CHARLOTTE, NC.....Three months ago we were contacted about an eight week old Lab Mix puppy that had problems walking and had tremors. He had been dropped off at Richmond County Animal Control in Rockingham, NC. We contacted Dr. Bob Bergman to send him the pictures and video, and he originally thought the puppy had Neospora. We said we would take the puppy but wanted them to start him on antibiotics immediately in case he did have Neospora to stop the progression.
Neville arrived, and everyone fell in love with him. He was given a full Neurologic work-up, and a battery of tests were done to determine exactly what was wrong with him. Dr. Bergman was expecting to have the Neospora Test come back positive and was surprised when it came by Negative. The test that shocked him was when Neville's results came back positive for DISTEMPER. The sweet puppy should not even be here since over 80% of puppies diagnosed with Distemper do not survive.
Distemper is highly contagious and potentially lethal. A paramyxovirus causes distemper in dogs and is closely related to the measles. It causes severe illness in the dog by attacking multiple body systems, resulting in a widespread infection that is difficult to treat. Neville immediately went into a special Quarantine since Distemper is spread by direct contact and is airborne.
There are two stages of Distemper. The first attacks the Respiratory and GI System. The animal has a high fever, nasal discharge, eye discharge, is lethargic, vomiting and will not eat. The second stage attacks their Central Nervous System. The animal has head tilts, tremors, seizures, and convulsions. Puppies usually never get to this stage because they DO NOT survive the first stage. Neville's Distemper had already progressed to the second stage when we agreed to take him into our Medical Program.
We let the person at the Shelter know we had a confirmed Distember case that had come from their Shelter and they needed to quarantine any young dogs that had been in the same run with him. Neville was loaded with parasites and fleas when he arrived and was very weak and lethargic, but he did not have the typical Upper Respiratory, GI and Fever issues that go along with the disease. He had developed a cough and was weak but not what we would normally see with Distemper.
We knew it was a long shot based on Dr. Bergman's notes, but we wanted to do everything possible for this adorable puppy and decided to keep treating him. Neville had to remain in ICU in Quarantine for almost two months. Dr. Bergman had not seen a puppy survive once the Virus had spread to the Central Nervous System. We were not allowed to play with Neville for fear we would infect the young puppies we had at the Rehab Center. Any puppy four months or younger was susceptible to get the Virus. The virus can shed for months after the animal had been infected. We still had the Parvo Pups in Quarantine so there was no chance we could infect them.
Neville had his very own Vet Techs that were suited up every time they went into his Quarantine area. They would give him his meds and food and then play and love on him until he was exhausted. This went on for months until Dr. Bergman finally said he could come out. He was allowed to come to our Rehab Facility with the condition, he was not allowed to ever be around any pups younger than four months old, and each animal had to have had their vaccinations.
We could finally wrap our arms around this adorable puppy. Neville has lots of Neurologic Deficits, but he is all puppy in every other way. He still has his tremors which have improved, but his main issue is he is very wobbly on his rear legs. When he first arrived at our Rehab Facility, he could barely walk two steps without falling over. He now can run and play with the other dogs. He looks pretty spastic when he runs, but he is perfect to us. How he survived the first stage of the Virus is beyond us, but we are so glad he did so we could give him a Second Chance at Life. Neville is the Ultimate Fighter and does not let any of his disabilities slow him down. If he falls, he gets right back up and takes off running until he falls again.
We did not think Neville would make it which is why we waited so long to post for him. We have had so many hardships over the last couple of months that losing another puppy was not something we wanted to burden you with. We are now confident Neville is stable, and the worst is over for him. He may develop seizures, but if he does, we will deal with those.
We now have to put back what we spent on Neville's Medical Bills during those two months so we can help more pups like him survive. It is RARE to see a puppy that has gotten to this stage and Lived to tell the Story. His Life gives hope to a lot of other puppies that people give up on that are diagnosed with Distemper. Please, Donate whatever you can toward his Medical Bills. Thanks for caring.