Archive for January, 2011

Rabies! A Case Report On Vaccine Side Effects.

The fact that we overuse drugs in our society is widely recognized. In a similar vein, vaccinations and their frequency are becoming more and more controversial, partially due to the carriers used in formulation (mercury, for one) but also due to their inherent properties.

Many feel strongly that we “over-vaccinate” these days.

I cannot argue with this stance since I heard a state-employed veterinarian make that same assertion several years ago at a well-attended conference. She stated that, through annual testing of antibodies in the blood, it had been proven that:

A one-year rabies vaccine was still active and effective five years later!

And, she said further, the only reason it wasn’t known if it was effective 10 or 15 years out was because the testing had only been conducted for five.

This is a pretty stunning statistic.

I’ve been cautious about vaccines for all my animals for years, choosing to do the absolute minimum I thought necessary to protect them for life. So when I read (and later confirmed with a local small animal veterinarian) that my tiny, 3-1/2 lb. Chihuahua would be given the exact same-size rabies shot as a Great Dane pup, well . . . Miss Frida has never had, nor will she ever have, a rabies shot. She weighs five pounds now but is always under my close vigilance so is at very low risk.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t vaccinate. We must. But caution is warranted and possible side effects should be more widely publicized. Oddly enough too, the traditional veterinarian community usually doesn’t recognize these side effects or know how to treat them. And the side effects are potentially life-threatening. Here is a case history and why I’m so careful, particularly with the rabies vaccine, which as we all know is a deadly neurological disease. So injecting the live rabies virus into any organism is very risky business.

A client’s most affectionate cat, about 2 years of age, who never strayed far from her side , suddenly disappeared. On the third day, as Linda (we’ll call the client) was walking into her horse barn, she heard a loud “yeowing” of what sounded like a wild cat up in the rafters of the barn. The sound was so deep and growly it scared her, and she thought she probably had a feral and rabid cat on her hands. But it was Sprinkles, her beloved kitty. When he looked down at her nothing changed; not until she spoke. When he heard Linda’s voice he started mewing in his normal tone, a soft little voice. But he could not get down (this should have been easy because he could have just hopped down onto the hay a couple of feet below), and he definitely could not focus his eyes clearly – couldn’t recognize Linda visually. Linda had to climb up and get him. Once in the house Sprinkles couldn’t walk right and still wasn’t seeing properly. Fortunately, Linda’s veterinarian was certified in homeopathy and familiar with vaccine side effects. She immediately identified Sprinkles’ condition as rabies vaccinosis and began treatment with one of the homeopathic remedies for this syndrome. (By the way, of note is that Sprinkles’ last rabies vaccine had been many months before, but the vet said that didn’t matter – the condition could onset at any time.) Although it took Sprinkles a few weeks to get all the way back to normal, there was a change for the better within hours of his first dose of the correct remedy.

This case had a happy ending. But many do not. If your animal ever has a sudden neurological debilitation that your regular veterinarian can’t diagnose or is stumped by, don’t jump first for the steroids – think it through and seek out an alternative vet who might be able to approach the problem from a different angle and save you a lot of heartache.

And go easy on the vaccines, especially rabies, and especially if your animal is not highly exposed or at great risk. For a little more information and food for thought, check out THIS ARTICLE by a highly respected veterinarian in Florida.

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You might also enjoy this article: HOW DO VACCINES REALLY WORK?

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How Training Works – Just Use a Weiner … or not …

Bear

It’s after lunch and I’m trudging out to the barn where my car is parked, Bear and Charlie at my side, the cold wind blowing through our hair, the pocket of my parka stuffed with a package of out-of-date, slimy weiners. My intent is to start training Bear to get in the car, and Charlie is along to play the role of  “I will get that bite of weiner if you don’t hurry!”

The object, again, is to teach Bear to get in the car, something she has not done except under extreme pressure — and then only once — since I brought her home from the animal shelter last July. At that time two friends accompanied me to the car to help me load up Bear, because as a yearling Great Pyrenees she already weighed around 80 lbs. She shocked us all by literally vaulting into the back of the car before I could even get the tailgate all the way down. She threw up on the way home, but she came willingly. I guess she really, really wanted to leave that life behind — forever.

But once home — and she made it hers very quickly — she obviously decided never to leave again. The one time I took her somewhere, only to be evaluated for grooming, it took three of us to lever her up into the back seat of the truck, and she then refused to budge, much less get out, when the groomer came out to inspect her.

Having won a lesson at a highly acclaimed local dog-training school 4 months ago, I am now dealing with how to get Bear there for said lesson. She’s a very big dog and a very protective dog. She needs the work, and I need to trust that she will answer to me. I am assured that weiners are the key to successful training so out we go for our first lesson on “getting in the car.” We did pretty good. After 3 weiner’s worth of “Up!” — with said weinie bits carefully poised on the tailgate just out of reach — Bear finally succeeded in placing the top half of her body into the car in order to reach the prize. I figured that was enough for one day, especially given our numbing temperaturess right now, so we will pursue this again tomorrow. Charlie got his bites too and did his job very well.

I’ll admit. I was impressed. The weiner thing works really well!

But here’s another example of how training works:

Frida, my 5-lb. long-haired Chihuahua, has recently succeeded in RE-training me as to how she gets into my bed every night. She has slept with me, under the covers, since childhood and has her own footstool-leading-to-trunk-leading-to-bed staircase to get up and down with. She can scale this structure in less than the blink of an eye and usually just goes sailing off in a flying leap when she is motivated to get down for whatever reason.

“But no, Mom. I really like it best when you pick me up and PUT me on the bed.”

I feel as dim as a burned-out lightbulb, but I finally got it as I lay there in the dark last night listening to Frida’s pathetic whimperings and wooflings to be picked up and put in bed: “Damn! I’ve been trained!” I thought, as I threw back the covers, reached down, and lifted her tiny body up into our cozy nest.

And she didn’t even have to use weiners. Go figure.

Frida ... guess where?

I’m just a bit embarrassed here ……..

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Where is God?

Isn’t there a saying: “God is in the little things.”? I don’t know where this came from, but I believe it’s true.

I have rethought, rewritten, and edited this post many times because I don’t want to offend anyone. I have friends  who run the gamut from God-fearing fundamentalists to cynical atheists or agnostics, and I respect the opinion and beliefs of each and every one. Who am I to argue? If whatever you believe in, or don’t believe in, makes you happy, then you’re probably way ahead of the pack.

But therein lies the rub. An abundance of people these days don’t seem to be real happy or fulfilled — several of my acquaintances among them — no matter what they believe in or where they think God lives. Could it be that they are not spiritually nourished, regardless of what their beliefs might be? I think so. And might that have something to do with a belief that God lives outside of us and is the producer and director of our lives?

(Okay, here comes the potentially offensive part, but please keep reading.)

I  hate to say it, but here we have the quintessential Western male chauvanistic viewpoint: Some big boss guy in the sky whose name starts with a capital letter runs the world and rules our lives. All we have to do is turn everything over to “Him” because “He” is supposedly benevolent so will make sure everything turns out right. But whoops, when things don’t go so well “He” is not held accountable, or “He” is excused for his misdirection because “there has to be a good reason.” Sometimes at that point we  lose  faith altogether because “God” did not live up to our expectations. How confusing is that?! And how could any god live up to such expectations? Meanwhile, in keeping with that belief we have abdicated all responsibility and given away all our power. And how depressing is that?!

What about a flip side of that God version? Many religious sects throughout time have believed that God is IN everything, not a separate force. I like this idea, and I believe it myself. And yes, it brings with it responsibility for our own actions and their consequences. But it’s a little more complicated than that because obviously, since God is in everything, the god energy extends outside ourselves too, so there is a oneness and partnership going on at all times which certainly influenceS our choices as well.

I think of it this way. If the god force is the ocean, and that ocean contains all knowledge and awareness, then each of us is a drop (or maybe a bucketful, depending) within that ocean. We are made up of the identical god force and wisdom, but our scope of operation and awareness is just not quite so evolved as the entire ocean’s is. That doesn’t mean we can’t draw on its support and input, responding to its ebb and flow. But it does mean that we are not separate from it and totally subject to the buffeting of its waves, much as the cork on a fishing line would be! (Not a great metaphor, but I hope you get my drift [pun intended].)

When I have a friend who is a “believer,” who is down on their luck but  insisting it is God’s will, I’ll admit, I sometimes just want to shake them and yell in their face: “Take back your power! You are not God’s victim! Draw on that god force but don’t play like you have nothing to do with it!!”

I know this spiritual model does not work for everybody, and I really don’t mean to offend anyone, but my answer to the question “Where is God?” is “Everywhere, darn it, just open your eyes and hearts and feel it!” And that means that our fate is more or less a joint project and that we have just as much input in our lives as the big  “God” guy in the sky does.

And by the way, just for those who may think I’m a heathen, I talk to my own god all the time and would be lost without that connection. But I simply cannot pretend that that source exists outside of me and is identified by the pronoun “He.”

I think everyone who believes in any kind of god force agrees that God is love. I just hope we can each find whatever version of this idea makes us happy, loving individuals.  That’s all I’m really trying to say here.

Happy New Year!

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