventually the kennel cough turned into distemper, mange, cataract and pneumonia.  The older puppy added seizures to her list of ailments and 2 days later she started screaming thru them.  We took her to the emergency Vet and decided the most humane way to handle her was to put her to sleep.  It was a terrible situation but unfortunately she was in too much pain and she was letting everyone know, it was unbearable. 

Thankfully, Djanga, the baby, was holding on. For the next 2 weeks it was touch ago. From day to day I would watch over Djanga and only slept in two hour intervals. The next six months I spent my days and nights taking care of her.  Somewhere in the middle of her care she suffered a seizure or a stroke, however, after that episode she progressively showed signs of getting better. Her temperature faded and her symptoms slowly started going away, after 6 months she started to look more and more like a happy playful puppy.

We took Djanga back in for a check up at the veterinarian and he could not believe that she had lived. He kept looking at the chart then he'd look back at her while he shook his head in disbelief. He paused, smiled then said "Whatever you are doing... keep doing it". When I explained to him that my sole focus for her recovery was to pinpoint strengthen her immune system with food and supplements he again said "whatever you are doing is working so please keep doing it".

Djanga is now 3 and half years old. She is the most playful out of all of our dogs. Yes her growth was stunted by the disease, her teeth on the right side have grown in sideways, her tongue hangs out from the right side of her mouth while she is resting, she has a residual ticking that you will see when you see her mouth move open and closed every couple of seconds and she suffers from mini seizures in her sleep. All of these are due to the degeneration of the nervous system. Dogs that have been infected with distemper tend to suffer a progressive deterioration of mental abilities and motor skills. With time, the dog can acquire more severe seizures, paralysis, reduction in sight and in coordination. Because of this she is on a raw diet she also gets a good dose of fish oil, pancreas, valerian root and skullcap. The goal with her is now to help her maintain optimal health in the hopes to help her live a long full life without pain, so far she is doing amazing.

Here is a fun little video of her playing with our little Jack Russell!

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