Beamer’s Update on Coonhound Paralysis

While some tests are still being evaluated, the neurology team believes that his paralysis is Coonhound Paralysis, which is much easier to say than the medical term Polyradiculoneuritis.  Often thought to be caused by contact with raccoon saliva, it is sometimes a reaction to a vaccination, a viral respiratory infection, or a viral or bacterial gastrointestinal infection.  If you are a pet owner you might want to read this article.

While Beamer did come in contact with a raccoon, the time frame for the symptoms did not line up to attribute it to contact with the raccoon.  Paralysis from contact with a raccoon typically occurs within 7-10 days of contact.  Beamer’s paralysis came 19 days after the attack and the vaccination.  The suspicion is that his symptoms are from the rabies booster that he was given the day of the attack.  Vaccine induced paralysis occurs about 21 days from the vaccine.

Jordan was one of our vet students while Beamer was at UGA Veterinary Hospital

We have learned so much about vaccinations since Beamer has been sick.  The number of animals that I have read about and the people that have come forward with similar or worse stories is staggering.  This is not the place to get on a soapbox about the effects of over-vaccinating or over-medicating our animals.  I will, however, be writing a blog with another Tibetan Terrier owner to discuss this and document Beamer’s illness and the outcome.  I will post the link when it is live.  We hope it will help dog owners make informed decisions about medical care for their animals and better understand vaccine induced paralysis.

As a pet owner, I will never again accept what I am told from the vet as the only option for my dog.  As it turns out, the rabies booster was not really necessary but rather a remnant of decades ago veterinary protocols for dealing with rabies.

Beamer can stand and walk for short periods when placed up on his feet

Ten days after the initial signs of Coonhound Paralysis is usually when the animal stabilizes.   So, we wait.  We remain under a rabies watch for three more days.  Assuming no further deterioration in his condition, we will start Monday to work with Beamer using hydrotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and a diet enriched to support the immune system.  There is no prescription medication that can be given for this disease.

The best case scenario is that Beamer fully recovers.  According to the head Neurologist at UGA Veterinary Hospital, almost all cases of dogs with Coonhound Paralysis will recover.  Eighty percent fully recover.  The recovery period usually takes 4-6 weeks with some cases taking as long as 4-6 months.

Going forward, we will ask questions and do research prior to ever giving our fur friend another injection or medication of any kind.  If we have choices to make for our pets, they should be done with as much information as possible.  We should know the possible side effects of these choices.  For more information on rabies vaccinations, please refer to the Rabies Challenge Fund.

I want to thank all of you for your prayers and well wishes.  It encourages us to know that there are so many people pulling for Beamer.  We are certain that positive energy brings good things, so please keep it coming.

Resting at home in his bed

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