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Is this a reaction to shots???

June 29th, 2011, 11:18 AM
We took our 2 year old Chihuahua to her regular vet on June 22nd for a check up and shots.

Last night we came home from work and everything seemed fine, we changed and went out for dinner, two hours later we returned home and noticed that Phoebe's left ear was BRIGHT red and very hot. She was shaking and scratching a lot.

We took her to the 24/7 vet clinic across the street from us. They looked in her ear and it was spotless, just red and hot. They sent her home with ear drops. An hour later her ear was swollen to 4 times its regular thickness and she was even more agitated.

We took her back and they admitted her for observation and gave her a shot of benedryl (sp).

This morning we met with the Medical Director of the clinic and said he is "Pretty Sure" this is a reaction to the vaccinations.

He is keeping her to run some blood tests before he administers a steroid.

In addition to this her bloodwork was done last week and her ALT and bileduct(?) were very high. We were already going to followup with further bloodwork and possibly a specialist in a few weeks (probably at VEC I think)

Plus this vet thinks he hears a faint heart murmur, which I realize can be no big deal but still.

My questions are this...

- Is it possible that this is a reaction to the shots even though they were a week ago? Has anyone else seen this?

- The vet suggested that we stop vaccinating her because Chihuahuas have such a high reaction rate. I've never heard this and our regular vet has never mentioned such a thing. Have you?

- Is it possible that all these things could be related? The liver, heart, ears

She has otherwise been a happy, healthy dog up until last night. She is active, social, no signs of diarrhea,vomitting, increased water intake, etc

June 29th, 2011, 11:33 AM
What you're describing doesn't sound like what we see when we get a reaction to a vaccination. It almost sounds more like a spider or bug bite reaction to me, Veesmart. Vaccination reactions here usually cause the whole face to swell up or cause a systemic redness and itching, not a localized one. And all of our dogs' reactions occurred within 24 hours of the injection. That's not to say that different dogs don't react to vaccinations differently--but the pattern you're describing is not what we've seen in the past.

We do, if possible, discontinue vaccination once a reaction occurs and replace it with titer testing. Which vaccination was it?

Not sure about your other questions. Have you contacted your other vet, yet, to see what he thinks about what's going on?

June 29th, 2011, 11:41 AM
She certainly didn't react to any of her previous shots last year.

I feel awful but I am at work and don't have her records in front of me so I don't know which shots they were. Definitely rabies, not sure what else.

Her other ear was red as well but not like the left one. When we saw her briefly today the swelling had gone down but both ears were red and blotchy.

I thought of a possible bite or even a cat scratch, but there is absolutely no mark anywhere on her ears or head.

She hadn't been outside at all, our windows are closed because of the AC and she wasn't in contact with any other animals other than our cats.

We are getting in touch with our regular vet, but this is all unfolding as I post this. I am at work and trying to direct the BF, the various vets, etc so its a bit slow going.

June 29th, 2011, 11:58 AM
One thing to check--ask your vet if he's recently changed the company he orders his vaccines from. We had three dogs in for Lyme's vaccines a while back and two of them had really bad reactions to it after years of no problems at all--turns out the clinic had switched manufacturers. (They have since switched back.) Another thing we do to minimize the risk of reaction is to make sure they get their rabies vaccination separated from the other vaccinations by at least a week. It means another trip to the vet at a later date, but we've had our biggest problems when we've 'doubled up' vaccinations.

That being said, though, we've never had a reaction hold off for a week. :o

It does sound like some sort of allergic reaction, though, and Benadryl and steroids should help regardless of what the cause is. Still, it would be nice to know if you're dealing with something seasonal, something like a bug bite or a vaccination reaction. If the last, you can pretreat with Benadryl before revaccinating or switch to titer testing and avoid vaccination altogether. We always have a supply of Benadryl onhand and usually some Medrol (steroid), as well, since we're an hour from our vet.

June 29th, 2011, 08:56 PM
I would lean more towards an insect episode rather then a vaccination allergic reaction IMO. :shrug:

Our Golden Retriever use to catch and eat bees. :yuck: About a 1/2 hour after ingesting, her ears became hard and swollen. It normally subsided the next day but you may still want to keep a close eye for other symptoms.

Sounds like you're on the right track but if further complications occur, a vet visit would be your best result.

Good luck Veesmart. :thumbs up