Yutori’s Issho No Kyoshi Drumm
Please scroll down to the bottom of her story to read the final chapter of an incredible life named Issho
ISSHO is now 2 1/2 years old!!!!!!!
For specific questions about Issho's treatment, supplements and symptoms, feel free to email Lynn Drumm at: email@example.com
See 'A Hard Look at Polyarthritis from a Breeder's Perspective' by Rita Roberts, *an article formerly posted on the ACA website—
*Sadly, the Akita Club of America has seen fit to take this article off their website, and replaced it with a newer and MUCH less worthy article with less information, by an author who had a vested interest in suppressing the truth about the danger of over-vaccination. One can wonder (and we do) which pharmaceutical company paid her to slant her article, since she turned down offers of veterinary case histories from proven affected dogs. We are still getting requests for Issho’s article from vets and individuals with affected dogs. So we have copied the article to my hard drive and posted it to the web from my website so that you can access it above, on the link. You can also see a brief synopsis of Issho's story in the August 2004 AKC Gazette.
This is the chronicle of Issho's life and the journey that her owner and her breeder have made while trying to understand this disease and how to help her have a full life despite her condition.
“Sometimes, even with the best of intentions, the best of plans, and the best of dogs, the worst can happen.”
Issho was born on October 26, 2002. Her parents are both healthy dogs, out in the show ring earning their championships; having passed all health clearances with normal OFA thyroid, OFA'd hips and elbows, and normal knees and eyes. Issho was apparently destined to be a very special long-coat Akita with a special calling. She was meant to be a leader, to help set standards for other Akitas. When Issho was 9 weeks old, she became a very sick puppy. Ultimately, we learned that her first puppy vaccination had seriously weakened her immune system. Issho had a reaction. This was not an anaphylactic reaction; nothing so well documented as that. Instead, Issho's first set of puppy vaccinations triggered a condition known as Immune Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA), also called Juvenile Onset Vaccine Induced IMPA of the Akita. In the limited, outdated documentation/research available on the subject, the outcome was devastating. All pups in the research were dead by age two years. Pups diagnosed as early as Issho typically didn't even make it to the age of one year.
At eight weeks old, Issho and her littermates were vaccinated with the Fort Dodge Duramune 5, DAPPC, a modified live vaccine combination. Early on the eighth morning after this vaccination (she had just turned 9 weeks old), Issho's breeder found her lying helplessly in the puppy playpen in the kitchen, unable to stand, her eyes wide open and glazed, shaking uncontrollably, her head wobbling back and forth as she tried to lift it, lying in a pool of her own urine. The breeder rushed her to an emergency clinic but was told Issho's vitals were normal and that low blood sugar may have been the cause of this episode. Epilepsy was ruled out.
This episode started a voyage of inquiry and a desperate search for help from anyone and everyone in veterinary medicine as well as experts in the breed. We needed to know what was wrong with her and what we could do to help her recover. We (Cathy Pollack, breeder and Lynn Drumm, owner) first consulted Barbara Bouyet in California, an absolute angel, who upon hearing the limited case history, gave us several directions in which to look, although she strongly felt Issho was having a vaccine reaction. She suggested a list of herbal supplements intended to detoxify her body, support her immune system, and protect her joints from the damaging effects of Polyarthritis. We were advised to seek out premium holistic puppy foods with all natural ingredients, no artificial additives, and to add other organic foods into Issho's diet. She also warned us that every puppy in this litter could possibly become affected by two years of age. We were referred by Barbara Bouyet to Dr. Charles Loops, a homeopathic vet specializing in vaccinosis, living and practicing in North Carolina. The owner's vets and those at a Milwaukee, Wisconsin emergency clinic were at a loss for a diagnosis, after ruling out Addison's Disease, Portosystemic Shunt, Diabetes Insipidus, and parasitic infection. Her primary vet was adamant that this was NOT a vaccine reaction. Feeling absolutely helpless and hopeless, we sent a detailed case history, including all test results to Dr. W. Jean Dodds. Given all the data, Dr. Dodds was certain Issho was dealing with IMPA.
Issho and Hoody, the two affected puppies.
Issho waving her paw to her mommy (above left) and Hoody keeping one foot in the food dish (above right). He loved to sleep in that pan and was so sad when he couldn't fit. I felt sorry for him and got him a wreath box to put under the bowl so he could sleep in something and still keep a paw in his beloved pan.
Below, Hoody had really outgrown the puppy pan. He still wasn't deterred (below left). "Anybody gotta shoehorn?” Hoody and Gigi (another sister) on the right, "The Winos
Issho was not the only pup in the litter to be affected. At the same time her brother was also starting to show similar symptoms with strikingly similar labwork. Her litter brother was taken to Purdue University after local veterinary treatment was ineffective and he was worsening. His owners were advised by his local vet, a very 'traditional medicine' vet, not to give him the recommended supplements and the homeopathic remedies already purchased from Dr. Loops. Purdue performed many tests on him, including joint taps. At that time they would not agree with the diagnosis of IMPA and recommended another vaccination for Parvo. This was the beginning of the end for this puppy.
Hoody at 8 weeks.
Issho was seen at the vet school at UW-Madison at 13 weeks old. They reviewed all the documentation and test results and performed many other tests. All possible diseases and conditions were considered, but all were ruled out. The diagnosis of IMPA triggered by vaccination was the only remaining possibility. Unfortunately, doctors knew how these dogs died, but no one knew how to keep them alive.
So our journey began by trial and error. Issho continued having episodes several times a week, rarely going more than one week between episodes. Her episodes consisted of very high fevers, 105 to 107 degrees, vomiting, diarrhea, obvious joint pain, loss of mobility, nausea, trembling, jaw chattering, and apparent headaches. She was put on low doses of Prednisone, continuing with her customized homeopathic remedies prepared by Dr. Loops and the various supplements she had started at the onset of her illness. During an episode, Issho's Prednisone is increased and Reglan is given for nausea and vomiting. Cool baths, cooling mats, and a cooling vest are also very helpful in reducing her fever. There have many episodes when Issho required an injection of Dexamethasone to help bring the episode to an end.
Meanwhile, Issho's brother Hoody was vaccinated with a second Parvo booster. Within 48 hours Hoody was in a severe episode. He was taken to his local vet, was anesthetized and subjected to a second joint tap. This time, Purdue confirmed the diagnosis of IMPA. They recommended, NOT surprisingly, that future vaccinations be withheld. They put him on very high doses of Prednisone and Imuran to totally suppress the immune system. Hoody continued to struggle with episodes and infections. The treating vets apparently did not consider the effects of these strong drugs upon his immature stomach lining. Hoody eventually began to vomit blood and have considerable amounts of bloody diarrhea. He became so weak that he was not able to eat, drink, stand, or even raise his head. It was at that point that his loving owners ended his suffering. He was only four months old.
Issho (below) with her beloved litter-sister Gigi
on their first birthday 10-26-03.
and Issho (below) with her 11 1/2 year old house-sister, Yoshi
Issho recently celebrated her first birthday. She is extremely small, which we believe is due to her use of prednisone at such a young age. She just reached 45 lbs one month ago.
We call her our 'portable Akita', and think she has reached her full growth. Her longest period of remission is now 35 days, reached several months after her first birthday, and we hope to make that a standard and build upon that. A recent full blood panel, including thyroid was performed by Dr. W. Jean Dodds of Hemopet. The results indicated that Issho was low thyroid and in need of medication. This is unusual in a dog of her age and unprecedented as both of her parents are normal. Apparently, this disease has also affected her thyroid. Interestingly enough, another sibling once considered unaffected,
has autoimmune lymphocytic thyroiditis, diagnosed just prior to Issho's panel. Issho's immunoglobulin levels were also off. It appears that her sibling is affected after all and is receiving thyroid medication. This puppy, owned by the breeder, has also had the benefit of holistic and homeopathic support since the beginning of Issho's problems, hoping to avoid triggering a similar reaction.
We have control over some things which affect Issho’s periods of remission, and there are some things over which we have no control. We've learned that there are specific things that we know will cause an episode, such as moderate physical activity, lack of sleep, stress, and doggy junk food. Then there are those we strongly suspect are triggers, such as food additives, artificial flavoring, artificial color, and rawhide of any kind. 'Moderate physical activity' for Issho is defined as running and playing with her sister for under 5 minutes, which would be nothing for a 'normal' puppy her age. Acupuncture every 10 days or so really seems to help Issho. However, chiropractics really sent Issho into a lengthy significant episode. When Issho is not in an episode she is a very happy,
normal puppy. From her owner: "If Issho did not have extended periods of happy, carefree, playful days, I would also have to make that horrible, yet loving, decision to set her free".
We have been so blessed to have constant support from Barbara Bouyet and Dr. Jean Dodds. They have been there for Issho, her owner, and her breeder. Her owner has received tremendous emotional support and compassion as well as their technical expertise and experience. Without these two women, Issho would not be alive, let alone thriving. And thanks also go to Dr. Charles Loops for his brilliance in selecting the combinations of remedies which have so improved Issho's quality of life and given her a chance at survival.
Issho with her favorite idol, guardian angel and veterinarian, Dr. W. Jean Dodds at her seminar in Duluth. Issho was in an episode in this photo.
The following is a list of medications and supplements used to treat Issho: a low dose of Prednisone and a slightly higher dose during an episode, soy based Natural Hydrocortisone, Reglan during an episode, Tagamet with every meal, Transfer Factor to strengthen the immune system, liquid Glucosamine with chondroitin, MSM, and NAG, Sea Silver, Milk Thistle, Bromelain, Folic acid, digestive enzymes, Co Q-10, Omega Fatty Acids, Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, Boswellia, SAM-e, probiotics, and kelp. The treating vet at UW-Madison strongly suggested that Imuran NEVER be used with Issho or any Akita, and therefore we have not used it. These are the homeopathics specifically prescribed for Issho by Dr. Loops that she has used over the course of the year: two different strengths of Thuja and Silicea, two different strengths of Distemperinum and Calcarea Carbonica, Arsenicum Album, and two different strengths of Pulsatilla and Zincum. She is currently still using the higher doses of Pulsatilla and Zincum. As each course of homeopathic remedies has concluded, the owner has been in contact with Dr. Loops, who directs the next step in Issho's treatment.
Issho waiting for Mom
Over the course of this long journey (which still continues and has an unknown outcome), we have learned of several things which may have predisposed this litter of puppies to react to their vaccines. The mother of this litter received her annual vaccinations while she was in season, only days before she was bred. This was recommended by the vet and we knew it was unsafe to wait until she was carrying a litter. While she was pregnant, the breeder's next door neighbor decided to spray his fruit trees on a windy day, blowing right into the yard where the kennels were located. That fall, we learned that a Chicago area company was dumping its human septic waste, 'biosolids' as they referred to them, on the farmlands surrounding the breeder's house, and tilling them into the fields. Plans are to grow crops on those fields the following spring. Apparently this practice has been going on for four to five years without informing all of the people who live in the area.
'Biosolids' not only contain human waste but any drugs, medications, or chemicals used by that population. These waste products ultimately end up in the water table, therefore affecting the drinking water of this community that relies on wells for water. These factors listed above have been known to affect the health of newborn puppies and adults. The combination of all these factors may well have sensitized this litter to their very first vaccinations. We now believe that an Akita puppy's immune system is not mature until nearly 12 weeks old. These puppies were vaccinated at 8 weeks of age, so they were at a disadvantage to tolerate all of the environmental influences they were subjected to.
Because of the environmental events woven into this litter's history and because the Akita as a breed has a very sensitive immune system, the breeder has made several decisions regarding how she will raise any future litters she may have.
These are her precautions for the future (and perhaps they might benefit you too). There will be no vaccinations of any kind, given prior to the breeding or the birth of the litter. The mother will have had proper (core vaccines only) vaccination by the age of one year. From there, annual titers will be done. If the titers are adequate, there will be no further vaccinations other than Rabies as required by local counties. So when she has her litter, she will not be carrying any new killed OR modified live virus to damage her litter. If there is any observed spraying, spreading, etc, of ANYTHING, the prospective mother will be living in the house with only limited outdoor exposure. She will stay inside until all perceived danger has passed. The same obviously goes for when the puppies are born.
As for vaccination of the puppies, in the future they will not be available to go home until 12 weeks of age and their first vaccination will not be given until then. Akita puppies' immune systems mature late, and it is a good preventive measure to be sure the mother's immunity is starting to wear off and the puppies' immune system is up to the stress of a vaccine. We will avoid modified live vaccines at every opportunity. No vet will be allowed to give a full five-way combination vaccination to a puppy of mine. This will also be stipulated in the contracts. Vaccines must be split up, as much as possible. Lepto, Lyme, Bordatella and Coronavirus are not core vaccines and are not to be given. Lepto should be avoided in puppies (in the breeder's opinion) and should only be used in adults if there is a very high risk in their community. IF used, there should be a minimum of 4 weeks between it and any other vaccination. I also believe it is wise to dose with Benedryl about 1 hour prior to vaccination (especially lepto) and stay within contact of your clinic just in case. Lyme vaccines are not worth the risk at all. Watch the puppy for at least 30 days and report any diarrhea, fever, failure to eat, stiffness, excessive drinking
and urination as well as reluctance to play. These are all potential signs of the beginning of an IMPA reaction.
Why?... ... It's for Issho and Hoody
Issho in February, 2004
An update on Issho's condition by Issho's owner:
"Recently Issho turned 20 months old. She had to undergo multiple skin biopsies to determine the cause of the lumps which covered her torso. Unfortunately, the diagnosis came back as Calcinosis Cutis, a condition caused in Issho's case by extended use of steroids. Calcium is leached from other areas in the body and deposited in the skin. Normally this condition can be resolved by removing the cause. However, in Issho's case, removing the steroids would kill her, as her immune system would attack her. We attempted to lower her dose of Prednisone on alternating days but this was unsuccessful as the day after a lower dose, she had episodes. It was also at this time that Issho's liver worsened to the point that it seemed that euthanizing her was the only humane option as she was very sick and suffering. As we have seen time and time again, Issho somehow had the strength to pull herself out, and rallied, as she did with pneumonia at Christmas. Issho's courage and desire to live are phenomenal. She is on new homeopathic remedies to support and detoxify her liver. She was also changed to a liver cleansing diet of fish and potatoes, and the fish and potato diet from Wellness (a holistic food made by Old Mother Hubbard). These changes seem to be working. Issho is also considered to have Iatrogenic Cushing's Disease, not the true Cushing's Disease, but that caused by corticosteroid use. Eventually her skin will progress to the point that these lumps will burst and may cause infections that she cannot handle. Calcinosis Cutis can progress to the point of depositing calcium in her internal organs, compromising their function. Issho's future is uncertain, so we live for each day and try not to look too far ahead. Her episodes have become more frequent, though still usually resolving within 24 hours. She remains an absolute joy to live with and has taught us all many lessons. Issho is a teacher of love, compassion, hope, and faith. She will continue to teach us while she is here, and even when she is not. As her owner, I would again like to thank all the angels on earth who have given so much time, effort, and love for Issho's sake. We would not be where we are today without you!
With heartfelt gratitude, Lynn Drumm"
Issho, Dr. Dodds, and Lynn at Jean's seminar in IN, hosted by the Evansville Kennel Club. It was during this time that Issho set a new record of 53 days between episodes. She continues to amaze us all! 9/6/04
Dr. W. Jean Dodds (below 2 photos) with Issho, and then with Issho's grandmother Sonja, also at the Evansville Kennel Club Seminar in 2004.
10-26-04 ISSHO MAKES HISTORY BY BECOMING THE FIRST AKITA LIVING WITH IMPA TO REACH THE AGE OF 2 YEARS OLD!!!
Issho, and Yoshi, 'helping' their favorite neighbor friend at the food table
Issho, being the very social Akita that she is, had the time of her life at her 2nd birthday party. She celebrated this much anticipated day with almost all of her favorite friends, human and 4 legged. Our special angels weren't able to come because we live many states apart. Issho enjoyed all the attention, food, and gifts. No Akita with IMPA has survived to this age, so it was a very monumental and joyful time. Issho's 2 litter sisters are doing very well, and remain unaffected by IMPA so far, with the exception of the thyroid issue with the one sister.
Issho is still on a liver cleansing diet of whitefish and sweet and regular potatoes. She loves her food! Raspberries or blueberries are also in each morning meal and veggies in her evening meal. Issho remains on the large amount of vitamins, supplements, and herbs; and the smaller amount of traditional medication. She is on her 4th potency strength of Natrum Sulphuricum and Chelidonium, homeopathic remedies prescribed by Dr. Charles Loops.
Issho continues to have calcinosis cutis skin eruptions, caused by the extended use of prednisone needed to keep her alive. So far the process of the disease has been moderate, affecting her body, neck, and tail, and so far sparing her head and legs. The nodules of calcium break open and scab over quickly, unfortunately when the scabs fall off, so does her fur. She has lost a great deal of fur and in order to stay warm, she now needs to wear a lightweight dog shirt in the house and a fleece jacket for our frigid WI winters.
In 2004, Issho had a total of 40 IMPA episodes, which includes the horrible month of June when she had a very severe and lengthy episode most likely brought on by drinking well water from the kitchen tap at a friend's house. One noteworthy change regarding episodes, we decided this fall to give Issho a dexamethasone injection at the beginning of a gastrointestinal episode, rather than increasing the prednisone, as the dexamethasone is much more effective; and the prednisone was vomited anyway. We had to weigh the consequences of giving the very potent dexamethasone with the physical toll of an episode on Issho. We decided that it was less 'costly' on Issho to use the dexamethasone than it was to have her suffer through an episode of vomiting, diarrhea, high fevers, and loss of mobility. This change has helped Issho to get through an episode much quicker and back to her normal self within a few hours vs. an entire day of being sick and then recouping time needed the following day. Injectible Reglan is also kept on hand and given sub-Q during a gastrointestinal episode. Issho has never received another vaccine, after the initial puppy vaccine which triggered this rollercoaster. Issho remains a very happy, energetic, and joyful 'mini Akita'!!!
Updated by Lynn Drumm 2/8/05
Issho in February 2005 (above)
Issho is now 2 3/4 yrs. old! She's looking forward to her 3rd birthday in the fall. Issho's hoping for an even larger party this year, with more food, treats, and friends! (A girl has to dream!) Her health is quite consistent, a few IMPA episodes a month. She's lost even more fur due to the advancing calcinosis cutis. She's thrilled that 'her' raspberry patch is full again, and she's even taught the new puppies how to pick the best berries. Issho's also been caught inside the fenced-in garden, enjoying a veggie buffet of cucumbers and tomatoes! There's a few more 'sisters' to play with these days. A new long-coat Akita puppy has joined our family; and Cathy Pollack and I co-own two Finnish Lapphunds. It's a little more hectic around here but the girls all get along wonderfully, which is so helpful. Thanks for checking up on Issho's progress!
L-R: Haalia (18 week old Finnish Lapphund), Yoshi (12 1/2 yr. old Akita),
Amasa (9 week old longcoat Akita), I
The Final Chapter
It is with profound sadness and utter devastation that I'm writing today to let you know about Issho. She died in my arms on Monday morning at 8:25 a.m., October 17, 2005, nine days short of her 3rd birthday. I was there and watched her the day she was born into this world and I was there the day she left it. I loved her beyond words, EVERY day of the 1086 days she lived. I never left Issho for even one of those days. It was a promise I made to her and vowed I'd keep, no matter what.
Issho made it through the BilJac treat incident, which almost cost her her life. Within days, she ate, she played, she was my happy Issho again. What we believe caused the beginning of the end for her was being off a strong antibiotic for one day, after being on it for 18 days; and then the change of antibiotics. The new antibiotic caused Issho to go anorexic. The result of that was dangerously low protein and albumin in her body. I cooked, pureed, and syringe fed her for days. The rich prescription canned food provided the high calories and high protein that she desperately needed. However, there was another cost to her. Because it was too rich for her, she had her 2nd bout of explosive bloody diarrhea. And this caused her to go to a place from which I could not bring her back. The low protein and albumin just weren't sufficient enough to keep the IV fluids in her veins, so they slowly leaked out of her veins and into her body. Her amazing strength and will to live that she demonstrated all of her life, was as present then as it was during any other struggle.
My vet was available to us all weekend and she saw Issho on Saturday. Issho was slowly losing her battle and was having trouble keeping the veins good/open for her IV. Yet she looked pretty good Sunday night. I spent most of the night on the floor with Issho, talking to her, petting her, and telling her how much I loved her and how proud I was of her. Early Monday morning it was clear it was time for Issho to leave. My vet was supposed to give Issho a blood support product Monday but that was not to be. I called her early at home, saying that Issho needed help leaving. She left immediately to meet us. Thankfully Cathy (my friend and Issho's breeder) was here to drive us to the vet clinic. Issho died in my arms seconds before walking out of my door.
Issho taught us many things. She taught the veterinary community many things. Her life taught more about vaccine induced Immune Mediated Polyarthritis (IMPA) than was ever known before. She was able to help other dogs in this country as well as other dogs in Europe. Her valuable information will help other Akitas. She remains the longest surviving Akita living with active IMPA. Issho will continue to teach even through her death. Issho taught me more about love, commitment, sacrifice, and diligence than I ever could've imagined. She made my heart grow.
Issho lived a very happy, playful, and loving life. She loved running and playing with her dog family. She loved her dollies that made music. She loved chasing Millie, "her" cat. She loved car rides. She loved her special treats. Issho loved LIFE. Her illness, though significant, only encompassed a small fraction of her life. Having the injectible medicines at home, I was able to stop an IMPA episode within a few hours.
Yoshi (my 13 year old Akita) knows that Issho is gone. We had a talk as I was holding Issho before we left. Millie seems to be the most affected pet with the loss of Issho. She has decided to make Amasa, my 5 month old long-coat Akita, "her" dog. I'm sure they will run and tear through the house as Issho and Millie did. Issho's grandma Sonja is coming today and I'm sure she will be upset by Issho's absence. Sonja was responsible for teaching all the puppies about Akita manners. They were together every other weekend. She will notice.
Issho fought one hell of a battle against this damned, unfair, cruel disease. I am SO proud of her. Her courage and immense will to live and conquer were nothing short of admirable. Issho was a warrior, she was a leader. Issho now joins her brother Hoody who died of IMPA at 4 months old. They will have each other.
I'm not quite sure what to do with myself now without Issho. My every day was filled with thoughts about her, making her special foods, researching anything that could help her, charting her daily information, doing anything I could do to support her, as well as supporting my other pets. Issho was my heart and soul. I will miss her tremendously the rest of my life. She was the best gift I ever received in my life. She was my 'peanut'. Her soul is now free of her body and this disease. I am grateful for that. I am grateful for her life.
It's been a great 3 years with you, Issho. I'll be watching for you, just as I promised.
I heard this song yesterday and it kind of sums up my feelings for Issho and our relationship.
Got It', by
Lynn (Drumm, Issho's very proud, forever mama)
Issho's litter-sister Gigi passed away on December 16, 2005-- just 8 weeks
after Issho passed. And Yoshi, Issho's constant companion and
house-sister, joined Issho on January 5, 2006 at age 13 years, just 11
weeks after Issho passed away. Sonja, 12 1/2 years old, best friend to
Yoshi and Issho, and Issho's maternal grandmother, took their loss very
hard. She was never the same. She joined them 4 months later, on May
31, 2006. They are reunited now.
For more information on the Akita breed, sensitivities, environmental and genetic issues, the book Akita: Treasure of Japan Vol. II , by Barbara Bouyet is available.
If you would like to make a donation to Hemopet, where Dr. Dodds continues to do her valuable work, go to http://www.itsfortheanimals.com/HEMOPET.HTM
If you suspect your Akita is suffering from IMPA and you need to obtain homeopathic assistance/consultation from a veterinarian who specializes in vaccine reactions like this, contact Dr. Charles Loops.