After passing her initial behavioral and temperament evaluation, as a candidate to be a Heeling Allies trained Mental Health Service Dog, Remy the German Shepherd headed to the vet to have her hips and elbows x-rayed to screen for displasia, full blood panel and Rabies vaccine. My partner, Darcie Boltz, is the owner of Heeling Allies Assistance Dogs (www.heelingallies.com), and most of the dogs spend their initial evaluation time in our home. Remy was acquired from a local rescue group, as are nearly all Heeling Allies candidates, so we didn’t have any vet records/vaccine history. Remy’s x-rays were perfect, blood levels were all normal, she had passed all of her temperament testing and was clear to start training. Heeling Allies thoroughly screens all of their candidates to ensure optimal health and ability/desire to work. Remy was perfect for her person who specifically requested a German Shepherd: not an easy dog to find in a shelter with the health and temperament appropriate to be a service dog!
Within a couple of days of the Rabies vaccine, Remy spiked a fever of 105 degrees and lost control of her legs, falling over as she tried to turn a corner or get out of her kennel.
The only thing that had changed in Remy’s life was her trip to the vet, where she was vaccinated for Rabies, so we researched Rabies vaccine reactions and were met with loads of information about fevers and neurological issues, among other symptoms, that are not uncommon for dogs to experience after a vaccination.
We took Remy to our beloved vet, who was not eager to accept that the vaccine was the cause of Remy’s compromised state, and then to our holistic vet, who gave her an acupuncture treatment and, upon our request, subcutaneous (under the skin) fluids for us to administer to help her body flush out the toxins.
Remy’s condition continued, she started loosing almost all of her hair and her skin became red and inflamed. What started out as concern for her ability to participate in the Heeling Allies Service Dog Program, became concern for her survival.
I reached out to Dr Michael Fox, a brilliant and lively vet I have interviewed a few times on my radio show, The Dog Show with Julie Forbes. Dr. Fox then put us in touch with Dr. Jean Dodds, founder of Hemopet and the Rabies Challenge Fund.
Dr. Dodds is currently conducting research that will change the industry standard for Rabies vaccination, from every 1-3 years (depending on the state), to every five, and eventually seven years.
Dr. Dodds’ work is extremely important to the health and wellbeing of companion animals in this country and she is invaluable to the institution of veterinary medicine, pet owners, and pets, themselves.
To prevent unnecessary vaccination: there is a blood test you can have done for your dog called a “titer”, that actually measures the level of antibodies in the blood that are present, to determine if your dog needs a “booster” vaccine. Check with your state to make sure they currently accept a rabies titer as sufficient documentation.
Want to know what percentage of dogs in Dr. Dodds’ study showed that they did NOT need a rabies booster after five years? Ninety-eight percent!
This means that most animals in this country are receiving vaccines they don’t need, and some of them, like Remy, are severely and permanently compromised, or even killed.
We were so fortunate to have been connected with Dr. Jean Dodds directly and to receive guidance from her as to how to treat Remy’s condition.
After high doses of steroids to block an autoimmune response, daily subcutaneous fluids to keep her hydrated through her dangerously high fever, acupuncture, swim therapy, homeopathic detox treatments, special homemade diets, etc, etc, Remy pulled through the event and has mostly recovered. She seems to be a little bit neurologically compromised, and probably will be for the rest of her life, but she has her coordination and physical strength back and is living a lovely life with another German shepherd, (her “miracle” replacement in the service dog training program). They both live in Massachusetts and enjoy a nightly play session in the horse arena that is on the owner’s property.
Thank Dog for Dr. Dodds, her guidance, and the work she is doing to change the vaccine industry.
I promptly invited Dr. Dodds on The Dog Show for a radio interview, to share her intense knowledge and brilliant mind with my listeners. To listen to the interview, go to www.dogtalkshow.com and scroll down to Episode # 109, or hear a recent rerun of this important interview under Episode # 136.
Dr Dodds’ work around Rabies vaccines and Rabies vaccinosis is only the tip of her iceberg. Find her online at www.hemopet.org and www.rabieschallengfund.org. I highly recommend her books and DVDs, and am so grateful for her work in this world!