Our dog just had an anaphylactic shock reaction to vaccination. Should we cancel our travel plans?
June 16, 2008 12:19 PM   Subscribe

Our dog just had an anaphylactic shock reaction to vaccination. Should we cancel our travel plans?

My husband took our miniature dachshunds to the vet today to get caught up on their vaccinations because we're going to be boarding them while we travel later this week. One of them immediately vomited after the vaccination, had diarrhea on the way home, then once home he collapsed on the floor and was breathing very rapidly. My husband immediately took him back to the vet where they gave him an anti-histamine and steroids shot. The vet is currently keeping him for observation.

The vet's decision to allow our dog go home when he was showing early symptoms of potentially deadly anaphylactic shock makes me not trust this vet's competence, so I'm seeking other sources of information about our dog's condition and care needed.

My internet searching has found information on symptoms (apparently the next stages after vomiting and diarrhea would have been convulsions, coma, and death!) and emergency treatment, but not much on after-care. How sick can we expect our dog to be after this, and for how long? Will he be sick enough that someone should stay home and take care of him?

Our original plans were to board the dogs from Wednesday evening or Thursday morning until Monday morning. If we should change our travel and/or dog boarding plans we'd prefer to do so ASAP because the longer we wait the more expensive it will be to make changes.

Any information, advice, or pointers to good resources would be appreciated.
posted by Jacqueline to Pets & Animals (19 answers total)
Response by poster: Now the second dog is scratching his face non-stop. My husband is taking him back to the vet too.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:42 PM on June 16, 2008

Could your dogs have gotten a bad batch of vaccine?
posted by zia at 12:49 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: I've since found out from my internet research that miniature dachshunds are very prone to allergic reactions to vaccination. I also am in contact now with a veterinary scientist who is working on a study of allergic reactions to vaccines in dachshunds, so we will probably send him some blood samples and hopefully he will be able to tell us what part they were allergic to (it was their annual booster so they received several vaccines).

But I still don't know how sick they will be for how long... :(
posted by Jacqueline at 12:55 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: My husband just got back from taking the second dog to the vet and he says the first dog is now on an IV and is still not breathing normally. :( The vet is going to give the second dog an anti-histamine and steroid shot as well.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:57 PM on June 16, 2008

This happened to my dog. Scratching her face like crazy and then she swelled up like a balloon. We immediately gave her a 1/2 teaspoon of benedryl and took her to vet. They said we saved her life by giving her the benedryl so fast. We were told by the emergency clinic vet and later by our vet that one out of a 1000 has a bad reaction and there is no way to predict it or prevent it other than not giving shots at all. The next year when it was time for shots again, we gave her the benedryl before the vaccine and she never had another problem. Might be bad vaccine or just a freak bit of bad luck but it does happen. Your dogs are lucky that you are so attentive and didn't just throw them in a pen where the reaction might have gone un-noticed. Best of luck to your puppies and try and enjoy your trip.
posted by pearlybob at 12:58 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: Pearlybob, how long did you dog have to stay at the vet and how much aftercare did she require from you when she came home? How long until she was healthy again? Thank you.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:00 PM on June 16, 2008

She recovered rather quickly so I don't think it was as serious as what your babes are going through. Basically, the vet gave her another shot of antihistimine made for dogs, and we stayed for 30 minutes or so. We went home with some drops of dog benedryl and orders to watch her carefully for the next 12 hours or so. If they are still sick on Wednesday, does your vet offer boarding? Might be an option although would you be able to enjoy your trip if you were worried about them? A hard call to make. Maybe a trusted friend or relative can keep them?
posted by pearlybob at 1:06 PM on June 16, 2008

Just FYI, my dog was a terrier/mix/mutt so the dachshund thing didn't figure in.
posted by pearlybob at 1:08 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: Our original plans were to board them with a vet, actually. Unfortunately, though, we've found that boarding our dogs at the vet is no guarantee that they will be paid attention to or even properly looked after. We boarded them with a different vet once and they came back 20% under their normal weights and severely dehydrated! :(

Someone asked me via private message about whether the trip can be replicated later. Unfortunately, it cannot, as it is a trip home for my father's 65th birthday and a major family reunion. I have not seen most of these relatives for several years and some are old and unlikely to live until the next one. Plus none of my extended family have met my husband yet. So we're really reluctant to cancel this trip, much more than we would be if it was just a weekend getaway.
posted by Jacqueline at 1:12 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: Our usual trusted dog-sitter moved away last month. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 1:13 PM on June 16, 2008

I'm afraid I can't offer you any useful information but as an owner of two mini dachshund who are basically my babies, I hope they get through it ok. And I would definitely look for another vet - maybe one that's familiar with dachshunds, since they tend to have unique health issues. One of ours is prone to very bad cluster seizures and has/had a bad back (lost rear mobility twice) but due to the vet's familiarity with dachshunds she's as good as ever now.

In fact if you 'shop around' for another vet you could also ask them your original question.

Good luck!
posted by MarkLark at 1:29 PM on June 16, 2008

IANADog, but I had an anaphylactic allergic reaction to medication at the age of 3. My parents took me to a doc early in the day who said it was no big deal (so at least it's not just the vets?), but later they drove me to the hospital because I could barely breathe, and they shot me up with epinephrine and kept me there for a week. I remember feeling very weak and tired, sleeping a lot and only getting out of bed to use the bathroom. There was some medication and possibly a fluid IV.

Anyway, I definitely didn't bounce back immediately (though kids/puppies are generally more vulnerable than adults), and it would have been pretty scary even scarier without my mom there. Do you know anyone who works from home who could keep an eye on your dog, encourage food and water, make sure he's using the bathroom, and call a vet if he starts going downhill? Could you pay extra to have him kept at a vet's as a patient rather than a boarder?
posted by ecsh at 3:09 PM on June 16, 2008

Could you drive or take the train to the do, keeping the dogs with you?
posted by freya_lamb at 4:03 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: Freya: Unfortunately, we are in Las Vegas and my family is in Seattle, so there's no train service and it's a multi-day drive.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:28 PM on June 16, 2008

Mini-dog? If they are recovered, take them with you on the plane. I've traveled with pets often; as long as they are able to be carry-on it's not a big deal. If you leave them, you'll spend the reunion worrying about the dogs.
posted by 26.2 at 9:57 PM on June 16, 2008

You've probably already done this, but have you tried contacting your former dog-sitter for referrals? Another option would be to call your local humane society & explain your situation - many tend to have a large network of volunteers who have part-time jobs pet-sitting, dog-walking, etc. With luck, maybe even one will be a vet technician (or someone with similar veterinary experience). You could also ask for veterinarian recommendations - and use that to form a list of potential veterinary boarders.

Good luck & stay calm:-) Your dogs are very lucky to have such a caring and proactive owner. Please post back with updates on their status, and whichever option you ended up choosing.
posted by invisible ink at 10:44 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: As of this evening, the dog who had the anaphylactic shock reaction is still shitting blood :( so my husband will be staying home and keeping an eye on them. Thank you everyone for your advice, kind thoughts, and concern.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:16 PM on June 17, 2008

Response by poster: Both dogs have fully recovered. Thank you all for your concern!
posted by Jacqueline at 4:20 AM on June 30, 2008

Thanks for the update. I've been worried about the little guys!!
posted by pearlybob at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2008

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