Join Our Community of Dog Lovers

Champion of My Heart is an award-winning dog blog. We've created many important resources that people from all over the world continue to access. Like this post? Get an email alert when new content goes live by subscribing. Plus, look for info on sales and bonus discounts from our affiliates.

Subscribe !

Cavalcade of Side-Effects – Recovery from Vaccine-Induced Meningoencephalomyelitis

For the last 24 hours, Lilly has dramatic tummy troubles every 2-3 hours like clockwork. The diarrhea came on quickly Tuesday (2/7) afternoon and got worse overnight, despite the piles of rice I fed her to bulk things up. Our veterinary specialty hospital discharge instructions warned us this might happen as a side-effect from (primarily) the steroids Lilly is taking, but also as a consequence of the immune-mediator drug Lilly needs.

It is NOT a sign of her primary disease, but instead … just an icky outcome from the now 7 medications Lilly now takes as part of her recovery from meningoencephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) after having an adverse rabies vaccine reaction.

Right now (5:00 pm Wednesday 2/8), we’re waiting for Tom to come up with Lilly’s new tummy medicine that we hope will resolve the tummy troubles quickly. I’ve also just cooked and rinsed thoroughly some plain hamburger for her dinner. Our family veterinarian called in the prescription for me this afternoon, after I got worried that I had NOT heard back from our neuro team (following 2 calls … one Tuesday afternoon, one Wednesday morning).

She gave me her cell phone number when Lilly was hospitalized last week, and she said to call if I needed anything, especially if I had requested but not (yet) received input from the neuro team.

I waited as long as my Dog Mom guts could take (24 hours from first call, 7 hours from second), and I called our family veterinarian around 3:15 pm, asking for help.

So, today wasn’t a big progress day in the Land of the Lilly. We have mostly been working to:

  • Keep Lilly from soiling herself
  • Keep Lilly hydrated since dehydration raises the chance of a seizure
  • See if Lilly can relax enough to sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time

Lilly actually did sleep a bit better Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, only needing help every 2-2 1/2 hours, rather than every 30-60 minutes.

So, that’s something, but she has been pretty antsy all day. That might improve in the coming days as Lilly’s steroid dose gets cut in 1/2.

Also, despite her tummy troubles, look what Lilly brought into my office this morning!

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie with plush dog toy

I posed her while she napped, but it’s still kind of sweet. She slept like this for a while.

You’ll notice that Lilly is wearing her ThunderShirt. It’s mostly to keep her warm, but our sweet, fearful heroine had to go COLD TURKEY off of her behavioral medicines. So, I figured why not.

If she needs the harness from the Canine Equipment Ultimate Trail Pack (that she also didn’t like much when we tested it), then perhaps she can get some help from her ThunderShirt too … even though early tests showed she didn’t like it much.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, border collie with plush dog toy

The new monkey toy (organic) came as part of our discharge prize package from Lilly’s week-long stay in the veterinary specialty hospital.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, veterinary schwag bag


Quick note … I’ve created a new blog post category called “Adverse Vaccine Reaction – Recovery from Meningoencephalomyelitis.” You can find it in the pull-down menu in the sidebar, if you ever want to look at all the posts about this beyond-unfortunate medical emergency with Lilly or to catch up on how far we’ve come.


Everyone say THANKS to my sister!
(She sometimes has time to read the blog.)

I also just got word from my sister (who has been doing her eldercare parts and MINE while Lilly has been sick) that they are taking my mom to the hospital tonight for tests. Seriously. If you could please cast other mojo net upon all of us, that’d be super.


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.

Fay - February 9, 2012

You might like to try this – I’ve used if for my dog. The cottage cheese provides protein. Best wishes for a speed recovery.
Bland diet for dogs with diarrhea
Mix 1.5 cups cooked white rice with .5 cup cottage cheese. Remove liquid from cottage cheese by squeezing between several layers of paper towel.
Divide into 4-5 small servings during the day.

Living Large - February 9, 2012

I think of Lilly several times a day and I’m sending good mojo!

Ingrid King - February 9, 2012

Thank you for creating this new category. For some reason, I had not been seeing your Facebook updates, so I’m just now catching up. I had no idea all of this was the result of a rabies vaccine reaction!

As for the diarrhea, you’re probably already doing this, but if not, I’d add a good probiotic to her regimen. It can’t hurt anything, and it might help.

Good thoughts and prayers are going out to Lilly, and you!

Bassetmomma - February 9, 2012

Wow between your Lilly and your Mom you guys have your hands full! Thanks to your sister, I know what it’s like to do the parent caretaker thing. Good luck with Lilly! I love that picture of her with her new Monkey! Sending good vibes your way!

Murphydog - February 9, 2012

look at all those cool things the vet hospital ‘gave’ you! BOL! They are probably the most expensive toys EVER!

Glad to hear Lilly is still improving. Mom says to ask about Slippery Elm…that stuff is good for calming upset tummies.

wags, wiggles & slobbers

Jana Rade - February 9, 2012

So great she brought a toy, that’s a good sign! Hopefully her tummy settles down.

Prayers and good mojo to you all


Caron - February 8, 2012

Lilly is so cute standing with her monkey. That’s so nice that they gave her a discharge gift. Zephyr had belly problems too, that’s why he was on a lower dose of prednisone. It took a long time for his stools to get back to normal. Sorry to hear your mom isn’t doing well. Sending good thoughts.

Kim - February 8, 2012

Sending lots of good thoughts to all of you! I wish your whoile family all the best during such a difficult time.

Just a thought…my sister, a vet tech, mentioned this when I relayed to her Lilly’s story. If you haven’t already thought of it, you might want to solicit the drug company that makes the rabies vaccine Lilly received for assistance with payment of Lilly’s medical bills…since her condition was vaccine induced, drug companies have paid for medical bills for vaccine induced medical conditions before. It’s cheaper than a lawsuit on their part.

Merr - February 8, 2012

I appreciate your updates…keep them coming. Love to you all…scratch behind the ears for LIlly, too!

kb - February 8, 2012

It does seem like Lilly is acting more and more like herself… the love seat yesterday and the monkey today. Good signs, I think.

I hope that the tummy problems get fixed up soon.

Hilda - February 8, 2012

So glad to see Lilly looking better! Side effects are no fun, so I hope they resolve soon.

Alexandra - February 8, 2012

I hope Lilly will continue to improve. Seriously, I have been so worried about her!

Julie - February 8, 2012

I see a big change in the way she looks! Her face doesn’t look as tense and I see a little sparkle in those sweet eyes 🙂 So cute that she brought you a toy – I’m praying that she gets better soon!

AC - February 8, 2012

Lilly bringing in the monkey seems like good progress, tummy and antsy troubles aside. Continued good thoughts and strength coming your way…

Comments are closed