May 24, 2015: The Jelly Update!

For a dog at death’s door, my 16 year old pug Jelly has been doing pretty well.  In fact, ever since we brought her back home to die last Friday after receiving a hopeless diagnosis from two local vets, she’s been as animated as ever.  In fact, I’d be so bold as to say she bounced back – if not for the test results that point to kidney failure and antibiotic resistant E coli coursing through her system.  Euthanasia was recommended and I was fully prepared to follow this advice, treating my girl to one final weekend of muffins, ice cream and some of the 60 day old dry-aged steak I had for dinner the other night.  Except…the following morning, she was up and alert.  Her appetite had returned.  And she was as cantankerous as ever.  So I decided to hold off…temporarily…

A little over five years ago, Jelly all but stopped walking.  It turned out her hip dysplasia had progressed to the point where she was no longer capable of supporting herself.  Euthanasia was recommended.  Over five years ago!  I considered my options, then generated some new ones by going online and discovering the marvels of stem cell treatments.  They’ve been seeing some surprising results with this procedure – in Europe – a procedure that involves extracting the body’s stem cells (from belly fat which apparently has the highest concentration of the stuff), shipping them to a lab where they are spun in a centrifuge, then shipped back and injected into the problem areas: in Jelly’s case, her arthritic joints and eroded hips.  I contacted this company (, took Jelly in for a consult (where I was told results varied so not to expect too much), and had her undergo the treatment.  A couple of weeks later, she was back on her paws  – wobbly, mind you, but once again able to support herself.

So, faced with a similar dire situation, I once again turned to the one place that had helped me in the past: the internet.  And there, I discovered a possible cure for presumably untreatable antibiotic-resistant infections: phage therapy.

I read this article about a woman who had been given a “you’ve got an untreatable antibiotic-resistant infection so prepare to die” diagnosis:

Instead of packing up her belongings and resigning herself to certain death, she packed up her belongings and headed to Europe where phage therapy has been used for over a decade with great success.  She underwent the treatment and was miraculously (?) cured of her incurable infection.

From the aforementioned article:

“Bacteriophages (“bacteria eaters”), commonly called phages, are viruses that infect bacteria but not humans. Found in water, soil, and even your digestive tract, phages dwell wherever bacteria are found because they rely on them to reproduce. (Find out how what you eat affects your gut bacteria.) They drill through a bacterium’s surface, hijack its DNA, and then replicate themselves within it until the cell bursts. Cocktails of phage viruses can kill a bacterial infection in the human body with remarkable accuracy, taking out only the infiltrators and leaving important populations of “good” bacteria intact—unlike the blunt tool of antibiotics, which tend to wipe out a wide swath of good bugs and bad.”

Apparently, it’s been researched for a while here in North America with very positive results:

But, of course, the FDA (in the U.S.) and Health Canada (here) have yet to make this treatment readily available.  Why?  Rose-tinted glasses-wearing observers will argue it’s because they’re being very careful.  Cvidently, a decade of positive results in Europe isn’t quite enough for them.

Anyway, I dispatched some emails this weekend and made some inquiries.  The wheels are in motion to get Jelly the treatment.

Maybe we’ll see a miracle bounce back like we did the last time everyone else wrote her off.  Or maybe we won’t.  But at the very least, we’ll have TRULY exhausted our options.

May 24, 2015: The Jelly Update!

38 thoughts on “May 24, 2015: The Jelly Update!

  1. Very glad to hear that Jelly is back to her usual self. I hope Jelly gets the proper treatment as soon as she can.

  2. Awww what a sweet face she has, love the hat. Joe, you are so connected with your pups, you’ll know when it’s time. Jelly has the spirit of a warrior. God bless you all. Hugs.

  3. Keeping my fingers crossed for Jelly-girl! I’ll keep reading for the results!

    My girl is doing ok. She’s been on the Sub-Q fluids now 5 days and her energy level is somewhat better. Her appetite is still hit-or-miss. So today in my meditation, I made it very clear that we’re all here to help her since she doesn’t want to leave yet. BUT she has her part to play and that’s that she has to EAT. I came out of my morning meditation and she was asking for breakfast and has eaten 1 1/2 jars of baby food turkey and gravy and about 1/4 cup tuna and tuna water. So She’s moving forward – baby steps.

    I wish there was a way to treat her dying kidneys with stem cell therapy! We’d be all over it!

    Hugs to you and Akemi and Jelly.

  4. Jelly is a cutie Joseph.

    Good luck And I’ll be keeping Jelly and you two In prayer.

  5. Wow. This is why I absolutely love the internet! I wish Jelly the best. Your pups are fortunate to have you. I hope the treatment works so Jelly has a bit more time.

  6. The thing is, after that long, you know your pet, you know their moods, you know when they’re happy, you know when they’re in pain & suffering.. no matter what a test may say…

  7. Jelly is indeed blessed to have you and Akemi to care for her. I hope that things work out for the best, and that you can arrange the treatment quickly if it’s available. I’m sending the best of thoughts her way, no matter how things turn out!

  8. I’m glad you found this treatment and have the wherewithal to pursue it. Best wishes for a good outcome!

  9. I hope and pray it works. If it does, I see a book in your future on the “miracles” of going around the FDA! Best wishes. Keep us apprised. <3

  10. Hoping the best for Jelly, prayers you can make it happen. Go Jelly baby!! (((hugs)))

  11. Joe you are an amazing doggie daddy!! Jelly is one blessed dog to have you in her life looking out for her! She’s got Akemi with her and you willing to do anything for her. I’ll be praying for a good outcome. I think about her everyday, throughout the day. She’s a trooper.

  12. Hi Joe,

    I popped on to say that I had been seeing the commercials for Dark Matter on Space, I’m looking forward to the debut and had a couple of questions (of course, me and my darn questions eh?)…

    …but then I read that Jelly is ill and I am so sorry to hear that. Pets bring so much joy but also so much uncertainty and heartache. I really hope this new treatment is successful. I’ll be thinking about Jelly and wishing her well…

    P.S. I was catching up on TV shows and watched all of The Messenger shows the other night and I saw on the credits Writer Carl Binder and I thought OUR Carl Binder? A little Google consult and yup it is. Ch-ch-ch-changes… Good on him!!!


  13. Joe,
    Happy to see the update that Jelly is doing well! She is so blessed to have you and Akemi! 😊

  14. Phage therapy is fascinating. Never heard of it but I’ll be doing some research of my own, just for curiosity’s sake. So glad Jelly Is doing better. Hope she continues that way. Good girl, Jelly!

  15. Go Jelly! And good job on digging deeper into Jelly’s maledies. I’m praying you can find a treatment that works.

    Give the pups an ear tussle and Akemi a hug from us!

  16. I’m very impressed and relieved. Reality is catching upto sci-fi. Good luck finding a program! No matter what happens, there won’t be any regrets. Spoil her rotten!

    @tinamarlin: I’m glad your kitty is feeling better too!

  17. You are just PHENOMENAL. I am amazed. I hope it works for her. Sounds like you made the decision to let her go and she maybe got that energy and had to prove to you she was still hanging in there because she knew you would find something in your bag of miracles for her.

    As to your question about why the FDA wouldn’t allow such things? Well, it can’t be because it might be dangerous because look at all the things they have approved from pharmaceutical companies (because most of them are in bed with them) to wind up killing people (like Vioxx) because they falsified their research. The CDC is no better. Very incestuous relationships between FDA/CDC/Pharmaceutical companies. Likely they haven’t approved it because they are waiting for a pharmaceutical company to take an interest in it and court them with lavish gifts to approve it first. Stem cell therapy is being used successfully abroad for things such as cerebral palsy and in some cases autism (which I wish we had a way to try it because he has both). They wouldn’t consider approving that, even if the stem cells are grown from skin cells of the person who would be injected. Europe is smart. With all these superbugs occurring because of overuse and abuse of antibiotics and the overuse of “antibacterial” stuff, most especially with Triclosan, we may be needing this on the market very soon.

    I am glad you are going to get to try it for Jelly. Bless her little heart. Little Jelly Belly. She is quite the fighter. And she has quite the two people who love her very much.

  18. I’m sending you all of my positive energy that you can get the treatment in time. Hang in there Jelly. Enjoy all the treats. I loved watching the dogs eat ice-cream. does this mean you’re in Toronto for a while longer as she’s too ill to travel?

    Guess what? It’s my birthday today. I am enjoying the day off, catching up with family. Last night I saw The Lion King on stage. It was good, a little loud and overwhelming as we were in the front two rows on the side.

    I’m starting work on some Dark Matter infographics. will share once I’m finished so I’ll be scouring the blog for any interesting trivia.


  19. That’s a fascinating article; what a pity US drug approval rules are so onerous that we might never have the phage option. Did you find a treatment center that will do this for doggies? In any case, you’ve proven you never give up, yet again! Lucky Jelly.

  20. You would think that western doctors would know a thing or two, but apparently not. They seem set in their ways, and they don’t even understand everything about humans, let alone animals, yet many of them claim to be all-seeing and all-knowing gods. Sometimes you have to seek alternative medicines and treatments for this very reason. Really hoping the phage therapy helps Jelly out.

  21. PBMom – Rats!! I wish I’d known that before I invested the time… (Sorry Carl)…

    I read the linked Phage article and I think the following quote is very telling and goes a long way in explaining why it’s not offered here…

    “To get away from naturally occurring phages, which are highly diverse and can’t be patented, Lu and his team are working on “engineered” phages that are more uniform and consequently more compatible with drug regulations.”

    If Big Pharma can’t patent it, they would rather sell the antibiotics, a sure thing for their bottom line. I assume the drug lobbyists are hard at work making sure phage won’t be available until the drug companies can find a way to make a proprietary product to monetize the hell out of… Well, that’s how I interpreted the quote, I could very well be wrong… I’ve been called a bit of a cynic before… Lol…


  22. This quote from Anna Kendrick sums up my life at times “My daily objective is less about goal achievement and more about regret management”

    Happy Birthday bambamfans!

  23. Jelly knows she’s got the best dad ever. Yay to her for a great rally. Fingers crossed for some extra quality time with your girl.

    Sometimes you can get special permission to use experimental products especially if you can find a study to get her in (maybe try the vet colleges in Canada–Guelph, Maritimes, Calgary & Saskatoon). Health Canada can be accommodating (when they want to be!).

  24. Ah man. I’d missed the news. Good luck with getting her treatment and I hope she has another Lazarus moment.

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