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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 16, 2015
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    Default Seizures and Vaccinations

    I've been doing a lot of internet research, as best I can, but thought I could tap into the COTH resources too. Sorry for the length.

    Back story:
    Several months ago, I was woken up from sound sleep around 1am to my 5-yo goldendoodle having what appeared to be a grand mal seizure. It was the first I know of with her, and I was appropriately panicked.

    Took her immediately to the emergency vet, where she presented as completely normal - of course she did. Completely paralyzed, then unable to move her hind end only for 5 or so minutes while I scrambled to get us in the car....to totally normal, happy, wagging all over dog - all vitals completely normal.

    There had been absolutely no changes in anything around her - food, no meds, household cleaners/detergents, etc. The ER vet suggested that the sudden drop in barometric pressure that day (a huge thunderstorm came through earlier) could have been the trigger.

    Follow up with my normal vet the next day. All vitals are still normal, she was her normal dog self. The vet stated that the parameters for recommendation to canine neurologist and daily meds are more than 3 seizures in one day, or 7 in one week. I am to wait and see how she does. However, she was just about due for vaccines, and the vet said absolutely not - and probably not ever. Everything I'm reading agrees - no more vaccines. Ever.

    My issue is this...seizure dog (along with my other dog) and I are very active outside. We run several times a week, walk every day, take trail rides on my horse, and they each drink and swim in any water source they find. In fact, because of their love of everything water (my other dog is a golden retriever) I often pick our trails based on the abundance of water. As such, they are annually vaccinated for everything, especially lepto.

    I was trying to be careful with my girl - no runs, short walks only in our neighborhood and absolutely no swimming/drinking out of the creeks. So, we go back to running and walking, but no swimming, no trail rides with my horse. After a couple of weeks she was noticeably depressed - but I have not witnessed any other seizures. Another visit to our vet just to talk about options, and she assures me that I can return to all normal routines with her. Sure enough, back to running/walking/swimming/trail rides, and she's her normal happy dog self. Vet says that there is more and more literature coming out that shows vaccine antibodies present in dogs as much as 7 years after a vaccination - she "should be" fine.

    I don't kennel/board these dogs, and I don't take them to dog parks. And, while we do often encounter other dogs while we are out running or walking, I don't slow down or stop, so there isn't any contact with other dogs. My big concern is what she may be exposed to while swimming and drinking from the creeks/rivers/puddles. Any input? Any advice?



  2. #2
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    Feb. 27, 1999
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    Virginia and North Carolina, Parrothead Clique!
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    Still only the one seizure? I would have no problem vaccinating your dog given what you describe of her lifestyle.


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  3. #3
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    Jul. 16, 2015
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    Default

    One confirmed. I awoke to her sitting by the bed trembling one other time, but no other signs (with the first one, she had drooled an unbelievable amount, was paralyzed after she got done thrashing, etc) - so I can't say for sure that that was a second seizure.



  4. #4
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    Jan. 25, 2009
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    I am really cautious about vaccines, so take this for what it is worth. I titer test my dogs for everything except rabies, and I'd titer test for rabies as well with this issue. I do not do the lepto vaccine as I find it too high risk. I understand why you would given the drinking out of streams, but even then it doesn't protect against all strains of lepto. I would have blood pulled and run a titer test. I've done that with mine for years and the vaccines seem to last much longer than 1 year. Personally I would avoid vaccinating this dog.



  5. #5
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    Jun. 12, 2009
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    Up north
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    I have a dobe, 10 now who for many yrs spent a lot of time in woods and wetlands. She had the usual puppy shots and then had a seizure around 4yrs. She is a special needs dog anyway so my vet was going to take any chances vaccinating her except for rabies. Last yr there was a outbreak of parvo here and my vet decided the risk of the vaccine was less than the risk of getting the disease.
    We have never vaccinated against Lymne or lepto. Too many varieties of lepto for the vaccine to do any good and the Lyme vaccine is worthless since dogs can still get Lyme anyway. (I had one that did. I would never vaccinate for Lyme again)
    She has never had another seizure though she did have a very scary episode of falling down 3 months ago, which after many tests ,was dx as old dog vestibular syndrome.
    I wouldn't worry about what could happen. Make sure you know what's normal behavior for your dog. If something seems abnormal then go by your gut instinct and get the dog to the vet. Good food, good exercise and don't neglect the rabies vaccine.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec. 18, 2006
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    NY
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    Life is about calculated risks.

    I would never deliberately skip a rabies vaccine on a dog, period. I questioned whether or not to give my 14 year old dog a 3 year rabies and the vet felt it was still safer than the alternative....fatal rabies. (He got it, and was totally fine.)

    Lepto? I'd probably skip it. The vaccine isn't 100% anyway, it's not the law, and I (think?) Lepto is treatable but not desirable.

    Your vet should be able to advise you best about your dog, your area, and your risks. I know my vet didn't think that my old guy should get the DHLPP...too many antibodies and not enough risk at his age...but absolutely would not let me think of skipping it for my 5 year old show dog because of his exposure.



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    Life is about calculated risks.

    I would never deliberately skip a rabies vaccine on a dog, period. I questioned whether or not to give my 14 year old dog a 3 year rabies and the vet felt it was still safer than the alternative....fatal rabies. (He got it, and was totally fine.)

    Lepto? I'd probably skip it. The vaccine isn't 100% anyway, it's not the law, and I (think?) Lepto is treatable but not desirable.

    Your vet should be able to advise you best about your dog, your area, and your risks. I know my vet didn't think that my old guy should get the DHLPP...too many antibodies and not enough risk at his age...but absolutely would not let me think of skipping it for my 5 year old show dog because of his exposure.
    Normally I am very picky about doing the 3 year rabies vaccine . . . But I've known people that have had reactions and their vet now applies for a titer test instead for those dogs, so they are still legal with the city. It is individual and a conversation to have with your vet. Personally I'd discuss it with my vet and if a titer test would be an option I'd consider it. Rabies is dangerous, but it is pretty likely that the vaccine lasts longer than 3 years according to many. It very much depends on risk and the balance of those risks - but a dog that is more likely to react is something to be cautious with of possible.



  8. #8
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    Feb. 27, 1999
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    Casey, can you please tell me which locality accepts rabies titer results in lieu of proof of vaccination? I'm not aware of any.



  9. #9
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    Jan. 25, 2009
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    I know several people who are able to titer and board, etc., but I'm not sure which municipality they live in. I do know that when my dog was having issues, my vet said that if the tests came back as cancer she would not do a rabies vaccine - she'd apply for an exemption as you shouldn't vaccinate a sick dog. It may not be something that anyone can do but it could be something you have to apply for with a vet's signature. That was the first I had heard of not getting rabies as that is one vaccine that I religiously keep track of - but my vet told me that she could do an application for a sick animal as she did not vaccinate them for anything.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anne View Post
    Casey, can you please tell me which locality accepts rabies titer results in lieu of proof of vaccination? I'm not aware of any.
    Exactly. In discussing this with my vet we were not quite sure that the titer would be allowable in lieu of vaccination if something weird happened. I wasn't as worried about my dog dying from rabies as I was having him quarantined at 14 years old.

    Actually, the decision to vaccinate him was just after a thread on this board - I don't remember who posted it, but their elderly dog, with an expired rabies vaccine started acting weird, then bit the owner and then died. The posts included ways to have the dead dog tested for rabies in case that was why it had acted strangely and bit the owner; I don't remember if there was a post that detailed how it all turned out.

    My vet's exact words were "not having an up to date vaccine is usually not a problem....until it's a problem."

    After reading the thread about the old dog, I decided that having my vet vaccinate my dog was the best option. And, in his opinion, it was likely that a *severe* reaction would happen right away, so we scheduled it intentionally so that he would be at the clinic in case of a problem.



  11. #11
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    Mar. 17, 2006
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    I don't think any health department would accept a rabies titer in the case of a bite incident. My 17 year old JRT was just vaccinated for rabies and was just fine.



  12. #12
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    Might be a good question for a neurologist over a gp vet - they probably get asked this question multiple times per day



  13. #13
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    Does anyone remember the story about the person whose own dog bit them? I'll try to search it; I can't remember how that ended...



  14. #14
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    Aug. 12, 2008
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    My dog has epilepsy. When the seizures first started, I looked into it and talked to my vet about it. She brought up a really good point - if the vaccines caused the seizures, then more dogs would have them. She said we could titer if I wanted.

    Long story short, I researched all sort reasons why my dog could be having seizures. I tried everything except going raw because I am not confident that I would do it right. In the end, I have accepted my dog has seizures. Some dogs just have them. He is on phenobarbital and potassium bromide. We keep diazepam on hand. He gets his levels checked (now once a year, it was originally every 3 months, then 6 months).


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by S1969 View Post
    Does anyone remember the story about the person whose own dog bit them? I'll try to search it; I can't remember how that ended...
    One of our own dogs bit my husband. He was trying to break up a fight between two of our JRTS. He ended up going to a hospital for care and the bite got duly reported. We had to laugh because the letter said "Dear MR X on such and such a date your dog bit Mr X. etc." Our dog, even though fully vaccinated had to be quarantined. At the end of the quarantine, it had to go into the clinic for a bite exam and the vet had to fill out the paperwork. LOL, I presently WORK at the vet clinic and I used to work for our state health department.



  16. #16
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    I agree that this is a good question for a neurologist once your dog has been evaluated. The critira that your GP gave you for when to see a neurologist is odd...it sounds more like the handouts our neurologists give that state when to visit the ER. Your dog is right on the age bracket of primary vs secondary epilepsy. She is a little old for primary, but not unheard of. I would get the consult.



  17. #17
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    The parameters your vet gave you to "see a neurologist" is ridiculous, I'd run to a new vet. If your child had a seizure, you wouldn't be going to your gp for advice.



  18. #18
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    My epileptic JRT had seizures from the rabies vaccine, but she had seizures a lot, not just after vaccines. I titered her for everything except rabies. I agree with your vet about seeing a neurologist. Unless a dog has seizures often, the medications that a neurologist would prescribe would have worse side effects than a couple of seizures a year. My dog died from pancreatitis caused by the phenobarbital and potassium bromide she was taking.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
    The parameters your vet gave you to "see a neurologist" is ridiculous, I'd run to a new vet. If your child had a seizure, you wouldn't be going to your gp for advice.
    Yeah, we reccomend starting AEDs if they've had seizures more frequently than about 1-2 a month! Good lord, waiting for 7 in a week is one a day! Way too frequent.

    Also, the chances of being bit by a seizing dog are high, then there's a quarantine.... At least vaccinate for rabies, your dog is at risk.
    You can't fix stupid.... but you can breed it!



  20. #20
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    Mar. 25, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShadowsMom View Post
    My epileptic JRT had seizures from the rabies vaccine, but she had seizures a lot, not just after vaccines. I titered her for everything except rabies. I agree with your vet about seeing a neurologist. Unless a dog has seizures often, the medications that a neurologist would prescribe would have worse side effects than a couple of seizures a year. My dog died from pancreatitis caused by the phenobarbital and potassium bromide she was taking.
    The medications a neurologist would prescribe are not worse then seizures. Levetiracetam is very well tolerated and has few side effects. Phenobarbital is not the go to seizure drug anymore. All dogs, like people, tolerate drugs differently, which is it is good to have a relationship with a good veterinarian.



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