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Week Three of Beamer’s Diagnosis of Vaccinosis (Coonhound Paralysis)

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As many of you know, Beamer was diagnosed with Coonhound Paralysis (CHP) Vaccinosis almost three weeks ago (February 16, 2012) following a rabies booster from a raccoon attack.  The other term for this reaction is Vaccinosis, which is a bad reaction to a vaccination.  For those of you who are not familiar with our situation, you can read about what happened to Beamer and why he has come down with this paralysis by reading these two posts:

I started this blog as a way to updated those concerned about Beamer and his recovery process from this debilitating and frightening disease.  I plan to keep writing updates until Beamer has recovered from CHP.

Waiting on the vet at Georgia Veterinary Rehabilitation

Last week was an incredibly difficult time for us and for Beamer.  We started the week off with a visit on Monday to begin Beamer’s rehab.  We met with Dr. Evelyn Orenbuch.  Like most vets, Dr. Orenbuch was not very familiar with Coonhound Paralysis.  Since this condition is rare, it is difficult to find someone that has experience dealing with it beyond textbooks or case studies.

Beamer was examined for neurological and muscle reflexes which were found to be weak.  Many neurological disorders are treated with a combination of acupuncture and laser heat therapy in conjunction with hydrotherapy and physical therapy.  We came up with a plan to do this with Beamer over the course of the next several weeks and had Dr. Orenbuch perform acupuncture and the heat therapy procedure that day.

Acupuncture therapy with Dr. Orenbuch

She said that Beamer could be sleepier and may possibly be sore or stiff for 24 to 48 hours afterward.  Of course, Beamer was already sleepy and lethargic due to the paralysis, so we were not sure if this would be noticeable or not.  Beamer was fine during the procedure and looked rather cool in his shades.  He did not seem to mind the needles or the fuss.

We all had to wear these goggles for the laser heat treatment

Since the fist signs of paralysis, Beamer has not been eating well.   He turns away from food and is not interested in anything we try to feed him.  The treats and foods he used to love do not tempt him and it has been a real struggle to get him to eat.  Obviously, we need to force the issue to keep his strength up, but it has not been easy.

In addition, he has been depressed.  He cannot get up and do his usual activities.  He can’t run and play or come and sit beside us.  He is totally dependent on us to pick him up and get him where he needs to be.  Once standing, he can walk a short distance, but tires very easily.

By this past Wednesday, Beamer was in pretty rough shape.  I think it was the combination of the acupuncture treatment, lack of food and depression that set in and really had us worried.  He seemed to be giving up Wednesday night and we felt like we were going to lose our dog, so we called UGA Veterinary Hospital and drove 1 1/2 hours that night to Athens, Georgia.

Downtown Athens, GA

The Athens Double-Barrelled Cannon

Redbud trees in bloom

The emergency vet on duty immediately took Beamer to the back and returned to get more information from us.  While we were waiting, I heard Beamer crying and yelping and was certain I could not leave him that night.  I was fearful we would not have a dog to come back to in the morning.

They drew blood and ran a few tests.  The blood work came back normal.  I insisted that we take him with us for the rest of the night.  We were already scheduled for a follow-up visit with his neurologist, Dr. Simon Platt, the next morning.  We found a hotel that would take pets at 2 am in the morning and curled up with Beamer on the bed and slept as best as we could.

The daffodils greeted us at UGA

It was like spring in Athens in February

We went in early for our visit and left Beamer at UGA for the vets to take a look at him.  More blood work was run and he was examined by an orthopedic vet to be sure nothing had been missed initially.  In our prior visit to UGA Veterinary Hospital, Beamer was quarantined for rabies precautions, so it limited the vets in their ability to fully examine him.   After the vets conferred this visit, the diagnosis was the same, Coonhound Paralysis.  They had now completely ruled out rabies (due to the amount of time from onset of the symptoms) and Myasthenia Gravis (that blood test was negative).

Dr. Platt believed that Beamer was suffering from the stress of the whole situation and all of the doctor’s visits.  He told us that some dogs respond very well to acupuncture, but that it can cause others to get worse.  He told us the best medicine right now for him was to do nothing and rest at home.  No therapy and no more specialists.

Dr.Simon Platt and Jordan send Beamer back home with us until his check-up in 2 weeks

That is where we are right now.  Beamer is home with us and we are massaging his nerves and muscles every day and and getting him up to take shorts walks and drink water.  It is a challenge and a full-time job.  We have to carry him up and down the stairs whenever we change locations because he will cry out for us.

We are trying to feed him small bites of food and keep him at least somewhat interested in eating.  He seems to like bison chunks that we have prepared from a roast.  He will barely touch chicken and has totally turned against eggs and rice and veggies, all the things he used to love.  He is not even interested in any of his once loved treats.

We have tried various foods with him that others have suggested, like honey or honey and bread.  He spits it out.  He also seems to have a real aversion to the spoon, which was never a problem before.  I gave him baby food and that had less than stellar results.  He has never been a kibble or canned food eater, so finding food he will eat under the best of conditions is tough.  We would appreciate any suggestions you might have for foods to try with him.  We need to keep up his strength to aid in the recovery process.

The good news is that he is alert and he is still with us.  As you may know, CHP can last as little as 4-6 weeks and as long as 6 months.  Please keep us in you thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.

Beamer thanks everyone for all of their well wishes

14 responses »

  1. Gwen – as you already know, dodge would not eat chicken. We have settled on extra lean ground beef cooked with ham flavoring (Better Than Boulion). Also give him rice seasoned with same. Good luck!!!!

    • Hi Carolyn,

      I was so glad to see your comment the other day and to know that Dodge is doing well. We will definitely give the beef a try. It made him sick many years ago, but since he is able to handle the bison, I assume the beef may work now. We will feed him whatever he will eat right now.

      Hope to see you soon!


  2. Karlin Richardson

    When my dog Cassie (a bichon frise) had a severe urinary tract infection she was not interested in doing anything but lying around listlessly. Along with the antibiotic, the vet sent me home with a bag of lactated Ringers solution, a bunch of needles and instructions to give her in interperitoneal drip every 4 hours. It eventually helped turn things around for her.
    Karlin (from TTs on facebook)

  3. Hi Gwen….. As far as a suggestion on what to feed Beamer, I would recommend the bison very, very rare. Or some ground steak in small amounts raw. The raw will give him amalayse, which is critical to his health, along with other nutrients.
    I know it is hard to feed raw to dogs, but if he only takes a lick of it, it would be good.

    Good Luck. I am praying for a full recovery.


  4. Hi Gwen, so happy to hear about Beamer not being in the ‘medical system’ and being home with you. You probably already know this, but there is some kind of contraption that you put under a dog’s belly that has handles for owners to hold and help support the upright condition when there is hindquarter weakness. Am sure that you will be able to find it, possibly in Drs. Foster and Smith online, or somewhere. Let me know if you want me to find a link. I’ve seen it in multiple catalogs. All the best … Sue

  5. Gwen,

    Suddie and Roxie both became very picky eaters during their pregnancies. They would eat only Instinct meat patties from Nature’s Variety. Both of the girls preferred them not raw but lightly seared on both sides. lol I’m a vegetarian, so it wasn’t the most pleasant task. The sacrifices we make for our dogs!


  6. So glad to hear that Beamer is alert and home with you. That’s the best medicine. We’re sending love and huggies to Beamer and his parents! Hang in there Beamer. We’re all praying for you! Joanne and Petey

  7. Gwen, have you tried giving Beamer, liverwurst or chicken livers? It worked for me in trying to get one of my very sick TT’s to eat last summer and it was the only thing that worked. Of course you may want to consult your vet first. You must be so exhausted. Keeping the faith for Beamer’s recovery!

  8. Our boys relish homemade liver pieces. We get good quality liver, not too thick, cook it slowly in the toaster oven with a sprinkle of garlic powder on it. We then cut it up into small pieces for treats. I wouldn’t feed very much but use as an appetizer much get his taste buds working and provide some nourishment. Yoghurt is also another favouite.
    Years ago we fed our older dog a raw diet of organic ground turkey, human grade bone meal, cooked brown rice, roughly ground carrot and raw crushed garlic. He did very well on it. I know some people say that garlic is not good for dogs but we followed the advice of a nutritionist before we had heard any of those stories and never had a problem. The food mixture could be cooked – perhaps steamed if desired. I hope you are able to keep Beamer going -perhaps my suggestions or others will be what he likes and can tolerate. Our thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.

  9. Fran V. Kridakorn

    I am in your Tibetan Terrier group and I am Tanner Mae Mae. Do you have an email address that I can send you this wonderful raw hamburger and oats meal to try. It has been approved by several vets too. Or you can give me your fax machine number. I have been following your story with trying to help your sweet boy. Wish you the very best.

  10. So sad to hear your Beamer is struggling so. It’s just heartbreaking and my thoughts are with you.

    When Abbie is under the weather; she loves a combination of hamburger and rice but it doesn’t sound like he is hungry for much of anything so not sure what to recommend. Just hope he improves. I can see just giving him a break; this sounds like he needs time and rest the most.

  11. Hi Gwen, Roger: You and Beamer are always in my thoughts. Is this a new picture? He looks stronger, more alert! We’re rooting for your little guy. Have you tried mashed sweet potato? Put it on your finger, instead of a spoon. Make it seem like it’s a treat.

  12. Maybe different flavored broths? I know you can certainly come up with some tasty and healthy ones. That gets fluid and some nutrients into Beamer.

    For treats for our girls we slice hot dogs into medallions, put them on a cookie sheet, bake on 250 or so for 20 minutes, flip, then another 20 minutes. Basically just drying them out. We pat off the excess oil, as well. You can find all kinds of organic hot dogs and have lots of flavor options. They store well in the fridge in a covered container. We’ve had to use baby food on pets in the past. Sorry it didn’t work for you. We’ll be thinking of you guys, and will try to remember some more tricks we’ve had to use in the past.

  13. Do you have any more updates on Beamer? I’ve been waiting to hear more about his condition!


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