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Rear End Paralysis

Back problems, hind end weakness, and rear-end paralysis are becoming an alarmingly common problem in older dogs – and in younger dogs as well.   These symptoms are commonly attributed to stress or wear and tear (in working or sport dogs for example) or to an accident the owner must have just not seen happen.  Certainly this may be so in some or even many cases.  But there is research that indicates a much more serious potential cause behind all of this and that is what I wish to discuss here.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from a friend telling me she had to put one of her dogs to sleep.  He had been going down hill for a while (he was around 12) and was showing lameness and rear-end paralysis that would come and go.  There was no obvious reason for this and his symptoms were attributed to old age.  When he finally went down and couldn’t get up for 2 days, they decided it was time to say good-bye.

Two months ago I received a phone call from a different friend with the same story.  Her 12 year-old dog had lost the use of her hind end suddenly about 1.5 years ago, but recovered for a while.  They said good-bye to her just before Christmas.  Again, they had no idea why – she just suddenly went down and couldn’t get up.  When the dog first developed the problem – which came on very suddenly - she was given Metacam for a week (a non-steroidal anti-inflamatory drug that vets give out like candy as it suppresses pain and inflammation and as such is perceived as a quick fix miracle drug for mystery illnesses, despite the multitude of adverse reactions the FDA has compiled on this drug (AKA Meloxicam), but I digress…) and she was more or less back to her old self, only wobblier.

At that point, I was contacted for ideas about why this might be happening.  I was just getting into my vaccine research at the time, and so had a hunch that that was a good place to start.  Sure enough I came across article after article discussing the correlation between rabies vaccines and hind-end paralysis.  The Canine Health Census for example – an on-going health survey of thousands of dogs in the UK – discovered that 69% of those who developed rear-end paralysis did so within 3 months of being vaccinated.  Of course correlation does not equate causation and that must always be kept in mind, but this is a very significant number in statistical terms and certainly indicates that the possibility should be taken seriously.

Earlier today someone I know mentioned that her dog was being treated for a sore back.  When I provided the above information, she said that in fact her dog had first developed the problem after being given a rabies booster last spring.  That got me to thinking about my old Jake.  I always say he died of kidney failure because that was the disease he was fighting when I put him down.  But I actually euthanized him because of rear-end paralysis.

I first noticed Jake’s hind end becoming weaker when he was around 8 years old, which forced me to retire him from most rigorous activity.  That was also when his other health problems first started to be apparent as well.  I knew nothing about the dangers of vaccines at the time, but my gut told me to not to repeat them after that and thankfully I didn’t.  Jake had had an acute attack of rear-end paralysis (not long after his yearly vaccines) and could barely move for weeks.  I spent thousands on tests and diagnostics, with no results.  He did recover and since I never revaccinated, he never had another acute episode.  But he did go steadily down hill and eventually become paralyzed 4 years later.  I never put two and two together until tonight.

The dog who died before Christmas also recovered from her initial acute episode, but then deteriorated gradually over the next 18 months.  She was 11 when the problem started and her owner opted out of revaccinating after that, prompted by the information I came up with.  Most likely that gave the dog an extra year of life, as yet another friend of mine had the same situation with her dog, only she revaccinated.  He had regained much of his mobility between rounds of shots, but his back end went out permanently almost immediately after receiving the ‘booster,’ and had to be euthanized.  I felt horrible telling her about this information when it was too late.

I have been mulling this over this evening and am increasingly disturbed by the number of dogs I know personally – now at least 5 – who have been impacted by this life threatening condition most likely caused by the rabies vaccine.  The World Health Organization considers a reaction of one in 10,000 unacceptable in humans.  I don’t know 10 000 dogs, yet I know 5 at least (most likely many more) who have had this reaction.  This effect is not rare by any stretch of the imagination.  What’s going on here?!

The rabies vaccine causes demyelination – the self-destruction of the insulation around the nerves – of the central nervous system.  This disrupts the signals being passed by the nerves and leads many of the  physical and mental problems we see in dogs today: reactiveness, fear, aggression, obsessions, paralysis, epilepsy, phobias and so on and so forth.  If you Google “rear end paralysis rabies” or “demyelination rabies vaccine” you will come up with a plethora of information.  If you Google “rabies vaccinosis” you will come up with even more.

There is no shortage of research on humans that directly links the rabies vaccine to the de-myelination of the central nervous system.  Much of this comes from India, where rabies is common and large numbers of people are vaccinated after being bitten by animals.  Many subsequently develop a plethora of neurological and autoimmune problems ranging from acute de-myelination disorders to Multiple Sclerosis type symptoms and so on.

Some reports conclude that the incidence rate of de-myelination related paralysis in humans receiving rabies vaccines may be has high as 1 in 300.  Certainly it’s not a stretch to argue that a similar rate may be true for animals.  And if that incidence rate after a single vaccine is correct, it is no wonder so many dogs I know are suffering.  By age 10 the average dog would have received 10 rabies shots, leading to a 1 in 30 chance of developing this condition.  This is much more in keeping with what I have sadly observed.

Thank goodness the Rabies Challenge has started and will hopefully lead to a change in our laws.  Rabies is the only vaccine required by law, yet it is the most damaging and dangerous to our pets.  Much more research is needed, and in the meantime, this mindless and completely unnecessary yearly re-vaccinating must STOP.  If you are trying to decide whether or not to give your dog his or her yearly rabies vaccine (or even 3-year update), please consider getting a titer instead.  Yet another friend of mine did a titer on her 9 year old dog – who had been vaccinated for rabies 9 times over the course of her life – and the test results showed antibodies at 2700 times the required level to be considered “immune.”  TWENTY SEVEN HUNDRED TIMES.  Poor dog.  No wonder she acts all but rabid.


I always recommend homeopathic approaches to healing first and foremost.  However, if you don’t have access to a skilled, professional, classical homeopath, here is a study that offers a method of conventional medical treatment that may be worth discussing with your vet.

For more information, here are additional articles I’ve written – which include links to even more info –  expanding this very important topic:

Treating Rear-End Paralysis with Homeopathy – A Case in Progress
How and Why Vaccines Can Lead to De-myelination
Symptoms of Rabies Vaccinosis
Rear-End Paralysis Revisited


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68 Responses

  1. Hi,

    Can someone tell me who wrote this wonderful article? One of the best summaries I’ve seen.



  2. Thanks Pat. Glad you enjoyed. I wrote that myself.

  3. Wish I had read this article 2 months ago. Just put down my 11 year old Bernese for sudden digestive problems and hind-end paralysis. He was completely healthy at his check-up and vaccination 2 months ago. I’m forwarding your article to anyone I know with a dog.

  4. Oh Allison – I’m so sorry to hear this. How absolutely heartbreaking. I’ve had more hits on this entry than any other on my blog, from people searching for understanding as to why their dogs are loosing – or have lost – their hind ends. It is such a horribly common problem, yet few seem to be seeing any correlation between this and vaccines. I too wish I knew ‘then’ what I know now with my old Jake. My heart goes out to you.

  5. I wish I had know this information sooner. In Sept 2006 I had to put my 14.5 year old African Bush Dog down. One morning he woke up and his hind legs would not work. There was no feeling nor motion. The hair on his legs was falling out by the hand full. (Reminded me of when my husband had his 1st few doses of Chemo for his cancer.) Caleb was in no pain and was scared to death. For 2 years he had been having problems with his legs just slidding out from under him (spread eagle). He never cried out but I would have to go and pick him up get his legs under him then off he would go. I now wander if the vacines were the problem. Joshua (Caleb’s brother) is now 16.5 and he is having problems with his hind legs. He has had 4 strokes since Caleb died. How can I get arround the law that requires a 3 year rabies vacine?

  6. Susan – another heartbreaking story. My old Jake would also do the spread eagle thing as his hind end went out on him and it used to really break my heart. I had all hardwood floors but bought runners and throw rugs to place all over the house so he could move through it without wiping out.

    Regarding the law, no vet in their right mind should vaccinate a 16.5 year old dog. Furthermore, it states very clearly in any literature put out by the vax companies themselves (I kept the insert from some vaccines I purchased somewhere and will transcribe and post it when I find it) that only animals in perfect health should be vaccinated. A dog who’s had 4 strokes definitely has a chronic health condition that absolutely should preclude him ever being vaccinated again. Your vet should be quite willing to write you a health waiver to that effect. If s-he is not, find another vet!

  7. Well, Well, I am glad someone has finally clued into this. I have lost 9 dogs to rear end paralasis. Did not clue in until three years ago, when my last boy reacted to Rabies and to this day has problems knowing which side of the door opens. He will stand for hours in a corner staring up at the wall and bark at it. He had started the lameness over a year ago. I have worked very hard building up his immune system and doing t-touch, acupressure and massage on him. He now is not limping and he is single tracking again and is much more like a young dog again, he is 10. I don’t vaccinate my dogs anymore. Good fresh homecooked meals and supplements have make world of difference in both my dogs. Nancy

  8. Oh Nancy – how horrible! 9 dogs? Yes, this is sadly extremely common. I think even way more common than I suggest in this post. In fact I believe most dogs today who are vaccinated even once, but especially multiple times for rabies will develop mental and physical symptoms to one degree or another. Just last week a friend told me that she adopted out a dog with strict instructions not to vaccinate. The adoptive home ignored her warning and 3.5 weeks later the dog developed an inoperable tumour on his spine, near the injection site, and had to be put to sleep.

    Regarding your current dog, homeopathy may be able to help. Given the extent of the damage you described, as well as his age, the improvements may be less than in a younger dog, but I’ll bet it will improve his capacity to think at the very least. It’s important to find a professional homeopath who practices classically (i.e. finds a single remedy that takes into consideration the totality of the symptoms – mental and physical – and then gives the minimal dose necessary, repeated only as required, never by predetermined frequency or time).

    One of these days I’ll write up my page on homeopathy, but I’m happy to discuss further if you are interested. To start here are some helpful resources:

    A brief primer:

    A very detailed primer:

    One of the best introductions I have come across to both homeopathic understanding of health and disease, and to homeopathy itself is to be found in the first two chapters of Don Hamilton’s book “Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs” (http://www.homeopathic.com/store/product=1035)

    Best of luck with your dog! May he continue to improve and regain health.

  9. Hello
    I totally agree with your article here and just wanted to let you know that I also lost my 6 yr old Bernese Mountain Dog 1 year ago to rear end paralysis, however he was actually diagnosed with Aseptic Meningitis via a spinal tap. His condition first presented within 3 weeks of his annual vaccination and an anaesthetic he had at the same time, personally I have never thought this was a coincidence. I have researched this to enth degree to try and understand what happened to my beautiful Barney. It does seem that the immune system over reacted to the immunisation and start to attack itself, the only twist here is that I live in Australia and we don’t have rabies, thus we don’t vaccinate against it, we vaccinate against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and kennel cough.

  10. I wish I had read this article earlier. I took my 14 year old Chow mix girl in last Tuesday for her annual check up, heartworm test, CBC and exam. I’m all for minimizing vaccinations in animals but our county has gotten very strict about having the rabies vaccination and send notices. After the 3rd notice you get fined.

    So I opted for the 3 year so she would never have to get it again. This was at 3 pm on Tuesday. Wednesday at lunch she stoped walking. By 4 pm that after noon we were at the best veterinarian hospital in GA (GA Vet Specialist) and she was compeletly paralyzed. She has had her ups and downs since then but finally stood up on her own today. It makes me furious that these vaccinations are so dangerous and the vets are opting to “overlook” that they could be the cause of this.

    What can we do about changing this? I know the buzz is going around at the vet schools, but are the old timer vets ever going to jump on board? I have spent THOUSANDS on tests and care over the past 5 days for my girl, and I just don’t know what I’m going to do if I don’t get to bring her back home.

  11. Sarah – I’m so sorry to hear about your dog. Please don’t give up on her! I would suggest getting in touch with a good classical homeopath and having her treated homeopathically. You could also try other types of ‘body work’ that involve energy: Reiki, chiropractics, perhaps acupuncture. I really don’t think there’s anything that conventional medicine can do to reverse the damage at this point.

    As for what can be done about preventing this in the future, I think supporting the Rabies Challenge Fund (www.rabieschallengefund.org) Is extremely important as they are actively trying to prove that repeated rabies vaccines are not necessary. I would also suggest looking into your bylaws and seeing if titers may be an option. It may be something you have to fight for, but titers are increasingly being accepted in lieu of vaccines in many places. Finally, some vets may be open to learning more if you provide them with some good articles. I find that some of the really experienced vets still remember when they used to only do puppy shots and that was it for life. If your vet won’t listen, then find another vet. There are plenty of them out there to choose from!

    Sending positive energy to you and your girl. Hang in there!

  12. Sharon, how heartbreaking about your dog. I understand Berners tend to be very sensitive and often die quite young. I really believe this is due to an over-sensitivity to all the drugs and chemicals they are administered on a routine basis. Some breeds simply are more reactive than others, and the large breeds tend to be more likely than small breeds to develop problems. It doesn’t have to be this way. I know someone who feeds raw and doesn’t vaccinate or use flea, tick & heartworm meds, and her great danes live routinely to be 15 years old. That is all but unheard of in the breed otherwise.

    I agree that the combination of the vaccines and the anesthetic may have suppressed her immune system to the point of causing the meningitis symptoms. Meningitis is a common side effect of vaccines and I’ve seen it before. I think it is more commonly produced by rabies, but distemper is also a neurological disease and affects the central nervous system. While there are clusters of symptoms associated with each vaccine, there is also a lot of overlap. I think this is likely because some of the damage by vaccines is caused by the process of vaccination itself, and the other chemicals in what is being injected, not just the virus. I have a friend who is an immunologist and she has explained this to me in detail. I must get her to repeat it all so I can write it down and post here.

    I just don’t understand why it is such a common practice to vaccinate at the same time as performing surgery or some other procedure or event (like being in a shelter or kennel) that stresses the immune system. It says right on the box the vaccines come in that they should only ever be administered to perfectly healthy animals. How can an animal be perfectly healthy right after surgery (for example)? Vets need to open their eyes to this very damaging practice and understand that the immune system must be treated with care.

    Again, I’m so sorry about Barney. My heart goes out to you both.

  13. Very nice written report. My problem is where do you get the information from regarding dogs in the UK being vaccinated against Rabies. It just doesn’t happen. We don’t do rabies as there is not a rabies problem in the UK and never has been. we do vaccinate against all the other problems with boosters every year which is just far too much, but if one wants to go on Holiday and leave the dogs in the boarding kennels they have to be up to date with their shots.
    Mikadene Mike

  14. Mike – thank you for bringing to my attention that the way I presented the information is somewhat misleading. My discussion is indeed about the rabies vaccine, but that particular quote was about vaccines in general. You can find the original quote in paragraph nine here: http://www.bogartsdaddy.com/Bouvier/health/vaccination-concerns-uk.htm

    The information comes from Canine Health Concerns:

    If you read through this website it will give a tremendous amount of detail on how vaccines damage the body. Rabies is not the only one that causes demyelination of the central nervous system and other neurological disorders which can lead to hind end weakness or paralysis. It is, however, from everything I read, the one most likely to cause this problem.

    One more point, some dogs in the UK do get vaccinated for rabies, specifically any who travel out of and into the country. Many dogs travel with their families on vacation, and also for competition, for breeding, imported dogs and so on. So there will still be a significant pool of dogs who receive the rabies vaccine – especially purebreds – even in the UK. It’s too bad the survey doesn’t give more specific details on this point, i.e. to see which vaccines specifically the dogs received prior to the development of their hind-end weakness. Often they get so many vaccines at once that it is all but impossible to guess.

  15. I’m surprised to discover that dogs have to be vaccinated against rabies in the UK. They don’t in NZ. But that hasn’t stopped two of my dogs from developing back/hindquarter troubles. It can be a problem with Dachshunds. Both recovered, though one had the problem twice. We had to put him down just before his 17th birthday, but it was nothing to do with his back. Krystal is now 14 and recovered fully, though because of her age she has lost the elegant walk typical of dachsies. On my web site you can read the story of how we fought to get her walking again.

  16. Hi Laraine – I’m so glad that your little Krystal regained the use of her hind legs! I just read her story, and you are obviously very dedicated to work so hard at helping her get back on her feet, quite literally!

    I suspect from what is described on your website that her back issue is more a structural problem that has come from the overly long backs that Dachshunds have developed through breeding, and not a vaccine related issue. Certainly dogs can become paralyzed for many reasons, and trauma to the back or prolapsed disks can be causes as well. Many would have given up in your case, and you didn’t. Krystal is very lucky to have you! May she bring you many more years of happiness.

  17. My 5 month old Border Collie lost the use of his hind legs just 9 days after being vaccinated. I suspected this, but my Vet doesn’t have any experience with this, but I know it is what caused his paralysis. I’m hoping it’s not permanent because at times Rocco wil get up and walk pretty normal. Then a few hours later, he can’t move his real end. I will never vaccinate my pets again. USA

  18. My 5 yr old Lab mix is also showing rear end paralysis. We lost her best friend in Aug and I attributed her sudden health issues to depression. She was due for her Rabies shot and was also having issues with allergies. My vet gave her the Rabies shot, nothing else. I took her to a different vet and he gave her a shot for the sever allergies she was experiencing. A couple of days later I took her back to the vet and had blood work done on her. Her levels of everything was so out of wack, he diagnosed her with diabetes and kidney disease. I started giving her insulin and montoring her blood sugar. Did a curve and got weird results. We put her on an antibiotic which seem to help. Had another blood test done 3 weeks later and all of the issues that she had before were gone. Only issue remaining was anemia. She is doing somewhat better but her legs do not work at least once a day. It is mostly back end but has affected her front legs a couple of times. She has been wobbly for several months now which I attributed to the fact that she lost 24 lbs and did not eat for 9 days after her shot. She is off and on as far as eating goes. still throws up occasionally. She is no longer on insulin, as diabetes was ruled out. Blood sugar is normal again. She is still anemic though by the color of her gums and tongue. Can I attrubute these symtoms to the rabies shot? Or is there something else that I should be looking at? The vet doesn’t seem to have any experience or ideas with what is wrong with her.

  19. Dear Donna,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your dog’s health issues. There seems to me to be a very strong correlation between the vaccine and her health issues. Dogs certainly can become depressed due to loss, but if she stopped eating for 9 days immediately after the shot, and lost 24lbs, and developed temporary symptoms of diabetes and kidney failure, I’d be considering something beyond depression here. Now were her problems caused by the vaccine, or just made worse by it? That is hard, if not impossible, to know for certain. It’s also impossible to know what component of the vaccine may be involved. As such, if she were my dog I would never vaccinate her again (for anything). If you are concerned about her level of immunity, you can certainly run titer tests instead. Most vaccines last for life in dogs, just like in humans.

    Clearly your dog’s immune system is very weak right now. It was either made weak by the vaccine, or it was already weak and when it was depressed by the vaccine, all these symptoms came to the surface. Either way, I would strongly encourage you to do everything you can to support her immune system and allow her body to heal itself to the best of its ability. That means making sure first and foremost that she’s on a high quality diet (ideally raw), that she get plenty of love, exercise, fresh air, low stress environment and that you avoid giving her any and all chemicals. This includes not only vaccines but flea and tick chemicals, heartworm meds and antibiotics.

    Regarding antibiotics, while they do serve to kill bacterial overgrowths, they don’t address the reason the overgrowth happened in the first place. They are also not selective and kill the good bacteria as well. As much as 70% of our immune system comes from the healthy bacteria in our gut, and antibiotics wipe those out, leaving us very vulnerable to other infections (requiring more antibiotics and so on). Since she was recently on a course of these drugs, if she was my dog I would give her pro-biotics mixed with a live-bacteria plan yogurt (this helps get it to the gut, as the pills alone will be denatured in the stomach) to help get things back in balance.

    Hopefully a healthy diet and life free of chemicals will do wonders for her, but if she continues to have health problems I’d consider finding a good holistic vet or (ideally in my opinion) a classical homeopath, to help get her back on track. Best of luck and feel free to let me know what you are trying and how things are going.

  20. Hi, I read your article with interest. I live in Sydney, Australia and we, thank goodness, do not have rabies. I know of people here that have had reactions to vaccinations in general. Thank goodness I have not had any and I say this with a great deal of experience as I have bred, exhibited and loved dachshunds from 1960 to 1990 and am now owned by 2 min. long haired dachshunds, one is 12, and the other is 14. I also have a min. poodle who is 14 and is going blind. He also has a problem with his back legs spreading on slippery floors, he also has a bit of trouble getting his back legs under him when he wants to get out of his chair. I wonder if that is caused by vaccinations or just old age?

  21. Hi Valerie –
    Thanks for taking the time to read my thoughts. How lucky that you don’t have to vaccinate for rabies! Other vaccines cause damage as well, however, as you have noted. Certainly vaccines in general – i.e. not just the rabies vaccine – can cause autoimmune problems, including arthritis which can also lead to rear-end weakness. Of course there could be other factors as well. I do not believe that “old age” necessarily entails the body falling apart like this. Plus 14 is not that old for a miniature poodle so I would question what could be causing his deterioration. Is he raw fed? What other chemicals has he been, or is he being exposed to? Do you treat for fleas, ticks or heartworm? And so on. In my opinion, it’s never too late to change these factors and if you can identify what may be pushing him downhill, you may be able to at least slow things down.

  22. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and answer my questions. I took my dog to the vet and she is into homopathy and was very open to the possibilities of vacinosis. She went so far as to call the manufaturer of the vacine and they offered to cover $1500 toward treatment and diagnosis of her. Unfortunately the start was too little to late. She died yesterday morning. I had a necropsy done to try and get some answers as to why as my other dog that just passed died from cancer. Wanted to make sure it wasn’t something enviromental that was killing them. Her final diagnosis was Addison’s disease, She could not find her adrinal glands, they were completely gone. Doing research on this also does not rule out the possibility of vacinosis as the auto immune effects could have caused this. I guess the reason I am writing back is so that other people who read your site may look into the possibility of Addison’s before it is too late. The symptoms are not clear cut and mock alot of different issues and is very hard to diagnose, I wish I had the information that I have now and could have done the test sooner and maybe she would still be alive today. Once again, thank you for taking the time to do this website and keeping the information out there for other pet owners.

  23. Oh Donna – I’m so, so sorry to hear this! You must be just devastated. I am actually just doing some research into the impact of adrenal malfunction and am discovering a lot of really interesting information that is making so many things much, much clearer. I am in the process of putting an article together about it and I will post it once I do. It may take me a little while to finish, however. You may find the following article a very helpful place to start. It talks about how failing adrenals cause lower back problems and other muscular weakness, and also how mercury (an ingredient in many vaccines) pools in the adrenals and destroys their ability to function. Furthermore, Addison’s is an autoimmune disease, where the body attacks the adrenals, and vaccines are definitely linked to autoimmune diseases in general as they are designed to stimulate an acute immune reaction.


    This has a lot of good general level info as well:

    My heart goes out to you. Do take care and also feel free to share anything you learn as well. People need to understand what’s going on!!

  24. Hi —

    I just ran across your blog through a google search while trying to find causes for — you guessed it — why my 15 year old’s hind end is all of a sudden so much worse. She also had a digestive upset a few nights ago, which seems to be one of the other symptoms you mentioned. This really has me thinking. Mollie is possibly an English Shepherd cross who adopted me at the shelter when she was 2-2 1/2 months old. She is now about 74 pounds in her old age but was 80-83 when younger and stronger.

    A few days ago my Mollie was bouncy for her age, bringing us her toys to throw for her, etc. I thought perhaps she strained something as we got about 8″ of snow about the time she started “giving out” hind-end wise. After reading your blog I am rethinking this because she just had a DHLLP shot about 3 weeks ago. I have been getting them only the basic shots of DHLPP and Rabies on a 3 year cycle, with Lymes for one pup who came up positive in a tick titre, but I am certainly going to be doing some serious research before anyone gets anything again.

    We’ve used homeopathy on our furbabies and ourselves for many years. It is our primary system for wellness care. It saved our old Labby from intestinal surgery (due to wolfing grass when it rained after a prolonged drought) when the vet’s emetic did absolutely nothing. Within 15 minutes of the first dose, things started moving. 24 hours (and a huge mess) later, he was 100% fine and looking for something new to eat. (Typical Labby!) I include this as encouragement to anyone who may be considering homeopathy but is still doubtful about whether something so gentle can have any effect.

    Over the years, our results have been remarkable with the pups. We also use supplements from Springtime, Inc. which are also amazing. Fresh Factors and Joint Health Formula are what we get. Fresh Factors gave my mother’s dog an additional four years past the date the vet thought she would have to be put down. Adding Joint Health has really helped Mollie be more bouncy without being on pain meds like so many her age.

    While I am not “trained,” I am fairly experienced in using homeopathy, so my question is — what remedies would you suggest for the hind end weakness or to counteract the effects of the vaccine? I do NOT mean to ask this as “medical advice.” Absolutely not. I am asking as one dog lover to another who just wants to help my baby feel better — and me, too, as I tend to be a wreck when one of them is hurting or ill. ;-)

    We are trying arsenicum album as our first possibility, especially as her demeanor seems to match the physical symptoms. Usually that it my “squits” remedy for them, but her overall depressed quality coupled with debility and a mention of paralysis of lower limbs with atrophy seems to indicate it as a good choice. That and the thought that if the shot poisoned her, so to speak, the arsenicum album might be best to help her system throw that off.

    Apologies for length. Feel free to email me instead, if you prefer! Thank you for posting your article! All the best to you and yours.

  25. Hi Mollie’s Mom – I’m so sorry to hear about Mollie’s hind end problems. I have to say I continue to be shocked by veterinarians who will vaccinate a dog of that age. It is not only unnecessary, but extremely dangerous, as you (and so many others) have found out the hard way.

    I am going to write a post to respond to your comment because I’d like to make the information more visible for others to read. I will write more shortly and put the link here in this comment, once I finish composing my response.

  26. Thanks! I will look forward to your reply. I plan to bring up the vaccine reaction issue when we take her to the vet tomorrow to get checked out.

    An update re trying the arsenicum album: Within about 4 hours of the first dose, her eyes and demeanor had improved such that she was back to wanting to trot around a bit when she went out and even brought a few toys to play with, although her back end is still not doing what she tells it to do. She is still very wobbly and falls or sits down abruptly but seems much more herself spirit wise, which is a good improvement over yesterday morning.

    Are there any ways to counteract the vaccine? Has anyone used milk thistle on dogs to know the amount? I have a very sensitive system myself and have reactions to most drugs (like hives for a year) which have only cleared when I started taking milk thistle to support the liver.

    Thanks again. I look forward to reading what you have to say!

  27. Hi Mollie’s Mom – I’m glad to hear that the Arsenicum seems to have helped make her better. No doubt there is some level of poisoning going on, especially with the extremely toxic chemicals contained in most vaccines.

    Regarding counteracting the vaccine, I’m afraid I don’t have any specific suggestions. Certainly supporting her immune system as best you can through nutrition and elimination of all other toxins in her environment will help her considerably. I’d be careful administering herbal remedies in case you give her something that may stress or distract her system from dealing with its current problem. That said, it is possible that something like Milk Thistle may be beneficial – since working with homeopathy, I have stopped giving herbals as they can interfere with how remedies work. I have so far found homeopathy to help to such a degree that, other than nutritional supplements (i.e. cod liver oil on occasion), I don’t give them any supplements or herbals anymore.

    I would strongly urge you to seek a professional, classical homeopath to help treat her hind end issues. What Mollie is experiencing is likely much more than an acute response to the current vaccines she received. Likely it is the culmination of all the vaccines she’s had in her life. As such, her issues are going to be deeply constitutional and complex to determine. In my opinion, simply focusing on the rubric “weakness in the lower limbs” is not going to be sufficient to find the correct remedy. I wrote about this here if you’d like to read more about my thoughts on the complexity of constitutional treatment:


    Naturally the hind end problem will likely rank high in determining what remedy she needs, but again, I think you will need a classical homeopath to help figure this out. I really wouldn’t know where to begin offering suggestions as I so far have not worked with such a case. I am going to email you some options in case you wish to pursue treatment at that level.

    Please keep me posted on how Mollie is doing, and feel free to share anything you discover about helping her recover. Given the number of hits this article receives every day, there are many, many others who may be helped as a result.

  28. I just discovered your blog while searching for causes of sudden rear leg weakness in dogs. I don’t think the cause is related to a rabies vaccine because her last vaccine was in 2007 and the symptoms just started recently (last 2 months). But I wonder if you could shed some light on what I am seeing with my almost 11 year old German Shepherd.

    About 6 weeks ago she went off her food two times – it was just for a day, and then she seemed better. About 3 weeks ago she had 2 days of very restless behavior – she would not rest, and appeared to be having belly pain. I brought her to my vet and blood work, urinalysis and Xrays of her belly and spine were done. The blood work and urinalysis came back normal. The Xray showed pretty severe arthritis of her low back and a suspicious shadow on he spleen on one of the views. I opted not to do further testing with the spleen because I would choose not to treat a sarcoma at this point in her life if it is indeed that…the vet also wondered about a gastric ulcer because my dog has been taking Duramax for several years now (she takes 75mg QD … she weighs 90# which I know sounds heavy in a female…but she is not overweight, just a very large boned dog). We began treating her with Prilosec (40mg) and Tramadol (2 pills BID). This seemed to help – her restlessness stopped and she became brighter. I did notice that the evening after the vet visit she seemed stiff in her hind quarters and I thought maybe she had tweaked her back being lifted for the Xrays.

    Anyway, last night she stood up to walk and suddenly her rear legs scissored and became almost spastic. She immediately lost control of her hind quarters and fell. She seemed almost paralyzed. My husband and I had to partially lift her to get her to her bed where she slept well through the night. She is able to walk today, but she is VERY wobbling and has almost fallen several times. She is eating normally.

    Here is my question: could this be related to cancer? Or is it possible she sustained an acute injury of her back? I am not really sure what to do…I do not want to do extensive testing at the vet. I want her to be comfortable and obviously, to be able to walk. Do you have any thoughts?

    Thanks…sorry this was so long!

  29. OH, I meant to add in my last post…this is a retired search and rescue dog who is VERY stoic. She is a high drive dog, even at he current age, and gets pretty peeved at me if I try to assist her (I get a withering look)…so she has never shown pain or disability like other dogs I’ve had.

  30. Wendy – how is your dog doing? Any improvement? I’m sorry to be slow in replying, but I wanted to take some time to think things through and also to look up the drugs the vet is giving your dog as I am not familiar with them. As I understand it, the Deramaxx is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug for her arthritis pain in her spine? And then the Prilosec is for the possibility of a gastric ulcer (commonly caused by Deramaxx, according to their website) and the Tramadol is a pain killer. From what I read on the internet, Tramadol is a narcotic, a very serious heavy duty-drug that is not to be administered for more than a few days and has really serious side effects. One person described it as like taking speed (it is also given to humans, typically for a few days post-op). I suppose one possibility is that it is interfering with her sense of balance or neurological system in some other way.

    Please remember that I am not a vet, nor have I met your dog, so all I can do is make a few guesses. Your dog does remind me of what my old Jake went through. First he had “arthritic spurs” in his spine that caused him a lot of pain. Next he was on a NSAID for several years. The drugs masked his pain, but his hind end got weaker and weaker. Eventually he was diagnosed with kidney failure and had to stop all the drugs. Turns out the drugs I gave him had actually served to make his condition worse, so I would suggest looking into alternative options as soon as possible. With Jake, I started with acupuncture. That did wonders for his pain management, and within 2 sessions I was able to wean him off all prescription drugs and he never took them again (he lived about a year after this point).

    In my research on kidney problems, I discovered a strong correlation between kidney failure and hind end weakness. Is there a causal link? I don’t know. It is much more commonly seen in cats, so you may find more info looking there (I haven’t researched this in several years now). Considering the meds your dog has been on, kidney failure is one possibility. Derramaxx apparently can cause – or exacerbate – kidney disease. Of note, kidney failure may not show up in bloodwork until the kidneys are up to 75% gone. Jake’s bloodwork came back normal in August, and was in acute kidney failure by November.

    Another thought is, while it has been 2 years since her last rabies shot, she’s had this spinal problem for longer than that. Many people who have written in to this post discuss an acute reaction to a vaccine, as that is when they really notice it and put 2 and 2 together more clearly. But the demyelination of the central nervous system can take place very slowly, over years. Especially in a stoic dog who will not show his or her symptoms. Jake was just such a dog and I can only imagine the pain he endured. No wonder he was such a grumpy guy in the end!

    I think your vet is grasping at straws and administering all those heavy drugs to cover all bases. I believe this shot-gun approach to be very harmful, but it is extremely common. I would be very surprised if the problem is a back injury. Cancer? Perhaps, given the shadow on the x-ray. Cancer could certainly interfere with neurological function, or be a part of it. I understand and respect your desire not to pursue diagnostics. I spent thousands on Jake, and got no answers other than he was terminal. And all the anesthetic etc. that we gave him served to make him sicker. It’s not a route that I would follow again.

    I expect you are facing a tough choice of giving her the drugs and likely shortening her life, but allowing her to live pain free, and trying alternatives. I had great results with acupuncture around the pain, but it didn’t do much to help with his weakened hind end and kidney failure. (I’m not really sure anything could have.) As always, I encourage people to find a good homeopath and to try homeopathy. If you would like to go this route, I can give you the name of someone to work with via email. If you choose to continue to medicate her, that is a viable option as well. At some point, pain management may be the best option. I’m sure your heart will guide you well. I’ll be keeping you both in my thoughts.

  31. Hi again – thank you for your response. My dog began improving about 48 hours after that scary event. She seemed to get stronger each day and is now back at what I would consider her baseline (in terms of activity). She has not appeared in pain, but as you point out…we have her on some pretty heavy pain meds. I tried to wean her off the pain medication, but was unsuccessful in doing that (within 2 days of just reducing the Tramadol a little, she began to act like she was having pain again). It is interesting you suggest Acupuncture because I made a call on Monday to a vet who is a certified Acupuncturist. She treated my dog many years ago for a muscle injury and I was amazed at the results (and my dog loves her!). She is going to evaluate Caribou on Thursday afternoon and hopefully she will have some good input.

    I agree that my primary vet is using a shotgun approach. I’m not happy giving Caribou Prilosec when I have no idea if she has an ulcer (and it seems unlikely she has an ulcer because she has been on Duramaxx a long time and has not had any alteration in her blood work or ill effects…oh, and as far as kidney failure, there is none at this time…her urinalysis came back perfect). I’d like to get her off the Tramadol and hope acupuncture might be the key.

    This has been a tough few weeks for me. I hate giving Caribou all these meds, but I also want her to be comfortable. When she takes the Tramadol she seems like her old self – plays with her toys, smiles and is generally happy. She will be 11 years old next month, and I have no idea how long she has with me – but I want it to be a good quality life for as long as possible. I cannot bear the thought of losing her right now – I am struggling with all these decisions.

    Thanks again for your input, I truly appreciate it.

  32. Hi again Wendy – I’m so glad to hear that Caribou is hanging in there and that the meds are making her feel better. Sometimes palliative care is the best option, making sure she’s able to enjoy a good quality of life with what time she has left.

    Please keep in mind that good blood work does not mean that everything is fine. Kidneys can be up to 75% gone before the blood work will show any problem. This is true of other types of organ failure, and even cancer. But at this point, I don’t think this is your biggest concern. Keeping her happy and comfortable, and making sure the time you have together is good quality and enjoyable is definitely paramount. And in my experience, love is the most powerful medicine of all.

    The best advice I received when Jake was sick was that if I really listened to my heart, it would guide me well. I am so glad I listened to my heart, and not to all the many voices and opinions that rained down on me over those months. I had a lot of tough decisions to make, but I knew in my heart what was best for me, and for Jake. You will know the same I’m sure. May you still have happy times with Caribou, and please do keep me posted on how she does with the acupuncture and soon.

  33. Thank you for your compassionate support…sadly I lost my beautiful girl tonight. I brought her to the vet who was the certified acupuncturist and she confirmed (with ultrasound) what we were suspecting – a large spleen tumor. Caribou took a turn for the worse tonight – began hemorrhaging and quickly went downhill. The vet drove out to our home to ease her passing. It is with great sadness I write this – my heart feels simply broken. But I know I did all I could for my girl and I was with her when she passed.

  34. Oh Wendy! My heart goes out to you. I’m so, so sorry that you have lost your best friend and so quickly. I hope you can find peace in knowing that she had a wonderful quality of life right to the end, and that you were able to alleviate her suffering and help her pass swiftly. And how wonderful that your vet came to your home – I know how much that helps both us, and our dear friends who must depart. I know that words cannot help heal your broken heart, but please know that my heart aches for you and with you. Caribou has left her tired body, but she will not truly leave your side until you are ready to let her go. She will help you through this. Love and peace to both of you,

  35. Wendy,

    Please accept my condolences on the loss of your beloved friend. Although our loved ones leave our physical side, they never leave our hearts. May you be comforted in this time of loss and grief.

  36. Thank you Helene and Mollie’s Mom…it is one of the hardest things to go through. My heart is broken. Caribou had a huge personality and presence and her absence is palpable even though we still have our Golden Retriever (Argus) and the two cats.

    Helene: A comfort is that I have felt Caribou’s presence at my side since her death – I feel like she is still with me and that is something…I only wish I could press my face into her neck again and smell her wonderful doggie smell and feel the comforting beat of her heart beneath my fingers. We have our buddies for far too short a time, don’t we?

  37. Dear Wendy – They do stay with us for as long as we need them. I’ve been meaning to write about my experiences with Jake in that respect. It was the six year anniversary of his passing a couple of weeks ago and I got to thinking of all the ways he made it clear to me that he was still with me. I wasn’t quite up to writing the post that week, but I will. Jake stayed for a very, very long time. Until Ross came into my life and took over the job of healing my heart. I know Jake will be with me always, but I no longer feel him at my side, or sleeping on my bed. He’s moved on, knowing I’m well taken care of, but I can still connect with his spirit when I need him.

    I found a poem about this experience which I posted at the end of the post I wrote about Jake last January (http://shapingchaos.wordpress.com/2008/01/14/five-years/) It touched me deeply and still brings tears to my eyes when I read it, but also lightens my heart.

  38. This is a very interesting perspective. I have an 11 year old black lab, that has been with me 24/7 since he was 2 months old. In the last couple of years his back-end has become weaker. He’s been very active his whole life, since I train horses, he has been active on the farm. I stopped vaccinating him at around the age of five. I never believed in how much animals are vaccinated, including my horses, but with them there is not a lot of choice. So, for my dog, there isn’t really a vaccine correlation with his deteriorating hind end. Is it just the active life and his age?

    He was given meds by the vet, equivalent to medicam, but it did nothing. I don’t think it is skeletal. When I feel the muscles on his hind legs, they feel as if they are atrophying. Someone suggested acupuncture. Any suggestions. He is so healthy otherwise, want him with me as long as possible.

    Thanks for any help.

    • Hi, Vincent,

      Yay! Another Lab lover! We had a rescued Lab we loved so much. He lived to a ripe old age, nearly 13, despite having major health issues for the last half of his life, including a heart condition.

      I am so sorry to hear your buddy is experiencing some weakness. All us dogs lovers need magic wands to whisk away whatever ails our beloved friends!!

      As for the weakness, we took our Labby for acupuncture as he had some painless nerve condition very near the end. It did help him, though his time was near. Your Lab would probably have more impressive results since he is in good shape otherwise. Ours had had major health issues for about 7 years by that time and was nearly 14.

      What helped him A LOT earlier (starting in 2000) were products from Springtime, Inc. out of Cockeysville, MD. The products were recommended to my parents to help their white shepherd who had a lot of pain and was about to have to be put down. The products did so well she amazed the vet, and they had another 4 years with her until she passed quietly in her sleep at home. They did so much for her that we put our pups on them when our Labby had surgery and arthritis and needed a boost. I used to threaten him that I’d cut him back when I’d be looking at him eye to eye as he bounced all over wanting to go out. ;-) And when he died he was still ALL BLACK except for a tiny gray goatee and a little gray between his paw pads — he sure looked a lot younger than 14!!

      They are supplements, not drugs, and while all the letters seem so glowing they must be faked, I have to say our pups have been on their Fresh Factors for about nine years. Our oldest is almost 16, only needs pain meds (meloxicam/Mobic) on an as needed basis, and is still up for a walk around the pond or DEMANDING I take her with me out to the garden. Some days she is slower, but other days she is trotting on ahead and telling me that I am too slow. She still wants to play, still manages to go upstairs unassisted, and while she sleeps deeper, you expect that at nearly 16!! She’s really healthy for her age, especially as a large dog. (Her top peak weight was around 80 lbs.)Once she recovered from the vaccination last winter (see above posts if you want), she has done really well.

      We feed our pups Fresh Factors and mix in the Joint Health Powder with their food, made by Solid Gold (solidgoldhealth.com). (That’s the only food we found that our Spaniel is not allergic to.) I cook for Mollie as kibble is a little hard at her age, so it is even easier to mix in the powder. Even though my husband lost his job, the Fresh Factors and Joint Health supplement have been an expense we refused to cut. It really helps them, and the younger ones (6 1/2 and 7 1/2) still act more like 2 or 3. No one believes they are their real ages.

      Our vet also suggested that we take Mollie on gentle walks on lead to make sure she does not just amble but actually uses those muscles. She prefers to wander and sniff and go her own pace, so I do some of both to keep us both happier.

      Our neighbors take their 10 yr old Shepherd with hind end issues to water bath therapy. I think they do acupuncture with him, too. The therapy seems to help him, and they notice when he does not go.

      I hope some of this might be helpful for you. Please accept my best wishes for a long and healthy life for both you and your beloved Labby.

      Mollie’s Mom

  39. Sorry — I fat-fingered it. He was nearly 14 when he passed, not 13.

  40. I have a 14 1/2 year old white shepherd / husky mix who had the rabies vaccination on Saturday morning (Nov. 7, 2009). By Saturday afternoon, he was shivering and urinated on the floor. By Saturday night he was limping and stiff. Sunday morning he started to lose control of his hind legs and by Sunday night he could no longer support his weight at all for any length of time by himself. Today he’s not able to control his urine long enough to be carried outside to go and it looks like he’s probably not going to make it through this episode. He’s had the rabies vaccination before, several time in 14+ years, but he never reacted adversely so I didn’t consider side-effects before taking him for the shot. My comment would be to consider the general health of your animal before vaccinating. It’s important to know what may happen. Apparently, the vaccination should only be given to “healthy” animals and the vet should be the one to make the determination. One look at my old dog should have put up a flag. I didn’t know how dangerous this vaccination could be. That’s my own doing. Get educated! I don’t blame the vet, he said that he’d never seen a reaction like I was describing. However, it does happen…I am here as proof.

    • Oh Tina, what a horror story! I really hope your dog hangs in there and pulls through. I wish I knew enough about homeopathy to recommend a remedy that can help. I do know that studies have shown that in cases of sudden onset of paralysis after a rabies vaccine, prednisone can stop the progression and settle the auto-immune attack. You may wish to discuss this with your vet. Here is a link to the study:


      I will keep you both in my thoughts and pray that your dog recovers.

  41. Tina — I am so very sorry to hear about your pup’s problems. My thoughts are with you. My Mollie did rebound after her reaction to the vaccine, so I hope your baby will, too.

    All the best to you both.

    • Mollie’s Mom – that is wonderful news about Mollie. I have thought of you two and wondered how she’s doing. I’m so glad to hear she’s hanging in there. It’s good to know there can be hope.

  42. Thanks for the thoughts! Mollie is still doing well — she was just in here a moment ago demanding to know where her supper is. LOL I started cooking for her some time ago since that is what gets her to eat well. The vet might throw a hissy that she is not on a “balanced” kibble, but I figure at her age it is like George Burns and his cigars. Let her have what she wants to eat — within reason. She gets protein, veggies, and usually rice or oats, sometimes egg noodles. She has some Mobic (meloxicam) for days when she really needs it, but mostly she does quite well on just the Joint Health and Fresh Factors. The vet said to make sure she gets a regular walk to keep her hind muscles stronger rather than just a meander around the yard sniffing, so we take our walks around the yard and pond. She demands those, too! She’ll even trot and sometimes lope along, a truly miracle rebound for a nearly 16 year old large breed pup. I am so thankful to have her with me still.

    So thank you again very much. This thread was a real godsend right when we needed it!!

  43. I have a 14 yr old dalmation. The other day she wasnt moving, so I went out to look at her and she didnt look right. She wont walk, but I finally got her in to her bed. Later on I noticed she couldnt use her back legs. I brought her to the vets they said she had high fever and a virus on her spine cord. How they figured that out I do not know. They ran a lime test that was neg and 2 other test which were neg. Vet said to give her medicine for a week and hope her legs come back. If not he said I have to decided what to do. I am at a lost, she is part of the family and so hard to decide. I been giving her the medicine for 2 days and nothing has changed with her legs. Need help in know what is going on and help on what to do? Can someone help me understand and figure this out? thank you so much

    • Sue – I am so sorry to hear about this. Can you think of anything that might have led to your dog’s illness? Has she recently been vaccinated or exposed to any chemicals (such as flea and tick medication or something in her environment like a pesticide?) How about any changes in her food? If you can identify anything that might be stressing her immune system, that might help in determining what’s going on.

      I am not a medical practitioner and cannot offer medical advice, but I would encourage you to not make any decisions too quickly. Often dogs recover from these situations, even older ones, with love and time and attention. Read some of the comments above, especially the few by Molly’s Mom right before yours. I would encourage you to look into holistic means of supporting your dog’s immune system, especially homeopathy. Please keep us posted and I’ll be keeping you and your dog in my thoughts.

  44. Sue,

    I am so sorry to hear that your baby is experiencing such difficulty. It just rips your heart out not to be able to make it all better for them. I wish we all had magic wands we could just wave and fix their problems immediately.

    Re the possibility of tick borne illness/virus –

    We had a Springer Spaniel who suddenly went downhill at about age 14 or so. She got misdiagnosed by a vet as having bone cancer when it turned out to be a tick borne virus. She’d start to get a little better on anti-biotics for an ear infection they found at the same time, then back down when the Rx stopped. Had they caught it sooner, we could have had her with us longer. A lyme titre is NOT the full comprehensive tick titre. Sometimes pups come up positive on the titre just from having had the vaccine. There is a more in depth test available. Make sure that is the one you had done. And if it was not, or if your vet will not or cannot do it, find one who can even if you have to go to a University Veterinary program. There’s quite a few nasty tick borne diseases out there that they CAN check for now, much more efficiently than they could at the time we lost our Springer.

    Also — I know this is people rather than pooch, but a friend of ours has just gone through 3 1/2 months of a UTI that they only now discovered is resistant to oral antibiotics. He went through a catheter, prostate surgery, ER trips, and other unpleasantness all the while saying, “I HAVE an infection…I don’t feel right!” to the doctors. FINALLY one listened and ordered a Blood Culture. He has had to go for shots each day, 2x a day for two weeks, but he began improving dramatically VERY shortly after getting the first few.

    SO — since they HAVE identified a virus as causing a problem, make sure your pup gets tested to make sure it is not one that is resistant to oral antibiotics. That could be why the med is not causing her to improve. It sure was with our friend! I would not wait a week to do this. If no improvement has occurred in 3-4 days, that is reason enough to me to start calling the vet. The viruses and bacteria are getting better and better about getting around what we use to fight them because of the overuse of antibiotics and meds in general. Some also do not work for certain dogs. Cephalexin, for instance, never did squat for our Labby’s recurrent infections in some non-absorbable sutures from a surgery — it only put him off his feed, which is HARD to do for a Lab! I will not accept it for any of my dogs now.

    Another thought — I’m no vet, but perhaps it is possible that the virus and or some infection might be causing some swelling or pressure on an area to affect the paralysis?? I’ve also known of Doxies who have temporarily lost hind end motor ability due to spinal issues and who subsequently recovered once the issue abated.

    The biggest things you can do to help your sweetie fight are to lavish love on her, keep as positive as you can, and explore every avenue to help her get well. Remember that YOU are the one who most wants to see her well, so if that means you have to push on the vets to get tests or answers, push on ‘em. It really IS a matter of life and death, something a good vet will understand and work with you on all the way.

    A multi-faceted approach can help, especially once the infection/virus is under control and you know where you are. If you have a good homeopath or animal acupuncturist, they can work on her while she is under conventional vet care and then come up with a plan for recovery as well.

    All the best to you and your baby, and to your family as you all go through this scary time. Love on her and UP those positive endorphins for you all. And I hope this does not offend you in any way, but I’ll send up a prayer on her behalf, too. I do all the time when my babies need it. ;-)

  45. A small update on my Mollie — well more a recipe from her, actually. :-) Mollie’s new meal of choice is ground beef mixed with quick oats (NOT instant) and vegetables, with some herbal seasoning. We had been varying it with an egg noodles-eggs-veggies mixture until I realized that wheat might have been contributing to any inflammation like it often does with humans. We’ve been phasing her off wheat. I know some folks feed raw, but for those of you who do not but might want a non-wheat based recipe for any older or arthritic pup, this one has gone over well with Mollie. The oats seem to help her stool stay solid and her tummy on an even keel. Modify to suit your pup’s taste or your beliefs. This is only with the idea of sharing what is working for us, not a prescription of any kind!

    I take a pound of locally raised ground beef (or turkey or chicken), 3-4 eggs, a healthy glug of olive oil, diced/chopped veggies (cabbage, peppers, peas, beans, carrots, cauliflower — she loves any of them), garlic powder, and maybe a little poultry seasoning or the like and mix it all together with enough quick oats (the kind that cook faster because they are smaller flakes NOT the kind that is precooked) to make a wet meatloaf consistency. I then spread it out about 2 inches deep in a lightly greased casserole or 13×9 pan and bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes, or until done. We cut off a chunk of it, crumble it up for her, add her supplements, and a little water. She slurps it down well — no more coaxing her to finish up unless she is REALLY full.

    Her weight is holding maybe even gaining slightly now that she is eating well again, and she is doing great for a nearly 16 yr old large breed pup. She even moves better than a Golden HALF her age that I saw recently.

  46. I have a 9 yr old Maltese that became paralyzed on 12/13/2009. We took her to the vet and they kept her until 12/15/2009. She came home and we are trying to keep her “stable” with little movement in hopes to gain movement in her back legs. She is taking pretnisone and appears to be in good spirits. We are having to currently “express” in order to let her relieve her bladder. We were told there is about a 65-70% chance of recovery. This could take 1-6 weeks, etc..
    What kind of progress should we be looking for as I do not want to become too optimistic, but really want her to get better soon?
    Coincidently, she received her yearly vaccinations sometime within the last 2 months or so…..

    Thank you,

    • Hi Greg,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your Maltese. I sure hope that she is able to regain function in her hind end. It is not a coincidence that this happened shortly after being vaccinated, as I’m sure you know. The vaccines very likely are the cause of this. It sounds like your vet has seen this before and hopefully will start to put two and two together. However, with all the denial going on around this issue, it is possible he or she will ignore the correlation.

      It’s hard to say how long this will take as from what I’ve seen, read and heard, every case is different. I think it also depends on what the problem is. If it is sudden inflammation, then the prednisone should act pretty quickly. If the problem is that the body is attacking the myelin sheaths of the central nervous system (you can actually do bloodwork to test for this) then this will have to grow back. The rate (and level of success) will likely depend on how much damage there is, and how well the prednisone is suppressing the immune system. The prednisone is stopping the body from attacking itself (which is important), but it will also slow down the regeneration process. Just a guess, but in an extreme case you might not see improvement until after the course of prednisone is complete. The idea is that the prednisone will settle things down, then hopefully healing can take place.

      All this to say, don’t give up on her and give her time. You might want to look into a homeopathic vet to help supoprt her immune system through all of this. Homeopathy boosts the immune system and can help with regeneration and with getting things back into balance after both the vaccine damage and the predinosone damage. Pred seems to be the only drug that might help in these cases, but it is a very dangerous and damaging drug in itself and is best kept to a minimum.

      If you have time to post updates on what you are trying and how she is doing, please do! Any information you can share will be helpful to others facing the same situation.

      Sending positive thoughts and energy for her quick recovery!

  47. What are the repercussions if you break the law by not vaccinating a dog for rabies [other than the risk of getting it]? I get the sense that the vaccine is more harmful as the dog ages and it accumulates in its system. My dog showed many of the symptoms you mention by age 14 plus, cognitive problems and Cushing’s disease and soon thereafter her back legs gave in. In the end her canine dignity was really compromised – she’d always pooped under a bush -
    and although she ate and drank and was affectionate as always, I felt her fighting spirit was almost all that was left [she survived parvovirus as a puppy] and we let her go on December 28. How can we avoid the dangers of vaccinosis in the future?

    • Hi Eric,
      I’m not exactly sure what the repercussions are. I believe that depends on where you are located. I think in many places you might get a fine for not having your dog up to date on its rabies vaccine, but probably nothing more serious than that unless your dog actually bites someone. If the dog bites someone and is not current on its shots, then it may face euthanasia (so that they can dissect its brain and determine if the dog was rabid). This is more likely for dogs who have never received a rabies vaccine. If a dog has been vaccinated, but is just out of date, and bites someone, then I’m not exactly sure what might happen. Likely it depends on the local authorities.

      I would agree that vaccines appear to accumulate in the system, and at some point push the life force over a threshold that it has a hard time recovering from (if at all). The only way to avoid vaccinosis is to not vaccinate. Rabies is the only vaccine that is required by law, but unfortunately it appears to be the one with the most serious side effects (of note I also believe that distemper vaccines also cause many of the neurological problems seen in dogs).

      To avoid (re)vaccinating your dog there are several options. One, you can just not do it and hope that your dog never bites anyone and that you never get caught. Dogs who have received multiple rabies vaccines are more likely to bite, so avoiding the vaccine may avoid the problem altogether. Two, you can see if your region will accept titers in lieu of vaccines. This is becoming increasingly common (and is an option where I live, thank goodness!). You can get titers done at a very reasonable price at http://www.hemopet.com. Three, you can find a vet who will write a medical waiver for you (very hard to find but they’re out there and growing in number).

      Finally, you can support The Rabies Challenge (http://www.rabieschallengefund.org/) which is trying to prove that a single rabies vaccine administered at the age of 6 months (and no rabies shot should ever be given any younger than that!!) will last a minimum of 5 – 7 years. I’m hoping that once their study reaches that point that they will continue along and prove that one shot lasts for life. Smaller scale studies have already made this clear.

      For more information, I would encourage you to check out this webpage, read some of the links and consider joining the yahoo group listed at the bottom of the page. This is what got me started on my vaccine education, and I’ve never looked back: http://www.truthaboutvaccines.org/index.html

      I’m very sorry about your dog. What a kindness that you were able to help her to rest while keeping her dignity. May she rest in peace and her spirit guide you to your next canine companion.

  48. [...] is her raison d’être.) and was alarmed by her findings, which she talks about at length in a blog post on her own [...]

  49. Oh My God! I knew it all along! My 7 year old maltese is very healthy. About a month ago, I went to WALGREENS in Daytona Beach/Ormond area and got her vaccinated with anti rabies, distemper and bordatela. About 2 weeks later, my dog could barely walk, her back legs got weak and would sometimes spread eagle and couldn’t hold on to our kitchen tiles. She wobbles, and walks like a jello, disoriented and sleeps a lot. SHE WASNT LIKE THAT BEFORE SHE GOT THE VACCINES!!!! Im so devastated! Why are we allowing the VETS and DRUG companies kill our precious dogs!!! WHY?? Please, how can we organize to STOP THESE VACCINATIONS which are killing our dogs!!!! I went to the VET and he said my dog has arthritis! How can my dog suddenly turn from a healthy dog to an almost paralyzed dog in just 2 weeks? The only significant event that occured that I remember was when she got her VACCINATIONS!!! OMG! I wish I did my research! I hope my dog survives this! I would rather go to jail than get my dog vaccinated again in the future!

    • First of all, do NOT lose hope. Your pup is not elderly and thus would have much better reserves to recover from this episode. Sometimes, too, sorry to say, some vets can tend to get slightly shirty that you went elsewhere for vaccines to save money and can perhaps not put all they could into their diagnosis or care.

      The main thing is to figure out what is really going on because then you can have an idea of how to approach recovery — aside from now knowing about the danger of the vaccines. Don’t feel bad about that either — we all believed we were doing the best for our beloved dogs. Most of us are on here because we found out the hard way.

      I also had a vet grossly misdiagnose our 7+ year old Labrador — said the reason he was wobbly and having trouble with balance and motion was because he had a knee problem that would require surgery. He treated me like I was a complete moron to push his point. I wasn’t buying it but did not know what else to do. Then when it got worse after hours and we went to an emergency vet, it turned out the poor guy had HEART problems. He had to stay overnight to get stabilized and be on meds the rest of his life, but he was nearly 14 when we lost him.

      For that reason, I would suggest that you get an opinion from a different vet in a different practice. There are a number of things that could cause the issues you mention and I would not be surprised if it had all been kicked off by vaccines. However, because of our experience and the way heart problems can hide, you may need to push to get them to check that out.

      You can also check a little yourself. The cardiologist taught us to check our Lab’s gums for how fast the blood returned as a way of checking how he was doing re blood flow. The info between the lines below is what I found on the http://www.loveofbreeds.com site that explains how to do this and what it means.

      This is your baby, so don’t be afraid to push to get answers. Our furry family wishes you all the best. Blessings on you and your pup. I hope this is resolved soon and that you have MANY more happy years together.
      Gum Color & What it could mean

      Pink = Normal

      Pale to White = Anemia or Shock

      Blue = Smoke inhalation or suffocation.

      Bright cherry red = Carbon monoxide poisoning or heatstroke.

      Yellow =Liver problems.

      Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that lie near the surface of the skin. They’re easiest to see in your pet’s gums above the teeth. The capillaries are what give this tissue its normal pink color. You can judge the condition of your pets blood circulation bya capillary refill test. To do this, lift your pets upper lip and press the flat of your finger against the nonpigmented, pink gum tissue. This temporarily squeezes blood in that spot out of the capillaries and blocks the normal flow. Quickly remove the pressure, and you’ll see a white, finger-shaped mark on the gum. use the second hand on your watch to time how long it takes for the pink color to flood back into the white spot- that’s the capillary refill time.

      To assess the condition of your pet’s circulation, use these guidelines:

      1-2 seconds -refill time is normal

      2-4 seconds-moderate to poor, possible dehydration or shock.

      More than 4 seconds- VET IMMEDIATELY

      Less than 1 second- VET IMMEDIATELY- heatstroke

      • Hi Mollie’s Mom – Thanks for your words of encouragement and all this info. It’s so good to hear from someone who continues to battle for their dog and who is making headway!

        Regarding vaccines triggering other underlying conditions, my homeopath gave me an interesting way to look at health problems. She explained that, from a homeopathic perspective, there is only one disease. Conventional medicine has thousands of labels for different diseases, but a homeopathic understanding is that the body is either ‘at ease’ or it is at Dis-Ease. In other words, our life force is either in balance or it is not. If it is not in balance, the body tries to get back into balance. This is what the symptoms that we experience are: the body trying to get back into balance. Different individuals will express different collections of symptoms. There will be patterns as there is a finite number of options, and modern medicine labels those patters with names, and then focuses on those specific symptoms. Most of the focus is on how to suppress the symptoms, which works against the body and keeps it in a state of dis-ease.

        When we vaccinate, this pushes the life force into a state of dis-ease. Some can return to a state of balance on their own, but some cannot. With every vaccine given, the body has to work harder at getting back to a state of ease. This is where we often see subtle symptoms crop up: itchy skin, digestive upset, picky appetites, weird behaviours like pica or water obsession and so on. These are big red flags that most of us miss. The next step is for more serious symptoms, like -in your dog’s case – heart problems. Or in the case of Mollie or Koko, rear end paralysis.

        Unfortunately by this point the body is often unable to get back into balance and, confused, starts to do things like attack itself. Sometimes conventional drugs can hold this at bay – such as with prednisone that causes the immune system to shut down completely. This can work but also can cause serious side effects in the process. Homeopathic treatment works with the body – not against it – and thus is the most likely approach to helping with vaccine reactions. Indeed, I have read more than once that homeopathy is really the only way to reverse vaccine damage in any serious way.

        Just a few more ideas to think about – I found this all very interesting and wanted to share. I hope Mollie continues to do well and thanks again for being so supportive to others struggling with this horrible condition.

    • Dear Koko – what a tragedy about your dog. How is she doing? Mollie’s Mom is right – don’t give up on her. Hopefully she will recover and there may be things that can be done to help speed that along. I do agree that a doctor might be able to identify something that can help, but I am a big advocate of trying holistic routes. As Albert Einstein said “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” In this case, I do not believe that drugs can fix a problem caused by drugs.

      If you can find a good homeopath, I would recommend trying that route. You want to find someone who is experienced with this type of problem. If you would like help finding a homeopathic vet to work with, let me know and I’ll see if I can come up with some names. You can join the yahoo group “Truth About Vaccines” which is a very good support group for vaccine reactions. The owner of the list is a homeopath and can help or direct you to other homeopaths.

      As for what we can do, the Rabies Challenge is trying to prove that repeated vaccination is not necessary. They are in their third year of a hopefully 7 year project that is in need of funding since of course no company or government will fund such research. Their goal is to change the laws around rabies vaccines. You can learn more about this project at http://www.rabieschallengefund.org. They also have a very helpful facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Rabies-Challenge-Fund/119106981159?ref=nf.

      Please keep us posted on how your dog is doing and I’l be sending positive energy for her recovery!

  50. Hi there-

    I appreciate this information. My dog has not been vaccinated for the past 6 years. He is 18 years old now and is having tremendous problems with hind end lameness and left leg paralysis-like issues. I recently bought him a Walkin’ Wheels cart. He is still getting used to it. I don’t know what to do. I was going to try Rimadyl for the first time for a brief trial run. We see a neurologist on April 5 but I am wary of putting him under anesthesia for the MRI. I read that Vitamin E is good for issues like degenerative myelopathy (if that is what this is). However, in people, supplemental Vitamin E is not recommended. I don;t know how to help my dog. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Michelle – I’m so sorry to have taken so long in replying. You are to bring your dog in for his test on Monday – are you still going ahead with this? I would also be weary of putting him under anesthetic. To be quite frank, if they find something, will you be able to operate? Will he be up to it? This is a very expensive procedure to undergo (I hope you have insurance!) – have you discussed with your vet what he or she might find and what can be done about it? You might wish to carefully consider the risks if this MRI is simply to satisfy curiosity.

      Regarding what can help, diet is definitely a good place to start. I always recommend a raw diet and then giving this time to work. I believe that homeopathy can help, and is a relatively inexpensive and non-invasive approach. I have found that acupuncture is very effective for pain management. How did he respond to the Rimadyl? That may give some indication of what’s going on. Massage and chiropractics are also excellent options for both healing and pain management.

      Please let me know how he’s doing and what the MRI reveals if you proceed with it. I’d also be very interested to learn what your vet recommends once a diagnosis is made. I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts on Monday and hoping for positive news.

      • Hi there,

        That is quite alright. =) I have been quite progressive in my dog’s treatment. I decided against the MRI for the same reason you cited. I did not think it was worth the risk of putting him under anesthesia. I also decided against Rimadyl because he simply is not in pain. Contrarily, he feels very little in his hind end, and it is worse on his left side. He seems to be in late stages degenerative myelopathy. I came across this website that perfectly explains what we have been experiencing:


        We are following Dr. Clemmons’ supplementation protocol for degenerative myelopathy:


        My baby has been doing GREAT with his Walkin’ Wheels cart. I have it set up so he still uses his legs but relies on the cart for extra support. We started slowly but he is now able to take several steps on his own and he can recover on his own when he collapses (most of the time). Usually, he walks around long enough to go to the bathroom. He also started getting up to get water when he is inside. He starts swimming next week (just waiting for the life jacket). He simply is not ready to give up – he is a trooper. Here is a video of him. I wish I had before and after video because this really is remarkable:

        Thanks for your response and I will keep you posted. Thank you for this website. =)


        • In my reply I wrote: “We started slowly but he is now able to take several steps on his own and he can recover on his own when he collapses (most of the time). Usually, he walks around long enough to go to the bathroom. He also started getting up to get water when he is inside. ”

          I meant that he is able to walk without the cart!! In the cart he is at a fast pace now, just under a jog pace, especially if I have a treat in my hand. =)

        • Hi Michelle,

          Oh my goodness, what a sweetie! He still has quite a sparkle in his eye when he comes to get his treats. I bet that the exercise he is getting because of the cart is helping him tremendously!

          Thanks for the links to more info on DM. The protocol listed is very interesting. The homemade diet is a great idea – is the meat served raw? It should be. I would avoid the rice and the tofu. Rice because dogs cannot digest grain; it is just used as a filler. I used to feed grain and noticed that when I cut it out, the only thing that changed is that I fed less volume to my dogs. I kept the amount of meat the same, and they didn’t lose weight. Not only that, when I gave them rice again months later, they couldn’t digest it – it just came out the other end whole. That made it clear to me that their bodies do not naturally process this stuff, and anything that requires extra energy to process is taking away from that energy going to more important things.

          The same is true for tofu – it is not a species appropriate food. Not only that, but 95% of soy is genetically mofidifed, and every time we we eat something that is GMO, our bodies exhibit an immune reaction (stimulation). Since he is suffering from an autoimmune disease, you’ll obviously want to avoid any unnecessary immune stimulation. Indeed, if you can feed grass fed meat (i.e. the animal was never fed any grain, just raised on pasture) that would be ideal. I am convinced that eating meat from animals that ate GMO corn (which most grocery store meat is) can still cause problem in sensitive individuals. I see this in one of my cats, who his allergic to grain. If I feed him grain-fed meat, he still has mild allergies. Grass-fed meat also contains the correct balance of Omega-3 & 6, which eliminates (or reduces) the need to supplement.

          Instead of adding in bonemeal, you can give him meat on the bone. This is good for teeth, and a better source of calcium, plus includes the healthy stuff found in marrow. I always start with chicken parts as these bones are very soft and easy for the dog to consume. Here are a couple of links that offer really good information about this kind of feeding:


          Did you read my latest post on Jack, the dog suffering from DM-like symptoms that my friend and I were working to help? He has made a full recovery, which I documented in this blog (here’s the latest entry: http://shapingchaos.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/rear-end-paralysis-a-case-study-in-homeopathy-a-happy-ending/). He’s a much younger dog, but this will hopefully give you hope for your little man.

          Please do keep me posted on how he’s doing! Bless you for working hard to help such a old dog. So many would give up on him, but he clearly has plenty of life still in him! And thanks especially for sharing that video. What a trooper! :)

  51. Hi, Shapingchaos!

    I found your website while looking for reasons why my 15 yr old female bichon ( Zoe) has all of a sudden become almost paralyzed in her hind legs. I’m curious, are you just a very concerned pet owner or do you treat animals homeopathically?

    Zoe did get a 3 yr rabies shot on 5/17/10, which was MY decision – I do not blame anyone but myself for this. Zoe and her two little sisters ( Morgan 9 and Piper 2) go to a lot of dog functions that require a rabies cert in order to be allowed to attend. In my positive thinking , it is my hope that Zoe with all of her underlying issues (enlarged heart, high blood pressure., failing kidneys, one kidney stone in each kidney, slight cataracts, slight CDO) will reach 18, and would need that 3 yr shot. After reading your blog on this, I am almost convinced that the rabies shot has led to her current problem.

    The day after the shot, she kept going in her bed to lie down alone in another room. She no longer tried to jump on the furniture and her tail was always between her legs. She still had a ravenous appetite, was drinking, urinating and defacating without a problem. I had told my Vet about her symptoms and he gave her a shot of prednisone about a week or so later . Within 2 days she was back to normal. Within the next few weeks she was doing it again and now she was sliding on her back legs. I know she’s getting up there and I have Pergo flooring- I just assumed this was normal. I told my Vet I thought her back legs were going and I tried the pad decals, which seemed to help. He said it was great if we did not have to give her anything medically. I bought her booties and they were working too, until Sunday 7/11/10. She couldn’t even stand up. I called my Vet on Monday and started her on prednisone pills that evening. She showed slight improvement by Tues, but yesterday she could hardly pull hersef up. She is paper trained and pottys on trays in my home. Last night she woke me up crying because she couldn’t make it off of the tray alone. She is 10.8 lbs, slightly underweight due to her kidney issues. She is still, eating, drinking, and eliminating as necessary – not even any accidents! However, she is truly scaring the hell out of me! The nearest homeopathic vet is 45 mins away from me and they are closed before I get home from work. All of my girls eat a raw diet of Northwestern Naturals dog food and it definately helped with Morgan’s Cushing’s, which is practically non-existant now. I am not completely sold on the whole homeopathic thing as drug substitutions. I myself have had back surgery and was on prednisone then. We are going to the Vet again on Sat. for possibly some testing- to make sure that there is nothing else causing this. I have complete faith in my Vet, to know him is to love him.

    Please keep Zoe in your prayers – her 15th b-day is tomorrow :)

    Thanks for listening!

    • Hi Tammy – I am terribly sorry to hear about Zoe’s plight. I will be interested to hear what your vet has to say after her appointment today. I think there’s a pretty strong chance that the rabies shot has pushed her over the edge. Vaccines are designed to divert the immune system from everything that it is doing to focus on building antibodies around the injected virus. So even if the vaccine didn’t cause anything ‘new’ it would allow any present conditions to get worse as the immune system focuses on its new assignment.

      Even though you say it was your choice to give her a rabies vaccine, it is medical malpractice on the part of your vet to have gone alone with this, or to at least to have not advised against it. With her age and previous diagnoses, no medical professional should have agreed to vaccinate her without at least warning you of the danger. Vaccine producers will state clearly that vaccines should only ever be given to patients in good health.

      In terms of reversing the damage, the only conventional option that I know if is predinsone. Since you are already going that route you will know quickly if that works. Prednisone will be very hard on her kidneys, and health in general, so it’s not a course of action you should continue for any length of time. Again your vet should be able to advise you on this matter.

      In my experience, homeopathy can be extremely effective. However it’s necessary to find an experienced classical homeopath for it to work well. Many people who administer homeopathic remedies do not have the training to use it properly.

      I would recommend joining the yahoo group “truthaboutvaccines” The webpage seems to be down right now for some reason, but this group was a very helpful place for me when I first started my research. Another group that may be of interest is “jstsayno2vaccs.”

      Good luck with getting Zoe back to health, and please do let me know how she’s doing if you have time to do so. Happy 15th birthday Zoe!

  52. Hi, Shapingchaos!

    It was determined on Sat 7/17 that Zoe would need to see a Neurologist asap. She was admitted to the hospital on Mon 7/19 and returned home Wed 7/21. It truly has been sheer Hell. Apparently, she has 7 herniated discs in her back, so I do not think the rabies shot played a big part in this afterall- just coincidence in timing (??). The Neurologist said thats she does have deep pain sensation ( which is good) and slight motor in her left rear leg. After an ECG and EKG it was determined that surgery would not be an option due to a murmur, arythmia, and an enlarged heart. She would never survive 2-3 hrs of anesthesia and was only given a 5% chance of walking again after surgery.

    She was put on Prednisone, (which will end next week), a pain killer ( which ended 7/25), a muscle relaxer, Pepcid AC,and 6 different heart medications. She is on 4 weeks of bedrest and we do physical therapy 3 times per day. I have ordered her a cart and am hoping that after the 4 weeks she will be able to use it. She desperately wants to play with her sisters and it’s hard to make her stand for 5 solid minutes for her pt when she wants to play. She even kicked me with her right rear leg on Friday 7/24, which she couldn’t do before.

    Since I’m gone at work 11 hrs per day, she has to wear a diaper and sleeps a lot. Needless to say, she’s up a lot at night – so I’m like a Zombie. Despite what she is going through she still acts animated and has a healthy appetite. She is having a BUN test and Creatanine ratio test today. I’m sure her meds may need to be adjusted, but I am praying that there is not too much more damage to her kidneys.

    Thanks for your help!

  53. Yesterday our 10 year old collie cross was racing round the fields trying to outrun the fighter jets overhead, something he does whenever they go over. Walking back up the lane he started a sudden mad gallop for home, as is his wont.
    Suddenly he went down and began to cry. We carried him the few yards home, he tried to get up, but he could not move his left rear leg at all. He was in apparently good health, strong heart, no signs of arthritis, an extremely active dog.
    We went straight to the vet, he was examined, manipulated, x rayed, nothing apparently trapped or broken. He could still feel when his toes were pinched and his knee tapped. But absolutely no movement . A second ,more senior opinion was sought.
    eventually it was concluded that the motor nerve to the leg was severed, god knows how, reluctantly for he was a very much loved animal we decided not to subject him to further painful and distressing exploratory operations. You cannot mend motor nerves, he was never going to walk again and would be in pain for the rest of his life.
    He was given anti inflammatory drugs and painkillers and the next morning with very great sadness he was put down.
    He had had a deliriously happy life out here in the country, and he is now buried amongst the fields where he lived, and we are simply left in shock at the suddenness of it all.

    ( NB In the UK we do not have rabies, therefore we do not vaccinate so that has nothing to do with it)

  54. I have an 8 year old Shih Tzu. He received a 3 year rabies vaccination in Feb. Since then His fur on his right hind quarter has turned a dark red, a 4 x 2 inch spot. Now we are detecting a little weakness in that side. thank you so much for your article. We will NOT vaccinate again. Wish we had known this sooner.

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