Severe Reaction to Rabies Vaccination

momof2doxiesJune 24, 2010

Here we go again. Lily had a severe reaction to her first adult rabies vaccination. It was a strange one for sure. She developed hives several hours after the vaccination. I called the Vet and he wanted to see her right a way. I only live 5 minutes from the office and by the time I got her into the office she had just stopped breathing. They were able to revive her and she is doing great now. They kept her at the hospital overnight and she came home today. From the time I saw the first hives and the time she went into anaphylactic shock was at most 15 minutes.

This is the third dog in 30 years that has had a rabies vaccination reaction, but this one was by far the worst. The other two were almost immediate reactions while we were still in the office. After the first one 30 years ago I always insisted that if vaccinations were due, they were done at least a week apart so we would know which had caused the reaction.

I know that there are some first time dog owners here and I just wanted them to be aware of this possibility. I know that it is rare for these reactions, but they do happen. For us, it has never happened with their puppy rabies vaccination, but it has always been with their first adult rabies vaccination.

We are lucky that she is home now and cuddled up with her Lucy and Ethel.


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Doxies are one breed that is known to be prone to reactions. Usually reactions occur at a repeated incident, not at the first. Sometimes switching brands of vaccine helps, but I wouldn't give another rabies vaccine without some antihistamine and steroid first now.

Also, spacing vaccines by 1 week is not recommended. The next vaccine should be given at least 2 weeks after the first, even if they are different vaccines. The body is still mounting an immune response to the first vaccine after one week, and may not mount a protective immunity if vaccinated again 1 week later. I prefer to space vaccines by 3 weeks.

I'm so glad you were diligent and took Lily immediately back to the vet when you noticed the problem, and now she is safe.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:59PM
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As a brand new owner of a rescued doxie, thanks for the heads up. I've had mine a month now, but he had all his vet work done in W.VA where he was found. When he is due for his next shots, I'll remember this. I'm giving Frontline next week to all my pets . Will the Doxie have a reaction to that? He supposedly had this treatment when rescued.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 1:01AM
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Holy moses....glad your pup is okay...In all the years I have owned dogs I have never gone through this....even when I worked at a vets office. Thjese things are good to know and I am thankful you shared.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 4:23PM
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Ugghh.. it's a given that my Mocha will have a seizure the day after a rabies vaccine. In our state, it is law that it has to be done every year. In fact, the dog registration in TN is tied to the rabies vaccine -- your rabies tag is your dog registration.

I reeeeeeally hate that. Even worse, most (if not all) groomers require vaccines for all pets they groom. They require proof of vaccinations. That means I can't get Mocha shaved or bathed in the summer without that proof. I've tried to go the route of titers and tried to get him "ommited" due to his epilespy from a vaccination requirement from the state to no avail. I think it sucks but we're stuck.

We've come to the conclusion that he'll have a seizure whether we give the vaccine or not at least every 4 months. Thus, we time it so we're "home" right after he gets his yearly vaccine. We also try to time his grooming at *11 months*. That way we can go almost 2 years without having to get him rabies vaccinated.

I should add that I DO understand why its required. In TN I vividly recall when someone dropped off a litter of kittens outside a school in our town a few years ago when I worked at the shelter (actually 5 yrs ago).

Those kittens DID have rabies. Every child that handled those kittens at the grade school had to undergo a series a of rabies shots. Rabies is very alive and active to this day.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 2:48AM
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