Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Rabies Vaccine Reaction

We had a very scary time in December with Stella as she had a bad reaction to a vaccine. I have never been a big fan of vaccines and do only minimal puppy vaccines. BC is a low risk area for many diseases prevalent in other areas of the country. Unfortunately we frequently cross the border and proof of rabies vaccine is a requirement. I needed to give Stella a rabies vaccine as I was considering flying her with me to Clicker Expo in January.  That was her second and it has been over 1.5 years since her first and I had planned for this to be her last and would titre after that.   Guidelines have been very slow to catch up to the new data showing the long term effectiveness of vaccines without need for re-vaccinations.  Rabies shots will now get you a three year certificate but that is only after the initial first shot which is exempt for one year.  Actual studies show that immunity is usually good for a lifetime.

Stella had her shot at around 2pm and appeared fine.  I administered the recommended homeopathic remedy at that time to help support her system and all seemed fine.  That evening about 6pm I looked over at her and her nose was covered in massive hives.  I quickly stuffed some Benadryl in her and called my vet. We monitored her closely at home for any trouble breathing or other symptoms all evening and she got another dose of benadry around midnight.   The hives were very slow to settle down so I administered another homeopathic remedy that showed noticeable improvement.   I had her sleep in the bed with us to watch her and then she puked in the morning around 4 am, again at 5 am and a little bit after that.  I was finally able to get a Pepcid in her and that settled her tummy enough that she was okay for a while.  That afternoon I convinced her to eat a few mouthfuls of canned food and chicken broth so I could get another Benadryl in her.  Unfortunately she started vomiting again after that.  The timing leads me to think the upset stomach was more a reaction to the benadryl than the vaccine but was much worse as her body was stressed.

The upset stomach continued for the next few days.  I fastws her for almost a day initially but she continued to not be able to keep anything down.  That of course meant I couldn't give her anything to help settle her stomach as it didn't stay in there long enough to work.  I ended up returning to the vet where she was given an antacid injection and we all finally got a peaceful night of sleep.  The next day we slowly introduced broth and a spoon of food at a time and kept it very controlled over the next 4-5 days until we returned to a normal feeding schedule.  I continued to supplement her with some herbal remedies formulated to support vaccine reactions for the next month.  She had a bit of residual itchiness and irritated eyes but that settled after a few weeks.

Here are a few useful links for anyone researching this topic:
Dr Jean Dodds Vaccination Protocol
Dr Dodds - Clinical-approaches-managing-treating-adverse-vaccine
Dr Schultz - Rabies Vaccines
Dr. Dobias - rabies-vaccine-holistic-approach
Rabies Challenge Fund - Education

Stella will never have another vaccine as it is likely her next reaction would be much worse.  I will titre in three years when her certificate expires and hope the border agent of the day will accept that when crossing the border.

I am sooooooo grateful I listened to that little voice inside my head who told us to stay home that night instead of going out for dinner as planned.   Things were horrible but they could have been much worse if she had been alone. Through it all her wonderful personality shined. I had to go to the store to get some new benadryl (mine was outdated) and when I got home she greeted me at the door with a wiggling bum and a shoe even though her whole face and one eye was swollen. 

This is actually after the benadryl and is better than when it was at the worst

Normal face for comparison

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Champion!!! or not ...

Stella completed her conformation championship in November and to say I was thrilled was an understatement.  I have found this whole process a great learning experience but often frustrating, political and confusing.  Anyway we were super excited to have finished and I had the official picture taken as shown below.

UNFORTUNATELY when I phoned CKC to confirm all of our points as I am hoping to spay Stella soon they were missing one of our points.  It appears a major screw-up happened at a show last april and the judge wrote down the wrong number as winners bitch.  I have the ribbons showing us as winners bitch and best of opposite sex and when I contacted both the owner and handler of the other bitch they agreed that I had won that day and are willing to vouch for that fact.  I provided that information to the judge but he has opted not to change his decision and correct the point.


I am pretty pissed off about the whole thing.  I understand that mistakes happen but find it quite appalling that he isn`t wiling to admit the error even though I have evidence stating otherwise.  Anyway I will give it one more shot and write a letter to CKC outlining everything but I am not holding out much hope as they have not been helpful at all so far.

So this is our picture which now probably turns out to be a big waste of money as we will probably have to go back in the ring this spring in search for one more point.

Friday, 29 November 2013

One Year Later

One year ago today I took a huge leap of faith and dropped Riley off for his major surgery.  I was scared to death that I wasn't making a good decision but equally terrified that if I didn't do it his quality of life would continue to deteriorate.  Some readers might not know that Riley had a hemilaminectomy procedure to remove a cyst pressing on your spinal cord.  Today Riley still has some lingering after effects of his condition (mild ataxia) and a bit of a wonky hip but for the most part he is healthy, happy and pain free. I am forever thankful that the surgery and recovery went well.  Past blogs on the subject can be found here.

It is also the USA thanksgiving and because I missed the Canadian version in blogging I also want to share some other things I am grateful for.

- my wonderful husband for supporting me on my crazy dog adventures 
- my dogs for bringing much laughter, fun and challenges to my life
- my cats for all the cuddles.  They are the finishing touch to make a house a home.
- my friends who are always there for me.
- my mother, brothers, sister and various niece, nephews, aunts and uncles.
- health for myself and all those (human and animal) I love and care about.

There is so much tragedy and challenges all around us that sometimes it is important to count the good stuff.

Morning after surgery

48 hours post-surgery

Spring 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Oh my dawg, where have the last two months gone!  Life has been very busy as we have just downsized my mother to a smaller house from the huge house that I grew up in.  Thankfully that it almost done now so life can get back to a more normal.

I have also been having great fun recently with dog training.  Stella and I have been enjoying more on-line courses with the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy plus I got to attend the APDT conference which was five days full of all sorts of wonderful dog trainers (Ken Rameriz, Denise Fenzi, Nicole Wilde, Ian Dunbar etc.).  It has been lots of stuff to learn that I now need to blog about :).

First up was the fact that we participated in August/September as a online working spot (video submissions) for Ob-ility with Denise Fenzi.  This is from the course description:
"But...what IS Ob-ility?  In the teaching phases, Ob-ility is simply a way of breaking the exercises down so that the movement parts of the exercises are separated from the other parts - this makes the work a lot more fun and "flowing" for the dog. "

Stella is not a "high-drive" dog.  She might be different if we were working in agility or field stuff but overall she is not one of those dogs that just loves to work.  She does however find movement and play reinforcing so this type of training helps me to put some fun for both of us into traditional obedience.  It has a great side benefit of helping build duration to training periods without needing to use a lot of regular rewards.

The basics of ob-ility (fly, thru)  build into the higher level obedience exercises.  Fly is used to eliminate stay positions which keeps up energy and allows lots of repetition in short time frames.  Recalls, go-outs, drop on recall, broad jump, directed jumping can all be modified to be done "ob-ility style".

I have seen good carry over so far with added in the finishing parts needed to compete in the ring.  We are still a long way from competing in formal obedience but it feels good to get some of these foundations in such a fun way.

Here is video of Stella and I training for some of the ob-ility course lessons:

We are currently a working spot for "Bridging the Gap" at the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy and so far that course has been amazing. I am officially now a fan of online dog training courses.  A new session starts in December and there are many great instructors and courses I am considering for audit spots.  I still love working with my real-life instructor but I am enjoying viewing all the different teaching styles and absorbing all this great information.