Last Friday night, I took my Maltese, Rudy, for his annual rabies vaccine. I expected it to
be a routine thing. My state, Florida, requires by law that you vaccinate yearly against
rabies. If you do not, they start out fining you $250.00.

Well, it turned out to be anything but routine. He threw up 5 times on the way home and
started to scratch his eyes and nose with his paws. The vet had also clipped his nails and
a couple were too close and started to bleed, so he used that stuff they apply to the nails to
make them stop bleeding. At first I thought he must have gotten this stuff in his eyes. By
the time we got home he defecated on the floor. I then picked him up and noticed that
the skin around his eyes and the inside of his ears were blood red. First I washed his
face and paws, then called the vet. He told me to bring him back immediately.

I rushed Rudy back there and in the car on the way he started to make sounds from his
throat that I had never heard before. They took him in right away and gave him two
injections; one of benadryl and the other of cortisone. The symptoms began to abate

All night long I was scared that the symptoms would return and could not sleep. Rudy
didn't sleep much either. It has taken all the way til today for him to start acting like his
normal self. The whole thing really threw him for a loop! Rudy has an enlarged heart
and CHF and did not need an episode like this. He has been doing really well, too, since
he started a new medicine called "Vetmedin".

Of course, I have decided never to give him another of these vaccinations. I had already
stopped the others years ago. After reading horror stories about this rabies vaccine on the
internet, there is no way I can subject him to this again. I am going to ask for a letter from
the vet to try and get these state people off my case. Rudy never goes out without me
or my daughter and is always on a leash......there is no place he will come in contact with
a rabies infected animal.

The thing is I don't know where to start to find out if they will even accept a letter about
the reaction that happened to him. I don't care, though. If Rudy lives for another year,
and he is 13 now, I will definitely not give him this vaccine again, no matter what they do!


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Dee-- I'm so sorry that Rudy went through this bad reaction! My heart goes out to you and to Rudy. You probably know this but you can get a waiver from the Rabies vaccine because of health problems if your vet will do it. That waiver will satisfy the state.
I have such fear of all vaccines for my dogs. Our Havanese, Halley, has MVD (microvascular dysplasia), a serious liver condition. When It was time for her shots, I had the vet do titers...and they found that Halley still had immunity to all the conditions the shots were we didn't have to take the shots. The cost of having the titers done was about $ a little expensive...but compared to what the shots could do to our dog, it was well worth it!
On another note, do be aware of the horrible things that are being reported about Promeris..the new flea control that the vets are promoting. You can go to and put in "Promeris" and see the various emails that are going around.
Give Rudy soft belly-rubs from Halley!
Thank you for your comments. I had checked and found out about the waiver yesterday. I
called the vet to make certain that they documented everything, too. I don't use the flea/tick
spots on my dog. If he gets fleas or ticks I just pick them off. I do use a spray made out of
cedar oil and rosemary if they get particularly bad outside, then they don't jump on him at
all. I am scared to use those insecticide products because of Rudy's heart problem. I figure
that they must work by circulating through the body somehow, otherwise it doesn't make any
sense how they do the job. I don't like the idea of applying insecticides to him because I
wouldn't apply them to myself. Insecticides have been known to cause a host of problems.
I had not heard that there was a new flea insecticide spot. Sorry it took me so long to
answer. I tried yesterday; but, when I had the time, the site was under maintenance.

Thanks again,
Hi Dee -

I am so sorry this happened to you. I would not vaccinate your Rudy again, period (get the waiver and if you fail that - just pay the fine if you absolutely have to).

Maui's blindness was definitely caused by rabies vaccinations that she had to have (two in a year!!!!) in order to be legally allowed into Hawaii when James moved here full time in 2003.

This is my own personal opinion, of course (vets won't always own up to this), but I suspect that it's especially difficult to judge dosage for smaller dogs, and because Hawaii required a certain amount, James' vet didn't have a choice, and it was just too much for her system. It caused multiple problems, none of which were mentioned as issues by either the vet or the state requiring the dosage. James didn't find out about the issues around rabies vaccinations until much later, after Maui had gone completely blind (he wrote about it in the introduction to his book). She later recovered her sight, but it never returned at the same level ... and she still suffers.

I am praying for little Rudy, and know that Maui (also a maltese) is enjoying her 15th year like a real dowager princess!

Thank you for your well wishes and your reply. I never even knew about this until it just happened. Then I looked on the internet under "Rabies Vaccine Reactions" and I was just
stunned at all of the terrible things that can happen.......things that can show up months later and all. Right now, Rudy seems wholly back to normal, but it is scarey thinking that something else
could happen. I saw that even seizures were listed as happening months later. No matter what, I am never giving him another rabies vaccine, ever. I suspect this might have happened due to
Rudy's heart problems. What was really disgusting was that he was doing so well lately and it
was terrible to see him so depressed afterward. It lasted (the depression part) for about 5 days.
Just yesterday he started to be his old chipper self again. Anyway, thanks again.

awww, I feel for you. Although I have not had a problem with the rabies shotm I did have a problem with the lyme shot. My Jack russell, Flash, was highly allergic to it and had a very similiar reaction. He broke out in hives and started itching everywhere. The doctor gave him a shot of benadryl and something else and he seems fine now.
I am with you on the thought of not giving another rabies shot 2 your dog. I wouldn't do it either. Keep us posted....
I did find out that in my state, Florida, they will waive the mandatory rabies vaccine if the vet writes you a letter about the reaction and how it could adversely effect the health of your dog. So, I called the vet's
office the next day to make sure that they documented everything and told them that I would be expecting
a letter next year, if Rudy lives that long. No matter how long he lives, one thing for sure, I will never
give him another rabies vaccine. I was concerned, though, as my state fines you $250.00 for not
vaccinating and then puts a lean on your property should you fail to pay it.

So far, I have not seen any other adverse effects......although he never seemed to quite get back to as
well as he was doing before.

Thanks for your comment,


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