Wordsworth's Story of Distemper Survival

Update: Wordsworth is now doing better than anyone would believe. He is up to 5.15kgs he is taller than my dog Luna, he has boundless energy, he is picking up new training quickly and loves going out hiking. Now all we need is a forever home. Thanks for all your donations and best wishes for him, you helped save his life.

Wordsworth is a 6 month old Shih Tzu puppy who was rescued after being brought into Daegu's KAPS shelter. This puppy has endured quite a roller coaster of a ride in the first two months out of the shelter.

He was diagnosed in November with Distemper. He seemed to be recovering from that when he contracted the Corona virus. He recovered from Corona quickly but it seemed to bring a resurgence of the Distemper. During this time he had two 3 day stints at the vets, there were several occasions he was so sick the possibility of euthanasia was discussed. Luckily at the beginning of January he seemed to turn a corner.

The vet feels confident that he will make a good recovery. He will probably always have a twitch on his nose, and he might be a bit wobbly on his feet sometimes. These are side effects left over from the early neurological signs of distemper he displayed. In the future these side effects may display more obviously if he is tired or sick. However other than that he should be totally fine.

This fundraiser is to help cover the costs of his vet bills and recovery.

This link will give you more information about the disease:

Here is the current Vet Cost:


  • 90,000w - Distemper/Canine Flu test (there was a discount on that; she also did a Distemper only test for free)
  • 180,000w - Three days at the vets with the intensive medicine @ 60,000w a day (also discounted by 10,000w a day for us)

Subtotal: 270,000w then of course the VAT added (thanks government) of 27,000w = 297,000w


  • 45,000w - Parvo/Corona test (December 13th)
  • 120,000w - 40,000w a day for his vet stay for three days (December)
  • 34,000w - Anti Convulsion medicine (December 22nd)
  • 34,000w - Anti Convulsion Medicine (December 30th)
  • 31,000w - Medicine for the sniffles (January 8th)


Thanks so much to Ms MacNair, Ms Tilley, Ms/Mr Mark, Ms Douglas, Ms Horobin, Mr McReynolds, Ms Nuce and her family, Mark, Ms Franer and Ms Price-Jones for their donations. In total we have recieved 430,000w in donations. All donations are very gratefully received, thank you so much. Your support through Wordsworth's ordeal has kept us both going.

560,000 - 430,000 = 130,000 won

Donating by Paypal
My email should allow you to donate through Paypal: [email protected]

Donating by Bank Transfer
If you live in Korea you can donate by bank transfer to:
Daegu Bank, 096-13-152208, Emma Thompson

* but please email me at the above address if you do so I can make sure your money goes direct to him.

This is Wordsworth's profile which will be used to try and find him a forever home.

This video is Wordsworth at the vet visit when he was diagnosed with Distemper. As puppies rarely survive Distemper there was a question as to whether or not to put him down right there and then. However as you can see he was so active the vet felt we had caught it early and he would be OK.

This video shows Wordsworth's twitch at it's worst.

Wordsworth is now doing very well, he has lots of energy and a very healthy appetite. I am getting started on his training again and he will hopefully make a full recovery. He is ready to find his forever home.

Tags: distemper, fundraiser, KAPS


clare_bell's picture

Poor baby :(
Any updates on how he is doing? And have you received any donations yet?

emmat191's picture

Thanks Clare, yes he is doing much better thanks. The vet is hopeful for a full recovery. He still has a cough and sneezes, but in terms of personality he is very much more like the puppy he should be. Fingers crossed.

emmat191's picture

Wordsworth is still doing well. His cough is minimal and no sign of the other cold symptoms that go with Distemper. But I can't find a food he likes. I am guessing he has been fed Korean food. He enjoys dog food, once. He will wolf down the dry food the first time he has it. Then he doesn't want it again!! Expensive. Even with wet food he likes it once or twice then gets bored. Let me know if anyone has any ideas. I want to make sure he is eating so he can fight the disease so it is quite important.

marlajoy's picture

You may have to do a little force feeding - it's not usually hard with a dog - just open up their mouth and smear some wet food or blended food on the roof of their mouth. They will swallow it. Then repeat. I've had to do that a few times. But obviously check with the vet before forcing anything on Wordsworth that he doesn't want. Maybe he has other internal problems or some sort of obstruction and there is good reason for his not eating.

emmat191's picture

Wordsworth is not doing well at all. I suspect that the Corona gave his little immune system too much extra work and allowed the distemper to really take hold. His distempter symptoms have come back much worse. With a terrible runny nose and sniffles but more worryingly a real depression and listlessness. He spends most of his time sleeping, which hopefully means his body is fixing him but the situation is far from ideal.
He is still on medicine from the vet and I will keep a close eye on him. Fingers crossed he will make a recovery. Thanks so much f9r all your well wishes.

marlajoy's picture

oh no! Poor sweetie! I hope he pulls through!

emmat191's picture

And in the continuing saga of the wee Woz man (seriously I think he is trying to do me in!) he has perked up considerably today! Even barked at me this morning. Finally found some food he wanted to eat (only 6 cans of opened dog food in my house now!) and he wolfed down 1/2 a can at lunch time. I like this forward progress.

marlajoy's picture

Gosh that's wonderful news!! :) Here's hoping you have even better news to share tomorrow! :)

emmat191's picture

Wozzy and I went to the vet yesterday. Although she initially started out very positive she noticed a strange twitch. I had thought it was just him sniffing so had gone back for more medicine but she thinks it might be the start of the neurological signs of distemper.
She has given us anti-convulsants in the hope that they will hold back or stop any seizures. But we can't be sure what the twitch is until he gets better, or worse. If the neurological signs set in then there isn't really anything further to do. He will either die from seizures or be put down. Hopefully it's just a weird twitch. Seems like if it's not one thing it's something else these days.
Anyway, here is a video of his twitch.

marlajoy's picture

How's the little guy doing?! Any changes?

emmat191's picture

Hi Everyone,
Here is the newest video of Wordsworth:

As you can see he is not doing great. His 'tick' is now much more pronounced. We are going to the vet tomorrow, but to be honest I think we might be going to get him put down. He is hardly sleeping because the tick wakes him up so often. Also he has started getting pains that cause him to yelp, it doesn't last more than a few seconds but it can't be good. Altogether his quality of life is not great. We can continue to medicate him on anti-convulsants, but they will be less and less effective.
Anyways, off to the vet tomorrow and we will see what she suggests.
I'm sorry it's not better news.

marlajoy's picture

Oh no! Poor baby! I have seen animals die 'naturally' from distemper and it's really not pretty. It's obviously entirely up to you and the vet to do what you think is right but I think your feeling that it might be time to put him down might be wise. To this day, I am still haunted by images of the animals that died from distemper on our farm. Poor little Wordsworth deserves to go in peace.

emmat191's picture

The wee man is still with us. I visited the vet on Monday and she wants to try one more round of medicine. It's still very much wait and see and she isn't really very optimistic. I think she just doesn't want me crying my eyes out in public again :) Anyway, for now he is loud (seriously, barks often) and proud with a terrible new haircut the vet gave him.

emmat191's picture

Shhhhhh, don't say anything, I don't want to jinx it!

He actually started yapping wanting to be let down!!

However he did wake me up at 5am this morning barking up a storm. Got no manners. I guess it's time to start training again.

emmat191's picture

Out for a walk on Friday. We walked Friday, Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday he managed nearly 10 minutes on and off and still had energy to burn.
Problem is he seems to be dying from starvation. I have wormed him but I am going to get more from the vet Tuesday, although he has no other signs of parasites. I guess maybe his body finally realised he hadn't been eating enough for a growing boy and decided to catch up. Unfortunately for me that means wake up barking twice a night for more food!! Planning on putting out loads of dry food tonight in the hope that he can make it through the night!
Worst manners ever! He wants to be the centre of attention, the moment I try to lavish some attention on Luna he is there butting in. And if he doesn't get it barking ensues. Think we are back to training time!

emmat191's picture

Loads of dry food in the bowl and he made it through the night without barking. Success!! He also had a longer walk yesterday and really enjoyed it, giving him energy to spare dragging my slipper around this morning! Off to the vet tonight for an update.

emmat191's picture

Wordsworth is doing well. He had his first haircut and will be on holiday from 21st Jan-7th Feb. Hopefully when I return he will be healthy enough to start his vaccinations.

Check out his new style!

emmat191's picture

Wordsworth is doing really well. He has grown quite a bit while I was away and has lots of energy and a great appetite. The next steps are Vaccinations and Neutering. I want to make sure that Wozzy goes to a new home healthy so I have decided to keep him until his vaccinations and neutering are complete, we will continue the search for his forever home and he will be reserved if such a home becomes available.
We are off to the vet next week and I will let you know exactly how much bigger he is then! I will also be able to tell you the kinds of time scales we are looking at for availability.
Thank you so much to everyone who has donated. All of your funds really have kept him alive. I am still surprised he did survive, but very glad. We now have a great bundle of fluff and insanity who is going to be a fantastic dog for someone.

Karen's picture

Are you still collecting money for Wordsworth? I can't tell if the 400,000won (cited in the main post) is the current total for your donations received or an old total...

It's great to hear about all his progress!

emmat191's picture

Yep, Still collecting, sorry I have been away. I will update now. Money will now go towards his vaccination and neutering.