Rabies Ruckus

Two days ago, Bugs and I paid a visit to Replacement Vet.  Now I am not happy.

I’m not happy with things in general, I admit.  In this case, though, I have special reasons to feel unhappy.  Let this picture demonstrate how I’m feeling right now.

Eight months ago Bugs and I visited Vet No. One for the second time.  This vet had initially treated him for ear-mites, but his ears still didn’t look right.  The vet responded by cleaning out his ears.  Again.  That’s it.

Now come to find out, thanks to Replacement Vet, that Bugs had a yeast infection.  Replacement Vet said you need to keep an eye on that.  Yeast infections tend to follow ear-mite infestation.

Bugs had that yeast thing – for a long, long time, dammit!  No wonder he wouldn’t let Teresa or me scritch his ears!  I can tell you, if I’m unlucky enough to get a yeast infection, and please Cod this should never happen to you, I am even more unhappy than I tend to be in the normal course.

So that’s the last visit we’ll be making to Vet No. One.  And many and sincere thanks to Replacement Vet for helping out with the ears.

But I am still not happy.  I let myself get buffaloed.  I went to Replacement Vet thinking that Bugs’s claws needed clipping and I didn’t want to take on that challenge yet, and Vet No. One never did get a current weight on Bugs so I wanted that too.  Plus a general wellness once-over.  And a meet-and-greet with a new vet, so we could get a relationship going.  That’s it.

On the phone Replacement-Vet staff quoted me $36.00.  I ended up paying $87.00.

OK, OK.  The ears.

And the rabies.  Oh by the way.  The rabies.

Replacement Vet insisted on vaccinating Bugs.  It was the law, she said darkly.  I caved.  So OK.  Now we’ve got the initial rabies series, and we’re compliant with the statute and Health Department regulations.  (Dammit, I checked.  After the fact, unfortunately.  Fortunately, Replacement Vet was right.)

So I’m grateful for the expert medical and legal care Replacement Vet gave us.

What I am not grateful for is the attitude that went along with it.

I think this vet let herself get triggered by, among other things, the raw-food diet I’m feeding Bugs.  Never mind she also acknowledged that Bugs was doing well, nice coat, so on.  I suspect the raw food may have been why I think this vet pegged me as one of those internet know-it-alls.  I’m really mad about her attitude to the diet thing, and I’m going to write about that next.

But this post is about the rabies thing.

The vet responded to my worried questioning on vaccines by dragging in the autistic-child controversy.  She shared with me her fears and aggravation about anti-vaccine types who were exposing her child to risk, with their bad science and lack of understanding about things like herd-immunity.

I really resent that.

I really resent this vet responding to my taking notes – which I needed to do, given the surprise and confusion I was feeling – by saying she only had the time set aside for our appointment to deal with my questions.

You know what?  I’m not anti-medicine.  I don’t like vaccines, I don’t like the medical attitude toward drugs in general, I don’t like a lot of things about a lot of things – but I am capable of tempering my skepticism and dislike with some willingness to go along where necessary.

But those “bad-science” anti-vaccine folks?  I can really, really understand that emotional reaction to the attitude these doctor-types dish up.  There’s no trust.  It’s just impossible for me to feel it, when I’m confronted with the irritable, irascible tone this vet took with me.

You know what?  I don’t need to be reminded that I didn’t go to vet school.  I have no illusions on that score.  I’m willing to defer to those who have knowledge and experience I don’t.  I can even muster up some empathy for what they must go through, on a daily basis, given humanity’s poor track record where animals are concerned.

Just:  Persuade me.  Don’t bludgeon me.

And I also don’t need reminding that the internet is full of confusing non- and dis- information, along with all the good data that’s also available out there.

Just:  Treat me with some respect.  As a member of the team.  We’re all pulling for Bugs’s well-being.  Right?  Right?

So I did my research.  After the fact, dammit.

I found in 2009 the State of Arkansas revisited the rabies issue.  Apparently a state representative had a gut feeling, when three of her dogs developed tumors and died, that over-vaccination may have been the cause.  The legislature considered joining many states that have gone from requiring rabies vaccination annually, to once every three years.  Arkansas’ approach now leaves the matter to the vet’s discretion, depending on the type of vaccine administered.

So I e-mailed asking which kind of vaccine Replacement Vet gave us.  She said she’s going with the annual re-vaccination, so I want to see why.  I’m going to take that information to Replacement Vet No. Two.  When I find that person, we are going to have us a little sit-down.  Without Bugs sitting there with my shoe between us for the sniff-factor, quivering with fear while I dithered in confusion.  I’ll pay for the bloody time.

I don’t like Bugs’s reaction to this rabies vaccine.  After, he was limping.  And the next morning, he threw up.  He’s only done that twice before, in the two years I’ve had him.  And yesterday, the second day after, he’s still way slowed-down.  He’s sleeping pretty much constantly.  Replacement Vet predicted this would happen.  OK.  It’s happening.

I don’t want any more rabies boosters.  I want to talk to Replacement Vet No. Two about whether the state will accept titers instead (a test to sketch in whether immunity is still there).  I’ve heard (not from Replacement Vet, needless to say) that the state might accept those, or they issue waivers for animals that have a reaction to vaccines.

In the meantime, here are some snaps of Bugs.  He’s recovering.  That’s what I’m telling myself.

After the pics, I supply some links if you want to research this vaccine issue for yourself.  I notice some disagreement, even between the Cornell source recommended by Replacement Vet, and what Replacement Vet herself recommended.  I see this is a tough thing.  There is no certainty, apparently.

Bugs, Recovering.


About nadbugs

Anita loves cats. This must be because she, too, has had nine lives. She’s been dancing since she could walk, she was a commercial artist and advertising producer, she earned a third-degree black belt in Aikido, she is a drummer with the Afrique Aya Dance Company, she is an attorney, and she’s a meditator and a devoted student of Nonviolent Communication. She also spent one lifetime sidelined with a devastating back injury in 1992. Since then – FELDENKRAIS METHOD® to the rescue. The FELDENKRAIS METHOD is all about dreaming concretely – thinking intelligently and independently by way of a gracious and kind physicality. The work affords all who study it a process by which to reach, with movement, into the mind and the heart, to make nine lives into one whole being.
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12 Responses to Rabies Ruckus

  1. Darla says:

    I am totally with you on this one!!! Respect and trust are essential for entrusting bodily well-being of any type. May I recommend Bratton Vet Clinic, close to you on Mission? He has always been very respectful, and immediately switched to the 3 yr. rabies vaccine when it became legal. We’ve used him for over 15 yrs.

  2. Wazeau says:

    I went through three vets before I settled on my current one. Go with your feelings and instincts. You need to be able to trust your vet.

    My cats are on the 3 yr rabies plan as well. And they have never limped or taken more than a few hours to recover from a vaccine.

  3. Anne D says:

    Being sleepy and a bit slowed down is a normal reaction given that Bugs’ immune system is kicking out antibodies to rabies–a terrible disease.
    The three year schedule has been the law in Louisiana for several years now. Before it was law, I just took the cat in every three years. She is an indoor cat and there are no feral cats in the neighborhood, so she is at low risk and at low .
    anne D

  4. thisfriend says:

    I am with you on this one, too. But be very careful about skipping rabies vaccines! Many health departments will put your cat in jail if s/he bites anyone and has not been vaccinated, even if the cat never goes outside. They may even kill him/her. You will NOT be given a choice. Better the shot than take a chance.

    I also learned that ‘biting someone’ includes vets and vet techs, even when you asked to allowed to be the one who calms the cat during exams, but they insist on taking the cat in the back room.

    My cat almost met this fate, but he happened to die from a different disease on his own. I would really, really like to see us find a new way to test for this stupid disease.

  5. MelanieJ says:

    There is nothing worse than a professional who is supposed to be there to serve you, but actually talks down to you and generally makes you sorry that you ever asked for their help. I’m with you – I’ve never been to vet school, so will defer to a certain degree to the professional with the knowledge – and yet I am NOT an uneducated person, and neither are you. No one appreciates being bludgeoned, and I’m sorry you had to deal with that.

    I think that all of ours are now on the “three year” plan, now that it’s possible. For the exact reasons that thisfriend, above, mentions… what a terrifying thought.

  6. Pingback: Rabies » Archive » Rabies Ruckus | catself » Rabies

  7. Marcy Benham says:

    I don’t know what vet clinic you’ve been working with but I’ve been really happy with All Cats Clinic – Dr. Larsen. I took indoor Uma in there recently for a check up and was a bit strong armed to go ahead and get her rabies vaccination but only after Dr. L and I talked about it for a while. I knew that AR had previously had a once-a-year law but didn’t know it had recently been changed to once in 3 years (the same vaccine is used either way!). Dr. Larsen informed me of that. Uma was sleepy for about 6 hours after the vaccination but she bounced back to her old self. ACC was the clinic that treated our Rebel during her final years and they did a fine job. In fact, I’ve never experienced such a respectful & reverent euthenasia (sp?) as what they did for Rebel & I on her last trip in there. I agree with other posts encouraging you to keep looking until you find a vet you love!

  8. nadbugs says:

    Please note, everybody: Marcy’s understanding of which vaccines call for which time-span doesn’t match mine. What I found, when looking at the Arkansas Health-Department regs, is that there are twenty different vaccines listed there. Some require annual administration; others three years. Some are recombinant genetic-engineered, and don’t use the actual virus; others use a killed virus plus “adjuvants” (whatever those are — reduce irritation, maybe?); some use a live virus; and apparently some are combination. This is why we need to find vets we trust. The situation is complex.

  9. lifewith4cats says:

    Its a shame there are vets out there who don’t keep an open mind to the changing world and to our selves as individual people and animals. I had to change vets once after babyboy had a bad experience twice. I keep meaning to write about it.
    I think it is just fine to take notes in any situation that you want to follow up on and study. It shows you want to get it right as opposed to just getting by. I do that also. It always makes the more shady characters nervous. I can almost hear their thoughts, “Why cant she just do as we say, without question like everyone else.”

    How nifty, that we both do this!

  10. You’re quoting state laws, so I have no comment as to what is ‘legal’ or ‘required’ – I trust fully that you know what you’re talking about. However, for the 20 years that I’ve owned cats, I only ever got them the initial booster (that they got when they were spayed or neutered, along with the feline leukemia vaccine). Even when I used to let my cats outside, I never got them boosters – that was probably bad parenting on my part. However, my cats have all been indoor only for well over 10 years, and every vet has agreed that indoor only cats do not need rabies vaccines. This is several vets in several clinics. Now, I could probably find vets that say something different, but in my small selection, they don’t ever even ask me if I want to have the shot administered during yearly exams.

  11. nadbugs says:

    State law does vary, and I’m guessing it’s different in Oklahoma. In Arkansas, the law puts the decision in the vet’s domain. So harmony between vet and person is especially important.

  12. Pingback: Ruckus Resolved | catself

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