Sometimes in life we end up in exactly the right place, at the right time, know the right people, and have the right knowledge to work through a situation.
Here is an amazing story of how Rico missed his appointment with death and now is well on his way to full recovery.
Rico is a dog. He is a black Labrador mix. He is 8 years old and has spent most of his life working as a fund raiser demonstration of helping dogs. A helping dog is one that helps people out. The most familiar is the seeing eye dog that blind people use. There are also other highly trained dogs that help people in a variety of ways. Some are trained to recognize seizures. When their owner has a seizure, the dog will press a button to summon help. Others are trained to help in life's day to day chores. Someone with tremors and also a loss of mobility may drop some change when they are paying for a purchase. The helper dogs can pick up penny's, dimes, nickles, and quarters off of the floor and hand them back to the person that dropped them. They can also assist in removing shoes, coats and even pants.
Rico is trained in all of this, and has gone around raising awareness for these highly trained dogs and raising money for various charities. Rico has been on television, written up in magazines, and has raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity. He has visited people in the hospital and people in assisted living communities.
However, Rico has a problem...
Rico has had re-occurring ear infections for seven and a half of his eight years of life. He has medical records exceeding 25 pages, and almost all of that has to do with various treatments done to fight his ear infections. Almost everything has been tried, and nothing seems to work.
As this infection works down into the ear, it destroys the ear drum, and then dissolves the bones that allow the dog to maintain his balance. Usually, when the dog develops vertigo, he is put down.
Cultures were done on Rico's ears and he was diagnosed with an underlying yeast infection, but the bad infection was caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria. This bacteria is a gram negative, aerobic, bacteria that lives in moist places and unless it is controlled, it can be fatal. It is also one of the most difficult bacteria to kill of with antibiotics, and it seems to become antibiotic resistant in many cases.
This is what happened in Rico's case. About a month ago he came down with another ear infection. He was administered three rounds of oral antibiotics combined with having his ears packed with topical antibiotics. This packing has a consistency of lard and gradually releases the antibiotics as it gradually melts in the ear.
After the first two rounds of antibiotics, Rico went in for a check up. The vet said that it looked like "a sewer" in his ears. There was dark brown sludge dripping out of his ears and a very unpleasant odor. The vet decided to flush Rico's ears and to take a camera and have a look inside. The observations were grim. Rico's ears were bleeding, pus-filled, and his ear drums were "shredded."
The vet packed Rico's ears again and the note on his chart said that most likely Rico would not survive treatment, but the vet would like to see Rico in two weeks, if he was still living.
Kathy, Rico's owner, was devastated. She was unable to sleep for several days, and she started to loose hope. This battle had been going on for over seven years, and it looked like the end was near.
This is where I come in...
As you know, I have been doing a lot of research on sodium chlorite and acidified sodium chlorite solutions. We have a small group of people that are trying various combination's and we are all trying to understand how this stuff works. Well, it seems that my reputation has spread a little, and Kathy was talking with a friend who told her to contact me.
I get this phone call asking if we could meet and discuss Rico's ear infection. I agreed, met Rico and had a long chat with Kathy. I did not fully grasp that Rico wasn't expected to live more than a few days to a week during this first meeting, and I popped into Science mode and began wondering what the best thing I could do would be, or what assistance I could offer Kathy and Rico.
I told Kathy that there were no guarantees, that I was not a medical professional, and that I know basically next to nothing about dogs ears. I do understand chemicals and chemistry, and I told her I could come up with a "best guess" and train her how to work with the chemicals.
She gave me the details of Rico's infection and told me that this last ear packing was not working. Rico was slapping at his ears and his energy levels were low. His ears were hot, and this is not a good sign in dogs. I noted an overwhelming sense of despair in Kathy, and told her to give me a little time to check some things out and I would get back to her the next day.
I did some research on this infection and became aware of how serious it was. Rico was living on borrowed time. As soon as the infection effected his balance, Kathy was going to have him put down. Nothing was working and the infection was spreading.
Rico weighed 93 pounds. I decided that the best course of action would be to mix up a little stronger dose and start attacking this bacteria orally, while the packing was in his ears. Once the packing came out of his ears, we would move to topical treatment, and I thought that would work, if we could get there in time.
One of our group recently had a mishap when handling the 28% solution of sodium chlorite. He flipped the nozzle back, then reached up, on reflex, to wipe a piece of dust from his eye. Instant irritation and discomfort occurred. Fortunately, we were near an eye wash station, so we flushed his eye out and no damage was done.
In spite of our strict policies for handling this solution, we had a mishap. I decided to stop working with the 28% solution and dilute it down to a much safer 5% solution. You can do everything with a 5% solution that you can do with a 28% solution, it just takes a little more, and the 5% solution is much safer to handle and work with.
Kathy had picked up a bottle of Miracle-Mineral-Supplement . The first thing we did was dilute it down to a 5% solution. The last thing she needed was to inflict a chemical burn on her skin or eyes, or on her dogs skin or eyes. She has three dogs, so her house is quite busy.
The next day we started on Rico. We gave him drinking water that had a concentration of 5 PPM free chlorine dioxide in it. He drank it on command, but didn't like it. I decided that it would be better to drop the concentration down so he would be willing to drink a lot of it. We adjusted the concentration down to about 1 PPM free chlorine dioxide. He drank this without any protest.
The next day Kathy called and told me that some of the packing was working its way out, and behind it was this shoe polish brown sludge that indicated that the infection was growing underneath the antibiotic packing.
I, once again, reminded her that I had no medical training, but I did look up the bacteria involved in the infection and I explained to her that it had a CT of 5, which was very low. This means that a 5 PPM chlorine dioxide solution would kill it off, in a petri dish, in one minute. I felt that if we could get to the point where we were topically treating the ears, we could stop this bacterial infection.
She decided to work at getting the packing out and decided to put her faith in me and the chlorine dioxide solution.
Thursday night was the first treatment in Rico's ears. We were using a solution with 60 PPM free chlorine dioxide poured into the ear and worked around there for 60 seconds. Then the other ear was treated the same way.
There was still gunk from the packing coming out, but I felt the treatments were going well.
I discovered a paper that used something similar on the same antibiotic resistant bacteria and they had a 50% success rate over 14 days of treatment. They were using a 0.2% sodium chlorite solution activated 1:1 with 1.2% citric acid . I mixed some of this up to do some testing on it, and had some unexpected results. The activation was taking a long time, and the resultant chlorous acid solution had a lower PH than what I though it should be.
A phone call to Bruce at BioSafe helped me figure out what was going on. Bruce is one of the leading authorities on Acidified Sodium Chlorite solutions, in the world. His efforts in educating me are greatly appreciated.
If you read this Bruce; Kathy, Rico and I thank you for your help.
Kathy continued with the ear treatments and in another couple of days, Rico's ears seem to have cleared up.
Kathy was meeting with friends and was chatting away when suddenly one of her friends stopped her and told her that Rico was responding to his name. He could hear.
Kathy called me and we decided that it was time to go back to the vet and see where we were. She had called one of the vets that had done the study I found for her and we were able to actually find a commercial product. When she called a supply house, she was informed that it had only been out for about a year and was a fast mover.
I then called Alcide to see if there had been any progress on this product and was told that the study was never to have been published. It seems that they don't have the proper listings to have it used as a medicine. They use their products in food processing, but not as a medicine.
Digging a little further we found that Frontier Pharmaceutical, and Stone Manufacturing both offer similar products. In addition, I discovered that the solution from Frontier had 20 PPM chlorine dioxide. My "wild guess" at using 60 PPM wasn't that far off.
Kathy and I arrived at the vet and Kathy said that she wasn't going to talk until the vet checked Rico's ears. He did, then we talked. She told him the story and I explained the chemistry. I told him that it seemed that things were clearing up, but I am not trained in medicine and did not know what to do next.
The vet looked at the paper work we provided detailing Rico's whole course of treatment, looked at the paper showing the results the other vets had using a similar product, and proceeded to explain in detail how this ear infection progresses.
He then said that when he looked in Rico's ears he say pink healthy tissue, no signs of irritation, and Rico's ear drums were starting to heal. There was no sign of infection.
He was very impressed and spent an hour with us talking about what we had done. In the end he told us to continue with the twice a day treatment for another two weeks, and then to bring Rico back in for a check up.
At this point I asked if we should cut the strength of the solution in half, and he told me no. There is no sign of irritation, and it is very important to eliminate all the bacteria from the other side of the ear drum. If the ear drum heals and there is bacteria behind it, there will be problems. Since there is no sign of irritation, we should continue at the same strength, just to make sure all of the bacteria get killed.
The vet did not think that the oral dose would do much of anything, so we stopped giving Rico that.
I did give Kathy the formula for a mouthwash solution and she is using that on Rico's teeth, so we haven't completely stopped oral treatment.
That was a couple of days ago. I got a call from Kathy saying that Rico is romping a playing and his hearing is coming back. She went to the store and got him an obnoxious squeaky toy, and he is having a ball playing with it and making noise all over the place. Kathy may begin to regret that, but she is on cloud nine and is quite willing to put up with a little noise.
Wow, what an experience. Seven and a half years of fighting this ear infection and continuing to loose, time after time. Pictures showing the severity of the infection and the shredded ear drums. And finally the exam that shows things completely turned around. We are hoping that the vet will take some pictures at the next visit so we can have before and after comparisons. Rico is a completely changed dog. He is romping and playing and his energy levels have increased off the chart. Kathy said that she did not realize how much this infection slowed him down.
In about three days we went from a prognosis of death to the beginning of Rico having his hearing restored. The vet had tried everything he could and had basically given up. When shown what we did, he just kept smiling and smiling.
This is not a cure all for all ear infections. There are a lot of cases where the bacteria and yeast infections respond to antibiotics. However, if you run out of options and are facing death, it is worth taking a chance on an alternative treatment, and in this case it worked very well.