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Blog Hop Pet Health

Malarky and the Gallbladder Mucocele

10355373_10152658818434549_8389330943715295002_nI’m taking part in the Caring For Critters Round Robin hosted by Jodi from Heart Like A Dog. The Round Robin is like a relay race, each day a fellow blogger will share a post about a specify injury or illness they have experienced. Please keep in mind, I am not a vet and this is not advice on how to handle any illness your pet might have. This is just Malarky and my experience. Always consult your veterinarian before choosing any course of treatment.

 

 

You are probably thinking the same thing I was when the vet gave me the diagnosis. A gallbladder muco-what?

I had never heard the term before. Not even after having worked in vet hospitals for 8 years. I never even heard of a dog having a problem with their gallbladder.Turns out there was a good reason I never heard of it.

A gallbladder mucocele (GBM) is basically an accumulation of thick mucous in the gallbladder that causes the gallbladder to become distended. If left untreated the gallbladder can rupture causing infection. Years ago, it wasn’t commonly diagnosed. Not because it didn’t occur, but because diagnostic tools like ultrasound were not as available as they are now so it wasn’t being diagnosed. Unfortunately, this meant dogs who developed a GBM most likely died as a result.

Malarky’s symptoms were pretty vague. It started out with a little vomiting and lack of appetite. Malarky had a few episodes of gastritis before. By the next day she is usually back to her normal self. Not this time. This time I found myself at the emergency vet clinic at 10:00 at night after coming home from work and finding her hunched up, in a lot of pain and not wanting to move.

Symptoms can include vomiting, anorexia, lethargy, polyuria, polydipsia, and diarrhea. Symptoms can be present for a few days to a few weeks. The veterinarian may find the dog’s abdomen is painful, they have an enlarged liver. They may be jaundice and may have an elevated temperature. About 25% of dogs show no symptoms and the GBM is diagnosed incidentally on x-rays.

Radiographs and lab work showed there was something going on in her liver. An ultrasound would give more information, but with a tentative diagnosis of “it could be liver cancer” I opted to start with conservative treatment so Malarky was hospitalized. Malarky definitely looked more comfortable when I visited her over the next day. A quick ultrasound scan was done because the managing vet was concerned about GBM, but it was felt to be primary liver disease so we continued with conservative treatment. My hope was to continue over the weekend with my secret hope that she would improve enough for me to take her to my own vet or so we could do an non emergent ultrasound. Unfortunately her liver values continued to rise. The managing vet really felt she needed an ultrasound that day so with the veterinary internist and surgeon off and out of town, I  transferred Malarky to another emergency clinic.

Bloodwork will help narrow down the area of the body affected. It won’t diagnosed a GBM. X-rays don’t always show a GBM but may be taken to rule out other disorders. Ultrasound is more sensitive and the most common way to diagnose GBM.

There a full ultrasound gave us the diagnosis- a gallbladder mucocele. Malarky needed her gallbladder removed. I had to leave her there and wait at home. The surgeon called as they were prepping Malarky to go into surgery and she called me after Malarky had come out of anesthesia over 2 hours later. she said surgery had gone well. there was no obstruction of any of her bile ducts.The tissue on the gallbladder was starting to thin so it sounds like it was removed just in time.

A cholecystectomy ,surgical removal of the gallbladder, is the recommended treatment for GBM for dogs who show signs of the gallbladder having ruptured or who are very ill. There is a 22-40% mortality rate with surgery usually in dogs who have more extensive disease and require a more involved surgery. Dogs who aren’t showing any symptoms or cannot undergo surgery may be able to be managed with medication and regular monitoring of the gallbladder with ultrasound.

When I visited Malarky the next day, she was pretty out of it. The Fentanyl patch she was wearing for pain really made her groggy, but I was just happy that she had made it through surgery. She had to spend the next two days at the hospital while they monitored her liver values and watched for any post-op problems.

Her livers values were still elevated so she came home on Denamarin and ursodiol to help it heal. Along with some antibiotics, she came home with the Fentanyl patch on and was still a bit groggy because of it. She was also under the normal post-op restrictions- no running or playing, no jumping on or off furniture, can only go potty on a leash and must wear an Elizabethan collar to keep her from bothering her stitches. Luckily Malarky was a great patient, though she really wanted to run outside even when she was all dopey from the pain meds.

Treatment after surgery involves treating any coexisting disease. Denamarin which is milk thistle and SAM-e and ursodiol helps protect the liver. Some dogs may need to be on long term antibiotics if they are found to have a bacterial infection.

Malarky’s recovery went well and her blood work improved. Some dogs are more predisposed to developing GBM so about a month after surgery Malarky was tested and found to be hypothyroid. She started on a supplement to bring her thyroid levels back into the normal range.

Though any dog can develop gallbladder mucoceles, it seems to be seen more in small to medium sized breeds and with the average age about 10 years old. Shelties, miniature schnauzers and cocker spaniels are predisposed to developing a GBM. Certain endocrine disorders like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease are a risk factor for developing a GBM.

It took about 5 months for Malarky’s liver values to get back down to normal. She was able to come off the medication for her liver and luckily her liver values stayed normal off of them. She hasn’t had any complications from her surgery and isn’t expected to develop any. Just like in people she will be able to live her life without a gallbladder with no problems. And she’s been making up for not being able to run after surgery.

 

For more information on gallbladder mucoceles, visit:

American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Clinician’s Brief

DVM 360

Merck Manual

Caring-For-Critters2-200 (2)

The Round Robin as a relay race, each day a fellow blogger will share a post about a specify injury or illness they have experienced. Yesterday Jan from Wag ‘N Woof Pets shared a post on the Challenges of a Senior Dog. Be sure to visit The Daily Dog Blog tomorrow to read Julie’s post.

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Blog Hop Pet Health

Ferrets and Cancer

Unfortunately when it comes to cancer, ferrets get the raw end of the deal. I’ve heard the figure that 80% of ferrets will develop cancer. Looking back on all the ferrets ferrets and cancerI’ve had I think my crew has run pretty close to that number.

Ferrets can get a variety of cancers but the 3 most common cancers are insulinoma, adrenal tumors and lymphoma.

Insulinoma in Ferrets

Insulinoma is a cancer that develops in the cells of the pancreas that make insulin. The tumors make the cells secrete more insulin than normal causing the ferret’s blood glucose level to drop. The ferret then goes into a hypoglycemic episode which can progress to seizures, coma and death.

Symptoms: lethargic, weight loss, wobbly back legs, seizure, coma

Treatment: If your ferret is having a seizure or in a coma, this is an emergency. Use a q-tip to rub Karo syrup on his gums to help get his blood sugar up. Then feed a high protein meal. If your ferret is not responding to the Karo syrup, they need to see a vet quickly.

For the long term insulinoma can be managed medically by giving prednisone twice a day (pred elevates the blood glucose) and feeding high protein meals. Some people opt for surgery which removes the some of the tumors or part of the pancreas.

 

Adrenal Tumors in Ferrets

If you see a bald ferret most likely that ferret is suffering from adrenal tumors. These tumors cause a hormone imbalance that cause the hair loss as well as other changes. They tend to occur on older ferrets but younger ferrets have been known to develop them.

Symptoms: Hair loss, aggression, loss of muscle, in females an enlarged vulva, in males an enlarged prostate which can cause problems with urinating.

Treatment: Surgery to remove the diseased adrenal gland is the recommended treatment, but there are systemic medications- Lupron, melatonin and deslorelin  that help control the symptoms.

 

Lymphoma in Ferrets

Lymphoma is considered the most common cancer in ferrets. It’s extent can vary from appearing in 1 lymph node to multiple organs to involving bone marrow.

Symptoms: Lethargic, no appetite, weakness, some ferrets will show no symptoms

Treatment: The extent of disease and ferret’s health condition will determine treatment which can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and/or surgery.

 

Cancer is a horrible disease and in many cases a cure might not be possible for our ferrets. But knowing what the symptoms are can help us get veterinary care early in the disease and allow us to manage their disease and lead a comfortable life.

For more information about ferrets and their diseases including insulinoma,adrenal disease and lymphoma please visit Miami Ferret and Michigan State University.

Give Cancer the Paw
This post is part of the Give Cancer the Paw Blog Hop. Please be sure to visit the hoppers below to see what they are sharing about cancer.

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Pet Health

You Know You’re a Pet Parent When #28- Fourth of July Edition

petparentfireworks

 

I always think of my dog, Whitney, as the best first dog I could have had. She loved training, would follow me everywhere and had a number of issues we had to learn to deal with. I learned a lot while she was in my life and all my dogs have benefitted.

One of Whitney’s issues was her fear of thunderstorms and fireworks. This time of year was not fun with fireworks going off in the neighborhood days before the 4th was even here. At the time acepromazine was the go to drug used to relieve this anxiety. When we gave it, Whitney was down for the count. It completely knocked her out to the point where I was checking to make sure she was still breathing. Thank goodness for the Internet. I had just gotten online and the dog nerd in me was in heaven with all the information on it. Through an email groups I belonged to I learned about people having success using melatonin for thunderstorm/firestorm anxiety so I tried it for Whitney. What a difference! She was alert and acting like a normal dog even with thunder or fireworks going off. It continued to work through the rest of her life, although the fear seemed to disappear when she hit seniorhood and developed canine cognitive dysfunction.

These days there are quite a few ways to deal with thunderstorm/fireworks fear so if one thing doesn’t seem to be helping, you can talk to your vet about trying another. Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue shares a list of the different treatments options.

 

Have you had to deal with thunderstorm/firework fear with one of your pets? How did you reduce their anxiety?

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Pet Health

Do You Have a Fire Safety Plan for Your Pet?

Over the last few weeks, there have been several fires in our area. Fortunately, the people got out okay, but sadly in several of the blazes the family pets perished.

How often do you think about what you would do to save your pets in the event of a fire? Do you have a plan or do you think about it when you hear a story like the one above then never make it reality?

Having a fire safety plan could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.

Here are a few tips to help you put one together.'Animals Found After Fire' photo (c) 1980, Jason Bain - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

 

Prevention

  • Who doesn’t love candles? They make your house seem so homey and are a big help in getting rid of pet odor, but they are also a potential hazard. All it takes it for one to be knocked over to start a fire. Consider using a diffuser or a candle warmer to keep your home smelling nice.
  • Cooking is one of the top causes of house fires in the US. Be sure to keep your pets from getting underfoot so you don’t get distracted. And you may want to reconsider letting your cats get on the counter especially if you have a stove with an open flame.

 

Prepare

  • Have smoke detectors and make sure they are operational. The more warning you have the better chance of getting everyone out okay.
  • Place carriers in easily accessible places if you have cats, birds or small pets. For dogs make sure you have leashes nearby. With all the noise and chaos, you don’t want your pet to get loose and run away.
  • Know your pet’s normal hiding spots. If your pet is still in the house when you leave, you can let the firemen know where they like to hide.
  • If your pets are crated or caged when you aren’t home, keep them in an area close to a door so they can be rescued quickly.
  • Display a pet alert sticker so the fire department knows pets are in the house if you aren’t home. You can get a free one by sending for the Pet Safety Pack from the ASPCA.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it. Knowing what to do will make it easier for you to stay calm and do what you need to do if a fire happens.

 

If a Fire Happens

  • This is hard to say because I know how I would be, but don’t risk your life to get your pet out. Certainly get them out if they are easy to grab, but evaluate the danger and get yourself out rather than going to search for them in dangerous conditions. You will be much more helpful if you are safe and can tell the fire fighters where to look for your pet. They have the equipment that will allow them to search much better than you could. If you are trapped in the fire, you become their first priority, not your pet. Don’t make them waste time looking for you when they could be looking for your pet.

 

It doesn’t take much time; it doesn’t take much effort. But having a fire safety plan will give your pet the best chance of surviving a fire.

 

What fire safety tips can you think of to add?

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Pet Health Wellness Wednesday

Pet Dental Health: Dogs,Cats and Ferrets aren’t the Only Ones with Teeth

 

'Guinea Pig teeth' photo (c) 2011, energy2024 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Dogs, cats and ferrets aren’t the only ones who have to worry about dental care. A lot of our other pets have teeth which need to be kept in mind when it’s comes to keeping them in good health.

Rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats and chinchillas have teeth that are different from our and our pet carnivores’ teeth, they continue growing throughout their life. To stay healthy their continuously growing teeth need to stay at an appropriate length in order for them to eating properly.

Diet

How do you keep their teeth length in check? Diet plays a big part.. Eating the appropriate foods allows the teeth to wear in a normal way due to the mechanical action of the teeth chewing the food.

In rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas all their teeth- incisors, premolars and molars, continue to grow through their life. This means they need a diet that includes a fair amount of roughage like hay that gets chewed by their back teeth. A diet of just pellets doesn’t provide enough chewing action to keep the teeth in check.

Mice, rats, hamsters and gerbils have incisors that continue to grow through their life, but their premolars and molars don’t grow. The varied diet they need helps keep those incisors at the right length.

''Stelllllllaaaaaaa!'' photo (c) 2009, Carly Lesser &  Art Drauglis - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Chewing

One thing about rabbits and rodents, they chew on anything. It’s a natural inclination they have because of their continuously growing teeth. If you don’t provide objects for them to chew on, they’ll chew on whatever they can find- their cage, their bowls, your molding; your couch. To keep them healthy and protect your stuff, it’s a good idea to provide them with some safe chewies. You can find a variety in your local pet stores and online*. Keep in mind  that many items only allow your pet to chew with their front teeth. Since rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas need to chew on their back teeth too, be sure to offer safe branches and twigs for them.

Dental Problems

Malocclusion is probably the most common problem you’ll see. This is when the teeth don’t meet like they should and often results in overgrown teeth making it hard for your pet to eat. This can happen for a few reasons. The teeth or jaw may not have developed like normal so the teeth aren’t lined up as they should be. An injury to the tooth can affect how it grows as can an infection.

Cavities and periodontal disease can also occur in rabbits and rodents. These might not be as obvious so it’s important to watch for any symptoms that indicate oral pain.

A veterinarian who is familiar with caring for these pets should be consulted for dental problems. Small mouths can be hard to work in and requires some specialized equipment to be able to exam and care for the teeth. In the case of overgrown teeth, it can be tempting to want to take care of the problem at home, but trimming the teeth with clippers could result in a fracture that affects future growth of the tooth. In rabbits, guinea pigs and chinchillas it’s also possible the problem is due to misaligned teeth in the rear which will still need to be corrected.

Monitoring Your Rabbits or Rodents Teeth for Problems

There are a few things you can do to help catch dental issues before they have a big effect on your pet’s health.

  • Monitor their eating. If they are only eating certain foods (smaller or softer) or not eating much at all, their could be a dental issue.
  • Watch their weight. Weight loss can be a sign your pet is eating less due to a dental issue.
  • Check for smaller or fewer stools which can indicate your pet is eating less food.
  • Do periodic checks on their incisors(front teeth). It can be very hard to get a good look at the rear teeth, but if the bite alignment is off anywhere in the mouth, you may see a problem with the incisors too.
  • Watch for excess salivation.
  • Watch for discharge from the eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Watch for any lumps around the mouth. These could be a sign of an abscess.

If you see any of these symptoms, contact your vet as soon as possible.

Sugar Gliders

Sugar Gliders don’t have the same tooth structure as rabbits or rodents. They have 40 teeth- all are small except for 2 large incisors on the bottom. Their teeth are like ours in that they don’t grow throughout a glider’s life. Gliders can develop periodontal disease. It’s important to keep them on a good diet and steer clear of a diet that has too many carbohydrates. Monitor them for any dental problems and if you suspect a problem, be sure to see a vet who is familiar with their care.

 

Keeping an eye on your pet’s oral health is important no matter what the species. Giving them the care they need to keep their teeth healthy and monitoring them for any issues is a step in the right direction to keeping them in good health.

This post is part of the Small Pets Blog Hop Hosted by Peace Love & Whiskers. Find more small pet links by clicking on the badge.

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Pet Health Wellness Wednesday

Pet Dental Health: Whiter and Brighter

Now that we know who the enemy of good pet dental health is, how do we fight it?

'Big Yawn' photo (c) 2008, Dylan Ashe - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Well, first I’ll give you the bad news. There is nothing that is 100% effective in preventing plaque and tartar from forming. But what you can do can make a huge difference.

Brushing

Brushing will give your pet the biggest benefit in improving their oral health because it assists in removing plaque. Since it takes a few days for plaque to harden into tartar, it works best if done every day or two. And while pet toothpaste (toothpaste for humans should never be used for pets) does have some features that help make brushing easier such as added abrasives and a taste that hopefully appeals to your pet, even brushing without it will help as the mechanical action of the bristles will remove plaque.

The earlier you begin brushing teeth the better. Not only to get your pet used to it and to get you in the habit of brushing, but to reduce the damage to those fibers that connect the tooth to the surrounding tissue. This damage causes pockets around the tooth that brushing will not be able to reach.

Professional Cleaning

What do you do when there’s tartar on the teeth or when your pet has periodontal disease and deep pockets? In that case, a professional cleaning is needed. A professional cleaning is able to remove plaque and tartar that is under the gum line. Along with this removal, a  thorough exam is done to check for other dental issues like broken teeth, loose teeth, or growths in the mouth. While cavities are common in humans, they are rare in dogs, cats and ferrets, but cats can develop tooth resorption lesions. Dental x-rays may be taken to check the roots and bone for any problems.

Ann at Pawsitively Pets did a great post on what is done during a professional cleaning- An Inside Look at Teeth Cleanings for Pets. Scalers are used to get to remove plaque and tartar both above and below the gum line. The teeth are polished. Fluoride may be applied. It’s a lot like your biannual cleaning. But there is 1 big difference.

Anesthesia. To undergo a professional cleaning, your pet needs to be anesthetized. And this is something that worries a lot of pet owners. Anesthesia is never anything to take lightly, there is a risk with any procedure. But there are things your vet will do to lower the risk. Pre-op bloodwork will help rule out any systemic problems. Your vet may want to do an ECG to rule out any heart problems. They will monitor your pet’s heart rate and oxygen level while under anesthesia.

What about cleaning the teeth without anesthesia? There are places that offer scaling teeth as a service. You can even buy scalers to try and use them yourself. But is it a good thing to do?

There are a few reasons this might not be the best thing for your pet.

  • It is hard to work below the gum line on pets that are not anesthetized. It can be uncomfortable and there are times in human dentistry when local anesthesia is used for those patients with extensive periodontal disease. Trying to keep a pet still while doing this extensive cleaning can be hard and even dangerous since sharp instruments are used.
  • Since all the scaling is done above the gum line, it makes the procedure cosmetic only and still leaves a big problem since the real danger to your pet’s health resides below the gum line in the gingival pocket.
  • Scaling roughens up the enamel of the tooth making it much easier for plaque to stick. This is one of the major reason teeth are polished as part of a cleaning- to smooth the tooth surface. You are creating a kind of Catch-22- the more you scale, the more you are going to have to scale.
  • Scaling causes the release of bacteria which can enter your pet’s bloodstream. For a pet with bad oral health that can be a lot of bacteria.Some pets may need antibiotics, but someone who is not a veterinarian would not be able to evaluate your pet’s health to see if they are needed or prescribe them if they are.
  • In many states dental procedures are required to be done by a vet or under a veterinarian’s supervision. People who perform cleanings in states where the veterinary practice acts states this is the case can be considered practicing veterinary medicine without a license with a risk of fines or imprisonment. (The Pennsylvania Veterinary Practice Act considers anything that “diagnoses, treats, corrects, changes, relieves or prevents” dental conditions the practice of veterinary medicine. Practicing veterinary medicine without a license carries a penalty of  a fine of $1,000 or a prison sentence of not more than six months or both a fine and prison for a first time offense. A second offense carries a fine of $2,000 or a prison sentence of six months to 1 year or both a fine and prison.). They aren’t going  door to door to see if someone is scaling teeth in their home, but someone who is offering anesthesia-free dental care as a service could be in violation of their state’s law.

'Cookie 3' photo (c) 2010, Will Merydith - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

There may be times when a vet decides to do an anesthesia free dentistry on a pet for whom the risk of anesthesia far out ways the problems poor oral health can cause. Usually these are older pets with bad systemic problems and the odor from the periodontal disease is a huge problem, but again this is just a cosmetic issue, it won’t improve their oral health. For most pets, the potential problems from poor oral health out way the anesthetic risk.

Other Dental Products

If you go walking down the aisles at the pet store, you’ll find a variety of products that are suppose to help your pet’s teeth- rinses, water additives, chewies, treats, food. I am not an expert on these products and honestly, my mind tends to go to “well, if it really worked, my dentist would be recommending some of these things for me”.  (I haven’t seen any tooth cleaning cookies on the market for people yet, have you?) Some of them do offer some benefits like chewies. Items that get chewed have some mechanical action that helps remove plaque, but the best thing to do is ask your vet for their opinion on the best product for your pet. And remember brushing is your best bet for maintaining your pet’s dental health.

Note: It’s important to remember that anything your dog chews that is hard like a marrow bone or cow hoof could cause your dog’s teeth to fracture or damage to the pulp or root of the tooth.

Dental care is one area we can really be proactive as owners. Just taking a few minutes each day to brush their teeth can pay off greatly in keeping them in good health.

 

Part 1- Pet Dental Health: The Tooth and Nothing but the Tooth

Part 2- Pet Dental Health: Enemy, Thy Name is Plaque

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Pet Health Wellness Wednesday

Pet Dental Health: Enemy, Thy Name is Plaque

'Will's teeth' photo (c) 2007, Emma Jane Hogbin - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

When it comes to oral health, there is one enemy that can cause a whole mess of problems- plaque. A sticky, invisible substance made of bacteria and food particles, it forms over the teeth. As it sits there it combines with the minerals in saliva over several days to form the hard brown deposit known as tartar or calculus. It continues to develop, adding new layers to the tartar. While it certainly looks ugly, what you are seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.

While the tartar is forming, below the gum line toxins from the bacteria in the plaque causing irritation and destroy the tissue surrounding the roots. This is known as periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the early form of this disease where the gums are inflamed, and swollen but tissue destruction hasn’t begun. With proper care, gingivitis can be reversed. Periodontitis is the later form where the fibers that keep the tooth in place are destroyed causing deep pockets around the root. Bone destruction may even occur. At this stage teeth become loose and can cause pain. Periodontitis can not be reversed, but with proper care, further destruction can be slowed or prevented.

The tissue destruction gives the bacteria access to the blood vessels sending the bacteria through the body in the blood system. This bacteria has  been shown to have an effect on the heart, liver and kidneys. High bacteria levels in the blood can also make it hard to regulate a diabetic pet’s blood glucose.

Periodontal disease is considered the most common disease in adult dogs and cats, but as you can see it doesn’t just stop at the mouth. Good oral health can help keep your pet in good general health. Next week I’ll write about how periodontal disease is treated and what steps you can take to prevent it.

 

Did you miss Part 1? Check out  Pet Dental Health: The Tooth and Nothing but the Tooth

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PA Legislature Pet Health

Rabies Vaccine Exemption Bill Before PA Senate

About 3 years, Ricochet was diagnosed with immune mediated hemolytic anemia. His immune system began to destroy his red blood cells. Why this was happening, we had no clue. He hadn’t received any vaccines or injections. He wasn’t on medication. For whatever reason his immune system decided to go on the attack targeting his red blood cells.

It took 6 months for his red blood cell count to get back to a normal number using immunosuppressive drugs. Fortunately, he never got the the point of needing a transfusion.  But the worry isn’t over. Now I worry that anything he is given could set his immune system off again. I worry most about vaccines since they work by stimulating the immune system.

Fifteen states have medical exemptions for the rabies vaccine- Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin. A medical exemption means that a pet would be exempt if the pet has a condition that could be make worse or fatal by receiving the rabies vaccine that is required by law in that state. The specifics of the exemption varies in each of the 15 states.

In December, Senator Greenleaf reintroduced a bill that would allow this exemption for dogs in Pennsylvania. SB 155 goes before the state Senate on Monday, February 11th for consideration. The bill requires a veterinarian to examine the dog or cat and complete a form stating the pet is exempt. This must be repeated each year for the pet to remain exempt. You can help dogs like Ricochet by contacting our state senators and asking them to support the passing of this bill.

Pennsylvania is one of the top states for rabies cases so it is important to to maintain your pet’s rabies vaccine according to the state law if they are not exempt. Owners who don’t comply can receive a citation.

Trust me I’m not a fan of too many vaccines either having lost a cat to vaccine-associated sarcoma, but I also know what a scare it can be to be exposed to rabies. The Rabies Challenge Fund is working to have the time between rabies vaccines extended to 5-7 years. Visit their site to learn more about the fund including how you can help plus stay updated on legislature in your state.

 

UPDATE: The bill passed and was signed into law by Gov. Corbett on 7/9/2013! It’s important to remember that your vet must examine your dog or cat and complete a form each year in order for the exemption  to be legal. You can find specifics in the bill.