Since starting Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog exactly 3 years ago this month, I have learned there are many, many, many ways for pets to lose their ability to walk. I’m contacted on a regular basis by owners who share stories about the unique ways their dog or cat has become paralyzed. Katherine is a pet mom who wrote to me several months ago asking about daily care suggestions for her chihuahua, Speckles.
Their story is about the times when routine veterinary care goes wrong. Speckles could not move soon after receiving a broad spectrum topical treatment for heartworm disease, fleas and intestinal parasites.
I am not a veterinarian, but as a cautious pet guardian Katherine and Speckles’ ordeal provides awareness for other families. Here is their story:
“In May of last year, just a few months after rescuing her from the shelter, Speckles became unable to move after receiving a dose of Bayer Advantage Multi,” said Katherine. “X-rays and MRIs at the neurologist showed no structural damage to her spine or her brain. She screamed constantly and could not move at all. Speckles developed a urinary infection and sepsis and almost died. I was constantly advised to have her euthanized. Speckles beat the odds and somehow lived through sepsis. Then, she slowly began moving again. First, just her front legs, then her back legs. Eventually, my dog gained the ability to walk again.
Sadly, constipation resulted in megacolon, and recurrent UTIs remained a constant concern. Finally, I found a veterinary specialist who stabilized her urinary infections, and I found a combination of laxatives that worked for the megacolon. Here we are now, more than a year since her initial tragedy. Speckles is able to walk, although it is wobbly. She can climb in and out of her bed, and she eats well. My dog cannot squat or properly position herself to urinate or defecate. She is incontinent and constantly dribbles urine. And Speckles cannot wag or move her tail.”
Katherine explained that her veterinarian believes Speckles had a reaction to Advantage Multi (also known as Advocate). The ordeal turned Katherine into a detective who began to research other dogs that had a similar experience. She found a product review website that documented neurological problems in other small dogs who received the treatment. You can read them here: Product Review.
“In my research I have found other dog owners whose pets have had similar, terrible responses,” said Katherine. “One small Chihuahua like Speckles had a stroke. Others have reported that their dogs died.”
“Honestly, no vet is 100% certain of exactly why Speckles reacted the way she did. There is nothing structurally wrong with her that could be determined by MRI. I also had extensive genetic testing done to see if there was an underlying issue, and those tests also showed no underlying problem.
I wish that I had more conclusive information about why she reacted to Advantage Multi the way that she did. I want other dog owners to be aware. The leading ingredient Moxidectin has a 35 day half-life, and will be in your dog’s system for a long time. There is no anecdote or way to detox the drug.”
Speckles is currently being seen by an internal medicine veterinary specialist and receiving physical therapy. Katherine is also considering chiropractic care and acupuncture for her dog.
Her main goal is to make owners aware of possible risks involved in routine veterinary care, especially for very small dogs. You can follow along with Speckles recovery on her Facebook page.
Vaccination problems for little dogs
Reading about Speckles led to my own detective work and that’s when I found an interesting article from dogsnaturally magazine. In a nutshell, the story explains there are added risks for little dogs when they receive routine vaccinations. Every dog from an enormous Mastiff to a tiny Chihuahua receives the same 1 ml of vaccine.
The actual antigen in each dose is small and typically safe for all dogs, but in order for the vaccine to protect a dog for a whole year it also contains some toxic ingredients. Vaccines include aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde and foreign animal protein. These ingredients are known to cause allergic reactions, anaphylaxis and even heart attacks. After repeated use they have been linked to inflammation and cancer.
A study on the subject from the National Institutes of Health found that dogs weighing 11lbs. or less were four times as likely to suffer adverse reactions to vaccines. The risk factor went up and down just like a sliding scale. The more the dog weighed, the less side effects they encountered.
The researchers recommended that all dogs, large and small, have a titer test run two – three weeks after a vaccination. The test shows how well a dog is protected and whether or not they need a booster treatment. Researchers also suggested that owners ask for smaller doses of vaccine for little dogs.