In Our House, by K.M.

As of this writing, the Ebola virus has done enough damage to spread fear throughout the globe. There have already been many books written on the horrors this virus brings. In the blink of an eye everyday concerns are pushed back and replaced by fear of the unknown. Being afraid can be a very good thing, unless we let that fear take hold. The resulting panic does nothing but create its own problems.

In the simplest words, Ebola is a virus that burns through your body at an alarming rate. As the beginning, symptoms of headache, fever, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea take hold; then, it progresses to bleeding out of all orifices and patches on the skin, and it can lead to death very quickly. Not much is known about this virus, because when it does pop up it usually burns itself out because of its severity. It has kept the “experts” from having enough victims to really study the virus’s ins and outs. Since it is a virus, no antibiotic is going to touch it. No known medicine can treat the virus itself. About the only thing to be done for a victim is to treat the symptoms and make them as comfortable as possible. Dehydration seems to be the biggest factor leading to death.

Because everything is a guessing game at this point as to what to do to treat such a terrifying virus, I’ve chosen to look at another “death sentence” virus that my family has had to deal with quite recently. This virus was not within our people but within our canine friends. The name of this virus is Parvo. It has all of the symptoms of Ebola, minus the bleeding out scenario. Its usual cause of death is severe dehydration. I want to share our experience with this virus, what we did, and how things turned out.

Parvo is a disease that canines get. There is a vaccine that was developed and is part of the usual 7-1 or 9-1 vaccines given to our pets. If you have ever heard of this disease, you know it commands as much fear in pet owners as the Ebola virus does in humanity. While adult dogs can get this virus and possibly survive, it’s almost a sure killer in puppies. It comes on fast, and there seems to be nothing you can do about it. What’s worse is that once your property has been infected, it can stay in the surrounding soil for up to ten years. It can be brought in by anyone or any animal that has been exposed to an infected area.

Our lovely Labradoodle had nine puppies. She had been vaccinated, but we had two adult dogs in the house that had not. At some point, we must have tracked in the virus, because our dogs never leave the property.

When the puppies were six weeks old, they were healthy, bouncy, and incredibly cute. My children fell in love with all of them. I was constantly on them to not handle them too much. We noticed a couple of them acting a little lethargic. They developed diarrhea and started vomiting. Then, they stopped nursing. Within two short days, they went from healthy to very sick. By the end of day two, even after separating the “sick ones,” four puppies had died.

It was at this point we noticed my daughter’s three year old dog was not feeling well. We immediately took her dog, Lucky, to the vet. I suspected what was wrong but was devastated to have it confirmed by the tests. Lucky did indeed have Parvo. We also had another puppy at home who was greatly suffering from the same symptoms as the other puppies that we lost. The remaining puppies were starting to show symptoms– the vomiting and diarrhea.

Our vet tried very hard to try to stay positive, but both my daughter and I knew what to expect. Lucky was treated in the vet’s office with saline under the skin and a shot of antibiotics. We were sent home with enough saline and antibiotics to treat both Lucky and the sickest puppy at home for three days. It certainly didn’t help keep things “positive” when the vet had us leave by the back door and we were asked to not touch anything on our way out.

Before we had been able to get into the vet, I had begun searching online for any home remedies available to help treat Parvo, since I suspected that’s what we were dealing with. There is a product called ParvAid that was available, but no one within a fifty mile radius (I gave up after that) had it available. I could have bought it online, but it wasn’t going to get here fast enough. It was also very expensive, especially when we would have to treat all of the remaining puppies as well as the other dogs.

I did, however, discover a “support tea” that was to be used in conjunction with the ParvAid. Since I had all of the ingredients in the house, I made up the tea, and we started administering it to all of the dogs. I felt if nothing else, it would help keep them hydrated.

We started the treatment by giving each puppy one teaspoon of tea every hour. The sickest puppy had a hard time keeping anything down, so for him we dropped it to 1/2 of a teaspoon every half hour. While I was able to keep up on the antibiotic shots, I wasn’t able to do the saline treatment. I’m a mom, not a vet. While I knew how important it was to keep the puppy and Lucky hydrated, they had other ideas. The only thing we could do was keep the tea treatment going.

After the first batch of tea, I tweaked the recipe a little, because I had discovered what the ingredients in the ParvAid were. None of the dogs or puppies were too happy about it at first, but we were able to get the tea in them at regular intervals.

Within less than 24 hours, we noticed a small improvement in the puppy. The vomiting stopped, and the diarrhea lessened. Lucky seemed a bit perkier but was still not eating. The remaining puppies stayed the same. By the second day of treatment, the puppy was doing much better and was trying to nurse. Lucky had a little to eat and showed no signs of sickness. The remaining puppies weren’t acting any different and seemed to be going back to their bouncy selves. We dropped the every hour treatment to every 2-3 hours. With the other puppies and older dogs we dropped the treatment to four times a day.

I will never know for sure if the tea was what pulled them through. We were doing a lot of praying throughout this time. Maybe it was just the fact that we were forcing fluids, so dehydration didn’t set in. What I can say for sure is all of the puppies survived, and no other dogs got sick.

Every ingredient in the tea is available OTC. It is easy to make and doesn’t taste too bad. If you are into alternative medicines, you already have everything needed. Because of this experience, I’m making sure I have plenty on hand in case my family is ever exposed to any kind of virus. We experienced a small miracle in this house with the turn-around from death’s door (in the case of the sickest puppy) to our wonderful pet not only surviving but since thriving.

As I said before, I’m just a mom, not a doctor. I have no “real” experience in the medical field. This article is to inform you about what happened with us. There are no guarantees this will work against the Ebola virus or any other, for that matter. Take this information and do with it what you will. I consider it a blessing that I had the ability to research online to gain the information I did. There may come a time when the ease of research may not be there. My hope is this might help someone someday.

If nothing else, it gave us a chance to do something. While exhausting, there was a small sense of control in an otherwise chaotic situation. Instead of throwing our hands in the air because we were faced with a “death sentence” virus, we had something tangible that we could try. I can only imagine what it would be like to be dealing with something as horrible with my children as what was happening with our pets. It was a small taste of how fast things can get desperate.

If our healthcare system gets hit with an Ebola outbreak here in the United States, panic will take hold. These ingredients may not be available in a very short period of time. Or because of travel restrictions, we may not be able to run to the store and get them. Should you think this is something you would like to try if there is ever a need, I suggest getting the ingredients now to have on hand. Personally, if there is any kind of a viral outbreak, we will be starting a preventative treatment. I don’t believe there is anything in this tea that will hurt us, and it just might help in ways we can’t conceive. The ingredients and directions follow. I have changed some of the amounts and ingredients from the original tea. Please note I haven’t had to try this on my family, so I have no personal experience to draw on for the amounts needed for possible prevention or treatment. It is just a guess, based on what worked with the puppies and adjusted accordingly.

May God bless all of us through these uncertain and frightening times.

Oatmeal Water: Boil eight cups of water. Add 1 cup of oatmeal, 1 tsp salt, and ¼ cup maple syrup or honey. (Do Not use honey, if giving to a baby under two years old.) Turn off heat, cover, and allow to sit for twenty minutes. Strain through cheesecloth.

Re-heat the strained oatmeal water to an almost boiling point. Then add:

  • *1 Tbls. or 3 bags mint tea. Peppermint, spearmint, or whatever you have on hand
  • *1 Tbls. or 3 bags chamomile tea.
  • 4 echinacea capsules, contents removed from casing. Throw empty capsules away
  • ½ cup maple syrup, pancake syrup, or honey. (See warning about honey above.)
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 Tbls. minced fresh ginger (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. willow bark, for fever (Skip this ingredient if you are using the tea as a preventative or you’re able to administer OTC meds for fever)

Stir everything together and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Strain through a cloth to remove any solids.

As a preventative: 2 Tbls. 3-4 times a day.

As a treatment: A small amount, as often as able.