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Adverse Vaccine Reaction – Another Emergency

If your dog has never required medications that cause dramatic behavioral side-effects, count yourself lucky. Friday (3/9/12), we had another MAJOR scare with Lilly. <insert expletive here>

First, the backstory. Lilly now exhibits problem behaviors we’ve NEVER faced, even when she was a puppy. In addition to the trouble between Lilly and Ginko due to missing calming signals, Lilly now chews on (and apparently EATS) things she should not.

It’s DIRECTLY related to the steroids, anticonvulstants, and other drugs  required to treat the meningoencephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) that resulted from Lilly getting a three-year rabies vaccine January 23, 2012.

We’ve caught Lilly chewing on, chewing up, or EATING:

  • Tissues
  • Paper towels
  • Paper
  • Plush dog toys
  • Clothes
  • Cast-iron pans
  • Kitchen cabinets

I deluded myself thought I had a system to secure such items in my absence. I was wrong.

Friday I had a meeting in downtown Denver with a new (potentially LARGE) client. Before leaving, I took Lilly on a 1.5 mile trek (her farthest yet) up the mountain and back in hopes of tiring her. She has been very, Very, VERY fussy and antsy (also a direct result of the medications) lately, so I try to get her as much exercise as I think her body can handle.

I left at 10:45 am, and I got home at 2:15 pm.

This is what I found, along with about a 1/2 box of shredded tissues and a bunch of torn up paper:

best dog blog, champion of my heart, remnants of totebag eaten by dog

Don’t recognize this mangled canvass totebag? It’s what is left from the one our veterinary neurologist gave us as a consolation prize after Lilly’s week-long hospitalization.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, totebag and goodies whole

I also found the leash and the bandana near the totebag, but they were unharmed.

So, once again, I found myself in EMERGENCY mode … with 1/2 of a @#$@# canvass totebag inside Lilly.

A few phone calls later between me, a veterinary technician, and our family veterinarian, and I was standing outside trying to get Lilly to vomit on a puppy pee pad, after giving her 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide (mixed with 3 tablespoons of water), along with some canned food — as instructed by our veterinarian (who had been on her lunch break when I first called).

THANK GOODNESS, Lilly vomited a total of 5 times:

  • Food
  • Huge pile of totebag
  • Huge pile of totebag
  • Foamy bile
  • Foamy bile

Tom and I used sticks to poke around in what came up, and he estimated that we got 90-95% of the bag to come out.

We allowed Lilly to eat dinner and take her MANY neurology meds, as normal, then we waited. If she could eat, poop, and NOT throw up, then she was likely going to be OK.

If she vomited after eating, then that would indicate a blockage that would require ANOTHER ER run and possible surgery.

again <insert your favorite expletive>

This morning (Saturday 3-10-2012) things are so far, so good.

Food is going in one end and coming out the other without incident. Sure, we can see pieces of toy, tissue, etc., but nothing appears to be stuck … yet.

It’s my most sincere hope that trend continues.


Because we’re afraid Lilly might eat her blankets, she will now be confined to a hard-sided crate without any blankets when we are not home. I hate to do it, but I just cannot risk her dying from something STUPID like eating something she should not … after we’ve worked so hard to help her survive this @#$@#@ adverse vaccine reaction.

I’ve heard that a certain kind of muzzle might work as well, but I hate to think of Lilly going around with something strapped to her face all the time.


We have our next follow-up appointment with the veterinary neurologist on Monday (3/12/12). I’ll try to post news for Tuesday morning.


Alas, I have to work this weekend to make up for losing Friday afternoon to Lilly’s latest emergency and for losing some / all of Monday to her neurology appointment.

BUT, Lilly and I will get out and walk at some point, and we sincerely hope your weekend is fun and relaxing.

Thanks, as always, for your continued loyalty and support through our trying, worry-soaked times.


Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

kb - April 5, 2012

Oh my, it just never ends, does it? Thank goodness that it seems that you acted quickly enough to avert a potential disaster. How very odd that her behavior has changed so much…
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Mary-Alice - March 11, 2012

Good Lord, Roxanne. Sincerely glad you have good support on the other end of the phone to talk you through crazy events like this. Hang in there, all of you!
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Amy@GoPetFriendly - March 11, 2012

Wow – poor Lilly! I’m glad that it appears you’ve all dodged another bullet. Hopefully you’ll be able to reduce her meds after your appointment on Monday and things will move more toward normal. Hugs.
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Maery Rose - March 11, 2012

I’m glad Lilly has pulled through another hazardous situation. Poor Lilly and poor you and Tom! I put Latte in a crate without a blanket because she’ll shred it. She hasn’t eaten them ever but I’m not willing to take the chance. She does get a hard rubber toy that appears to be indestructible.
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Bert - March 11, 2012

Gosh, maybe Lilly and I are related. She was much lucky this time. As two of the four times I swallowethings, I had to have the surgery and with her just coming out of her last crisis, another might have been too much for her.

See the thing is, after my last surger (two weeks ago) I still havn’t learned my lesson. My vickie has taken away everything that I could possibly swallow. No toys, no balls, no socks, no shoes. my life is BORING>

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Hilary - March 11, 2012

Oh my, Roxanne. I was hoping she was on the mend. Steroids such as prednisone, can definitely exacerbate this behavior (had that happen with previous dogs), but wow, what a scare. Again. I am so sorry you and Tom are going through this. Again. Can’t wait to hear the report from her upcoming appointment.

Lynn Hazlewood - March 11, 2012

I share your reluctance about muzzling, but a trainer suggested using a basket muzzle on one of my pooches who’s been getting into scraps, and I’m going to try it. The basket muzzle lets the dog pant, drink and even vomit, if necessary. You see dogs wearing them all over Europe, where they’re allowed in public places and on transportation, as long as they’re muzzled. The trainer said to teach her to like it by leaving it on the floor with bits of hotdog in it, and then to coat the inside with peanut butter or something that she has to spend time licking off, and work up to her happiness to see the thing before actually strapping it on. You know the drill, I’m sure. It might seem rough on Lilly to muzzle her, but it probably beats vomiting up a canvas bag.

Bassetmomma - March 11, 2012

Thank goodness you got most of the canvas tote up! I’m sure you’re up to your eyeballs with all this stuff and don’t need any more hurdles! Good luck!
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Jana Rade - March 10, 2012

Wow, glad it came out! I bet Lilly is coping the best way she knows how. It never rains … does it?
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Jana Rade - March 10, 2012

Wow, glad it came out! I bet poor Lilly is coping the best way she knows how. It never rains … does it?
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Caron - March 10, 2012

Oh no, that’s not fun. I’m glad you were able to get her to throw up most of it and things and things seem to be okay.
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Christina - March 10, 2012

When Nicodemus scratched off and bit into the wall, even with that pathetic cone around his neck, I panicked all over again.

The event happened after his last, third surgery within 3 months. I had just went out to get another cone for his pack mate to wear; just in case. When I returned, I found a 2″ door nail on the floor and a ruined door frame. I dropped to my knees and cried all over again.

Everything turned out ok; no additional sickness or vomiting. No new meds, on top of the new meds we had just received. Thank goodness.

I was so astonished with all the things this Border Collie was doing. Things that he had never had even attempted to try before, he was doing.

I will never forget what my heaven-sent Surgeon said to me: “He’s been through a lot. The world is just not right to him right now. That’s all. Give him time to recover. Things will be right again soon.” —Dr. K. Ham

When I read your story, I wanted to share these words with you. Please remember, you are doing everything ‘right.’

We are here when you need us.

Christina, Azella, Devlin, Enzo, (+Nicodemus RIP) —!woof @nica_knows

Jen - March 10, 2012

Oh my God, more scaryiness 🙁

My heart just stopped when I saw that tote bag. I’m so glad that most of it came up, and that it seems like things are still moving down the pipeline.

Cast iron pans? Lilly, seriously?
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Mary Makowsky - March 10, 2012

I’m so sorry – you certainly don’t need any additional worries!

Kodi eats all of his stuffed animals so I have to watch him with them and take them away once he gets the squeaker and the stuffing out of them. I can’t not give them to him because he just loves them so much! I wish they had some instinct about ingesting things that could harm them…

Janice in GA - March 10, 2012

Oh, that’s so scary. 🙁 I’m glad you were able to get her unblocked (hopefully completely unblocked.)

Some days it’s just one thing after another, isn’t it?


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