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Quick Note – Lilly Recheck Appointment News

Whew! Long day, so just a quick note about Lilly’s recovery from meningoencephalomyelitis (inflammation of the brain and lining of the brain and spinal cord) after having an adverse rabies vaccine reaction. Today, Lilly had her first recheck appointment with the team at Rocky Mountain Veterinary Neurology (housed inside the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado).

Lilly’s appointment had a few objectives:

  1. To draw a complete blood count to make sure the chemo drug she received over 36 hours last week hasn’t affected her badly
  2. To draw blood to check her levels of cyclosporine (the immune-mediator medicine)
  3. To do another neurological exam to check her progress
  4. To find a strategy for dealing with her extremely upset tummy
  5. To figure out what’s the deal with her ongoing nose bleeds

We won’t have test results for a few days, but our neurology team posted this picture along with the following on their Facebook Page:

“Lilly continues to improve each day. Dr. Lane thinks she looks great!”


best dog blog, champion of my heart, Lilly photo taken by Rocky Mtn Veterinary Neurology

Meningoencephalomyelitis Treatment Plan – Ongoing

In addition to the many meds Lilly is now taking to continue her recovery from meningoencephalomyelitis, we have two new tummy medicines:

  • One for the next 5 days
  • One for after that

We also got the OK to give her probiotics to help her digestive system rebound after several days of extreme pooping.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, drought graphicAs for the nosebleeds … we have no reason to worry too much. Blood tests earlier this week to check her platelet counts and other clotting factors came back normal. So, while it’s messy and no fun (I’m doing a big load of blood-stained laundry now), we don’t think it’s too dangerous. Just weird.

Our neurologist said, for now, we’ll “let it ride.”

I cannot tell you how dry, hot, cracked Lilly’s nose is. So, I bought her some plain Chapstick, and we’re putting that on her nose a few times a day to help it heal.

Our already lean canine heroine has dropped more weight — no wonder with all the diarrhea — so we’ll be adding not only plain hamburger to her meals but also adding an extra meal into her days until she rebounds on the scale.

The day Lilly had her rabies vaccine (1/23/2012), she weighed 35 pounds even. Today, with her harness on, she weighed in at 32.4 pounds.

A Few Odds and Ends

I keep forgetting to mention that we learned a couple interesting things along the way about Lilly’s vital signs. She seems to have low blood pressure.

Lilly also has a low heart rate (70-80 bpm). We might assume that it’s because she was in such good physical shape before this happened, but when she was hospitalized … it got REALLY low … like 40-50.

Wednesday night into Thursday morning, Lilly only woke us up 3 times instead of 10-12 like the nights before, so things are improving on the sleeping front. It isn’t perfect yet, but it’s better. We look forward to her once again sleeping through the night.


We’ve promised a few other kinds of posts to friends for early next week, so you can always check our Champion of My Heart Facebook Fan Page for little Lilly updates.

But, you can count on us to continue reporting on Lilly’s recovery in the days, weeks, and months to come.

Have a great weekend!


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.

Los Alamos - February 10, 2012

Lily’s bright, clear, attentive eyes are a joy to see.

LeeAnne McAdam - February 10, 2012

So glad that things are looking up. Prayers your way that things continue in the right direction. It is so nice to see Lilly’s sweet face looking brighter again. She must be so relieved to be back home. Hope you have a peaceful weekend.

Linda Messina - February 10, 2012

That’s terrific news Roxanne. I may have missed it but how did the docs know this happened b/c of the Rabies shot? Reba is due in a couple of months…….. apologies if this has already been addressed.

    Roxanne Hawn - February 10, 2012

    Linda … at some point, I’ll likely do a post answering all the common questions about this, but basically … there were several things that *might* have caused Lilly to develop the meningoencephalomyelitis. So, even though she got sick immediately after her vaccine and then sicker and sicker as time went on … resulting in an ER visit 6 days after the vaccine and a week of hospitalization after that, the veterinary team did several diagnostic procedures and other tests (including an MRI and spinal tap). They went LOOKING for other possible causes, but as each of those options got disproved by the science, it left just one conclusion. Our family veterinarian told me from the get-go that if everything else fell away, then the only answer was that the vaccine caused it. She will be filing a formal adverse vaccine reaction report with the vaccine maker on our behalf.

Deborah Flick - February 10, 2012

Hey Roxanne

All and all it sounds like Lilly is on the mend. She looks wonderful in the photo with her beautiful head upturned. That’s makes me smile. But her poor nose! Just a thought…..are you familiar with Musher’s Secret? It’s a natural wax compound for protecting dogs paws in snow and ice. I use it for Sadie so she doesn’t develop ice-balls between her toes. I notice when I use it that her pads stay very soft and supple. I was just wondering if that product, which is non-toxic, would work more effectively on Lilly’s nose that chapstick if that’s not doing the job.

    Roxanne Hawn - February 10, 2012

    I’ll check the feed store next time I go and see if they have any.

Hilda - February 10, 2012

Can you try pure shea butter for her nose? It’s so much more effective than those beeswax-based chapstick products! Even olive oil is likely to be more moisturizing.

    Roxanne Hawn - February 10, 2012

    The chapstick seems to be working pretty well for the crusty outside of her nose. I don’t think it’s helping with the bleeding that comes from inside, but I’ll see if I can find some shea butter this weekend (you know, in my spare time) ;o)

Ingrid King - February 10, 2012

Her eyes look so much brighter in this photo! Hoping for more good news for Lilly.

Jen - February 10, 2012

Oh, I’m glad to hear more improvements!

Have they discussed with you now, for sure, that this was an adverse rabies vax reaction? I remember you mentioning that it was on her kennel tag, but that nobody had said anything yet to you about it. Sorry if I missed you already discussing it!

Go Lily!

    Roxanne Hawn - February 10, 2012

    Both our family veterinarian and one of the neurology team technicians have talked to us about this being “immune mediated.” I know that our family vet got to chat with the neurologist this week. Next time I talk to her, I’ll confirm cause.

kb - February 9, 2012

It sounds like Lilly is making progress in the right direction, and that’s good news!

Our pups have low heart rates too. It’s partly their active lives… but our vet says that almost all the dogs who live up high in the mountains have low heart rates (we’re at 8200′) probably due to the higher hematocrits of high-altitude dwellers.

Teri and the cats of Curlz and Swirlz - February 9, 2012

Thanks for the update, good mews and sweet photo!

Merr - February 9, 2012

Oh Lilly and Rox! I love the photo of Miss Lilly. And hearing about the improvements is the best!

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