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What would you do if your new rescue has distemper?

Hi everyone. We are at a loss of what to do and would love advice/guidance. We are a family of 4 with 2 boys ages 8 and 11. We lost our senior dog about 1 month ago and decided to adopt a new dog. We adopted a shepherd/lab mix on December 6th from a rescue organization. Female, 8 months old.  She had been in a county shelter for 1 month before. She received her first distemper vaccine on 11/9, then was not vaccinated again until the rescue organization got her on 12/5 (the shelter was going to put her to sleep).  We fell in love with her and adopted her the next day, on 12/6.  She came home with antibiotics for kennel cough but didn't have a cough.  On 12/10, she developed a cough. She stopped eating and was lethargic. I took her to the vet on 12/17, they checked her blood count and said her white blood cells were fine and gave me more antibiotics. She still wasn't eating, seemed depressed and kept coughing.  I thought maybe she had parasites and no vet would see us until January, so I called the rescue organization and they told me to bring her in.  They kept her for 1 week and we were supposed to go pick her up on 12/27 but they called us and said that she had discharge in her eyes and nose and she has distemper.  We are so sad and confused. We've read so much scary stuff about distemper and although we bonded with her and don't want to give up on her, are scared to take on a dog that may have a lot of health/neurological issues. They are keeping her isolated and say that her condition is the same. She isn't showing signs of neurological issues yet but she is not getting fluid from IV's- I think she's just being treated/monitored at the rescue.  What would you do??? They gave us the choice of picking her up and bringing her home and if she gets worst, bring her back. Leaving her there for them to treat/monitor her.  Or moving on to another dog. We don't know what to do. What would you do?
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675347 tn?1365460645
COMMUNITY LEADER
This isn't easy, and I feel for you and the family, and also for the poor dog.

Distemper is serious. She may even die, though there is a chance she will recover. I personally haven't known a dog with Distemper, or a Distemper survivor, so hope you receive more answers from someone who has had this experience.

Yes, it's possible if she survives, she may bear some neurological scars  but I have heard such things can vary in severity.

Beware also, because I have also hear a dog with Distemper can appear to get better, yet relapse a few days later.

What should you do? I can't say. I know you must feel so sad and at your wits end. I also can't say what I would do, if I were in your position. And this is a really difficult  dilemma.

The decision involves your Heart, your compassion, but also your family life and finances (if she would need on-going medical care) If either of the latter just won't work, then sadly adopting her won't work.
If she would need round-the-clock observation  for instance, and there is no-one in the house all day....if your finances won't support it.
And not everyone is cut out to be a 24/7 veterinary nurse.
You have to consider those things.
But if you want to stand by her thick or thin, for better or worse, then learn all you can about Distemper survivors and what to expect, so that you can adapt.
And remember -some cases may have a better prognosis than others.

Right now, she is probably better off receiving veterinary care. I am sure they will let you know if or when she would be fit enough to return to your home anyway

I send you my kindest wishes, and blessings for your dog.

I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help.
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1 Comments
Very thorough response.  Great the rescue accepted responsibility and if that is open ended one could consider bringing the dog home knowing she may have to be returned again. If rescue provides all meds that can be administered at home that may be the kindest thing that can be given to the dog, especially if you have the people resources to give the fog loving attrntion.  I have a bonded rescue that just recoved from Lymn using antibiotics at home. He seems to have recovered.  This was done by me using a vertiarian diagnosis and prescription.  In my dog's case well means he's a living old dog free from pain with good appetite and loved. He is happy as am I.
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