Training My Own Guide Dog: Sagan, 16 1/2 Months Old
Well, you better gird your loins because I am mad as fire! I reported last week that Sagan got his DA2PP vaccine. I thought it was just Distemper but later found out that there were 5 vaccines in a single injection. I thought everything was going to be okay and that he would have no acute reaction. Saturday night I started noticing that his eyes didn’t feel quite the same to my touch but I thought it was my imagination. On Sunday, Stu remarked that Sagan’s eyes did not look quite right. They were bulging out of their normal position. By Monday they were definitely not right. We got him into the vet that morning. She prescribed some drops and we took him home with a recheck scheduled for Wednesday. There was no improvement by Wednesday. The vet called a canine ophthalmologist and we saw her the next day. Fortunately, Sagan did not seem to be in distress and his vision was just fine. I was grateful for that.
The first picture is of Sagan's eyes on Saturday 6/24, 10 days before the vaccination. They are his normal little dark beady eyes that you could barely see. The second picture is of Sagan's eyes on Thursday 7/13 right before his Ophthalmology appointment. This picture doesn't really capture the severity of the bulge.
Sagan took it all in stride. The vet was shining all kinds of lights and putting drops in his eyes. He was a very good boy. I liked the vet. The diagnosis was auto-immune mediated Extraocular polymyositis. She said it is rare. She would not say that it was the vaccine that caused it but nothing else makes any kind of sense to me. He was perfectly healthy before and nothing had changed in his lifestyle. Anyway, she said that most likely a long course of prednisone will clear it up and it will not come back. She did say it could become chronic but I am not allowing my mind to go there.
He has been on medication for a few days now and his eyes are almost back to normal. We are fortunate that the prednisone is not giving him the side effects often seen with the drug. He seems slow and a little more sluggish than usual but other than that, he seems good.
The picture above shows Sagan on Tuesday, July 18th, 6 days on prednisone. The whites of his right eye are visible.
The fury rises up in me because I was misinformed as to exactly what the vaccine included. After doing more research, I have discovered that I could have done a titer for this vaccine and chances are good that he did not need it at all at this time. I can’t suck it out of his body so now we will live with the consequences. Hopefully, there will be no other complications over his life. I insisted that the vet report it to the Center for Veterinary Biologics (CVB). The office manager assured me that they reported it to the manufacturer. I doubt that this will make one ounce of difference but I feel like that is all I can do. I am going to call the manufacturer myself to raise some Hell. I am also going to begin educating people about the importance of splitting up vaccines and the option of doing titers. Dogs and cats are over-vaccinated just like our human children are but I will keep my mouth shut about that. I believe that vaccines have their place but the decision should not be dictated by the manufacturers or uneducated veterinarians. Most vets like most people physicians are heavily influenced by pharmaceutical companies. I believe that it has happened slowly over time and it is not completely their fault. Because of our current system of animal and people care, it is extremely important to do your own research or find a doctor that truly has the curiosity to think for themselves. Do your best to learn all you can about vaccines and any other procedures your vet might suggest. Ask a lot of questions and trust your own intuition before just going along with everything they say. Get a second opinion when you can.
Needless to say, Sagan’s training has been interrupted. My greatest wish is that this is the end of this episode. I can assure you that I will be getting titers from now on with the hope that he will never need another vaccination. I will cross that bridge when I get there. Please be aware that the side effects of vaccinations are not only acute. They can cause cancers at injection sites as well as skin and digestive allergies. I confess to being a crazy dog person and I hope you are too.