Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lulu the beagle and rabies shots don't mix

I had my first real scare with Lulu Saturday.

I took her to PetCo Saturday to get her rabies shots. Luv My Pet is a mobile vet group that provides vaccinations and other vet services in 20 states across the country, and they were doing a vaccination event at PetCo. 

Their services are very low-cost. The three-year rabies shot I got Lulu, for instance, was $22 after fees. 

But I can't go back to them again because of what happened.

Lulu got her shot and I was on line to pay. A lady commented that Lulu was calm for a beagle.She was right, Lulu was oddly calm -- she was walking slowly, not tugging on the leash, not sniffing around too much. Nothing she'd normally be doing, which is what she was doing before the shot.

Then she did something really weird -- she sat down. I thought, well, maybe the shot made her a little lethargic. 

Then she laid down. That's when I knew something was wrong.

 I told the cashier that Lulu was suddenly very lethargic. The woman tried to call Lulu to her and she didn't move. And her tail was down between her legs.

So they called the vet's assistant over, and he picked her up and carried her back to the area where they were giving shots. They checked her out, then gave her benadryl and steroids.

Within a few minutes, she perked back up a bit.

Apparently, reactions to rabies shots are rare -- the vet said 1 in 100 dogs have a reaction to rabies shots. But the reaction gets worse with age. 

Luv My Pet said because she had the reaction, she can't get ANY shots from them ever again. I assume it's a legal issue. They also gave me paperwork to give to a vet. The vet may actually decide to fill out a waiver, and Lulu will never need the shot again. Dogs in Orange County, FL are normally required to have their rabies shot.

Fortunately, Lulu's new shots will last the next three years. I checked out a few websites, and a site called Rabies Vaccines for Dogs says Lulu should have immunity for up to six years.

Lulu's reaction to the shot was mild. But it could have been worse, and can appear up to 45 days after getting the shot -- everything from vomiting to death. But, again, as the vet said to me, ANY reaction only happens in 1 in 100 dogs. 

This website,, has some great information on rabies shot reaction symptoms, and how you can try to prevent your dog from having a reaction. 

She's doing much better now, by the way. She's jumping, tail's wagging, she's pulling on the leash, she's noisy, the whole nine yards.

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